Where is nonprofit technology headed?
The sector is going in the same direction most of the world is: to mobile and the cloud.
For one thing, mobile giving is now more popular and necessary than ever. According to Nonprofit Tech for Good's 2018 Global NGO Technology Report, 98 percent of nongovernmental organizations in North America have a website, and of those, 88 percent are mobile compatible. Meanwhile, cloud-based software tools are becoming more available to help nonprofits effectively launch, manage and track the return on investment of influencer marketing campaigns, MoneyInc notes.
Another key trend is the increasing adoption of encryption technology. The NGO Technology report says that 46 percent of North American NGOs use encryption to protect data and communications, and of those, 38 percent use it to protect donor information and a similar amount use it to protect the organization's information.
It's a lot to keep up with, especially if you are a harried nonprofit IT professional trying to manage your organization's website and technology upgrades. Fear not, as BizTech has assembled our annual list of Must-Read IT Blogs for the nonprofit sector (here are our 2017, 2016 and 2015 editions). For this year's list, we tried to inject a large dose of new blood, and while there are some holdovers that remain indispensable, there are also numerous fresh and vital voices.
So, without further ado, here is 2018's Must-Read Nonprofit IT Blogs list, whose entries we hope will be illuminating, educating and entertaining — sometimes all at once. If your blog is on the list, grab a badge to share this recognition with your readers!
Want to know how your nonprofit can use technology to effectively reach out to the hyperconnected millennial generation? Derrick Feldmann's research and campaigns agency is an excellent source to get caught up on data-driven thoughts on nonprofit technology and millennial behavior. Some recent posts include, "3 Ways Causes Can Use Data Like For-Profits," and "Want to engage millennials? Don't call them 'activists.'"
Beth Kanter is a force to be reckoned with in the nonprofit tech community. Kanter has been writing about nonprofits' role in an increasingly connected world for nearly a decade. Her blog is a mix of practical advice and thought leadership, whether that is on the rise of chatbots or tips for nonprofits to help employees combat digital distractions. For nonprofits that want to be in the know about how tech is impacting the sector, Beth's blog is a go-to destination.
Capterra Nonprofit Technology Blog
Capterra bills itself as the world's leading digital marketplace for business software. As a result, the blog focuses a great deal on software for nonprofits, but it also highlights how to protect data, embrace mobile technology and more.
ChurchTechToday is an indispensable resource on technology for pastors, communicators and church leaders. The blog dives into a wide range of nonprofit tech topics relevant to churches, including social media, websites, worship, media, mobile technology and software. The site is a great way for church leaders to learn more about how to use tech to connect with and tend to their flocks.
Citizen IBM Blog
IBM has long since moved past its heritage as a computer hardware maker and is much more focused on IT services, the cloud and artificial intelligence today. The company's corporate social responsibility blog offers insights into how it is using its stature in tech to give back to communities around the globe, including helping American veterans pursue careers as data analysts and using data to help address youth suicide in New Zealand. The blog also touches on P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), a system of innovative public schools spanning grades 9 to 14 that bring together the best elements of high school, college and career development.
Cloud for Good is a Certified B Corporation and a premium Salesforce.org partner specializing in donor management, case management and marketing automation implementations for nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions. The company's blog obviously highlights how Salesforce tools can help nonprofits, but also focuses on automated marketing, using tech for volunteer management and how cloud tools can make nonprofits' work easier.
CLOUD FOR GOOD
Creating IT Futures
The Creating IT Futures blog is an element of IT trade association CompTIA's philanthropic arm. The blog offers practical advice to aspiring technologists, and it focuses largely on the work of the Creating IT Futures Foundation. The foundation's mission is to provide IT training and certification to returning veterans and low-income students and adults, and then connect them with potential employers.
CREATING IT FUTURES
GlobalGiving bills itself as the largest global crowdfunding community connecting nonprofits, donors, and companies in nearly every country. The organization helps nonprofits from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe (and hundreds of places in between) access the tools, training, and support they need to be more effective and make our world a better place. The organization's blog offers helpful explainers on technologies like application programming interfaces and blockchain, and also useful guides, including how to turn a smartphone into a movie production studio and how to leverage technology on a pro bono basis.
GuideStar USA is a trusted information service specializing in reporting on U.S. nonprofits, and in 2016, its database provided information on 2.5 million organizations. The organization's blog features a mixture of voices from nonprofit leaders, and while it does not exclusively touch on nonprofit tech issues, it does explore them regularly, including everything from mobile technology to website design, APIs, chatbots and data analytics.
John Haydon's Blog
If you're a nonprofit marketer, John Haydon's eponymous blog is the definition of a must-read. The blog offers a wealth of information on the key tech trends shaping the sector, including payment processing, email marketing and social media. For anyone interested in the intersection of technology and marketing in the nonprofit world, Haydon has something special to offer.
John Kenyon's Blog
There are few voices who are more authoritative when it comes to nonprofit technology than John Kenyon, a nonprofit technology educator and strategist who has been working with nonprofits for more than 20 years. His blog covers everything from the importance of cleaning and normalizing data to practical steps nonprofits can take to ward off cyberattacks. Nonprofits should turn to Kenyon's blog for a healthy dose of on-the-ground knowledge and advice.
Want to use technology to gain deeper insights on donors? Neon's blog is the right spot for you. The company provides customer relationship management software for nonprofits, but its blog is chock-full of practical tech tips for nonprofits and is not a sales pitch. Recent posts include tips on how to manage and clean Microsoft Excel data, advice data migrations and email communications. On a monthly basis, the blog also highlights standout nonprofits it works with.
Nonprofit Hub is an online educational community, whose mission, the site says, is "giving nonprofits everything they need to better their organizations and communities." The site's technology coverage offers practical tips and guides, including how nonprofits can move human resources to the cloud and how to take advantage of text-to-donate fundraising campaigns.
NonProfit PRO focuses on nonprofit management and strategy, and the site is aimed at leaders and innovators in the segment. The site covers internal issues (such as human resources, board and volunteer management), technology, tax and legal matters, news and, of course, fundraising. NonProfit PRO's technology coverage centers on data management and e-philanthropy, and includes topics such as how to choose tech tools, the Internet of Things' role in fundraising and the importance of social media.
The Nonprofit Quarterly is an independent nonprofit news organization that has been serving nonprofit leaders, charitable foundations, educators, independent activists and others involved in the civil sector for more than 15 years. The site's technology coverage runs the gamut from how to get long-term tech support to digital strategy and cybersecurity.
Nonprofit Tech for Good
Nonprofit Tech for Good is a mainstay in the nonprofit tech community and it delivers a wide range of clear and concise news, information and resources related to nonprofit IT issues. Created and managed by nonprofit professional Heather Mansfield, author of the books Mobile for Good and Social Media for Social Good, the site is especially helpful for keeping track of major tech trends.
npENGAGE offers nonprofits a resource for new insights on IT trends as well as best practices to follow. That ranges from how artificial intelligence can help nonprofits to how to make a website work with responsive design. npENGAGE is sponsored by Blackbaud, which provides software and services specifically designed for nonprofits.
NTEN Connect Blog
NTEN, a 501(c)(3) organization, aims to have "all nonprofit organizations use technology skillfully and confidently to meet community needs and fulfill their missions." The site offers a mix of practical guidance, such as how nonprofits can stay on top of payment card industry compliance as they collect online donations, as well as thought leadership on key nonprofit tech trends.
Started by nonprofit professional Brady Josephson, this blog serves as a platform for new thinking around charity, fundraising, marketing, storytelling and more. The site offers useful tech tips, including how technology can empower fundraising, as well as more practical concerns like how to increase online donations and improve a nonprofit website's design.
Technology for Good Blog
This blog, from networking giant Ericsson, focuses on how technology can increase sustainability and help solve humanitarian crises. While it does not exclusively focus on network technology, that is its clear bent, and the blog highlights the ways in which nonprofits and humanitarian organizations are turning to the Internet of Things to address social issues.
TECHNOLOGY FOR GOOD
If you're a nonprofit professional looking to integrate new IT into your organization, TechSoup is an excellent resource. The site offers a wide-ranging and robust community for sharing ideas, insights and advice related to nonprofit tech. Grab a bowl and get warmed up with wisdom.
The Nerdy Nonprofit
This blog offers the latest news in nonprofit digital marketing and technology. It is run by ArcStone, a full-service digital agency in Minneapolis, which started the site after noticing a gap in digital strategy and the need for a better nonprofit marketing resource. The site's technology coverage focuses a great deal on software tools, web design and how tech and marketing intersect.
THE NERDY NONPROFIT
The NonProfit Times
Want to know where the nonprofit sector is going? Check out The Nonprofit Times, which is widely considered a source for front-page news in the nonprofit world. The site focuses largely on nonprofit management and offers advice and regular updates on industry news and trends. For the busy IT pro at a nonprofit, this site is a great way to stay on top of the big news in the sector.
THE NONPROFIT TIMES
TriplePundit bills itself as "a global media platform covering the intersection of people, planet and profit." The site's advocates argue that economy, environment and society are inseparably related, and an understanding of all three is critical to society's ability to flourish long term. The site's posts, written by staff authors and guest contributors, include news stories, industry items of note and op-eds. TriplePundit's IT coverage ranges from how major tech companies approach corporate social responsibility to how public policy and technology interact.
Wild Apricot Blog
Wild Apricot provides web-based software for small associations and nonprofits to help manage membership, website, events and other activities. The company's blog focuses on practical concerns, such as how to do more with less, and how to pick and deploy the right IT solutions, along with a healthy dose of humor and general industry news. The blog focuses on leading-edge technology such as augmented reality, as well as more mundane technologies, such as time tracking for employees.