January 4th, 2007

The trends that will drive charities in 2007!

Photo of crocs courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt (Pink Sherbet Photography)I’m sticking my neck out with some of these (sort-of) predictions.

If I’m honest, I share Bertie’s view that next year, 2008, will be the real breakthrough year when charities get ‘social’. This is partly because budgets have largely been fixed for activity this year.

Never mind, there will be plenty of elbow room to experiment and innovate in 2007.

As always, comments (especially additions to this list) and challenges (be nice) are positively encouraged!

  • 2007 will be the year of the widget. Charities will benefit from the downloadable fundraising widgets offered by Justgiving (launched just before Christmas) and Bmycharity (on its way).
  • The desire from donors (especially major givers) for more involvement and information will intensify and the need for accountability will further erode the sacred cow of the general fund. Note: most charities will be dragged kicking and screaming down this road. Initiatives like the ImpACT Coalition seem more concerned about reputation management than championing transparency. This is disappointing.
  • Social entrepreneurs and venture philanthropists will have an even higher profile this year.
  • The page view is dead, long live, err… something else! Hmm… web metrics just do not cut it (and just when you’d got to grips with it!). But what should we be looking at now? In 2007, the sector needs to identify new measures of ‘engagement’ online. This work is urgent, especially as charities need to show accountability for everything they do. Engagement + accountability = effectiveness. Note: numerous conversations in recent months tell me that there’s a lot of head scratching going on around this one. Get in touch and maybe together we can figure something out.
  • A blended media approach will gain ground and charities will reach and engage stakeholders where, when, and how they want to be communicated with. This means greater cross-departmental collaboration.
  • More charity employees (and virtual volunteers) will identify with the roles of buzz director / community steward / social reporter. Charity managers will sit up and listen (and even start blogging). Note: I’m thinking of co-organising an open-space event for those championing social media tools (and change management) within their organisations.
  • Charities will get better at reporting their achievements and aggregated update reports via RSS feeds will become standard. Podcasts will become commonplace.
  • 2007 will provide some high-profile stunts and more cause-related avatars in Second Life, but remain a peripheral activity.
  • Some well-equipped charities will learn to use these tools for storytelling and weave user-generated content into their own content, thus giving stakeholders more of an authentic voice.
  • The distinction will become more apparent between those charities wishing to build hosted communities for supporters and activists and those who have accepted the inevitable loss of control of ‘their’ cause and become active in existing communities and social networks.
  • Furthermore, by the end of 2007, many charities will register that they need to slim down their websites, and create a more personalised, targeted, atomised (but consistent) presence on the web.
  • One Laptop Per Child imageOne or more of the popular social networking sites will tap into the desire for members to identify with a cause and create a “My Causes” tab.
  • We’ll end 2007 with some excellent case studies (I’ve high hopes for Red Nose Day in March), some disappointments and a great deal of learning in the process.
  • The novelty of ethical gifts will begin to tire by the end of the year (there are too many copycat catalogues out there).
  • Not really a prediction as the One Laptop Per Child project looks set to really happen this year. Interesting to read about the look and feel of the UI.

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Technorati buzz director, net2, nptech, olpc, predictions, trends

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5 Responses to “The trends that will drive charities in 2007!”

  1. The School for Social Entrepreneurs Says:

    Non profit and charity use of web 2.0…

    Having mentioned the great Yahoo charity badge widgets the other day, I mentioned that it would be great if we could have the same in the UK. Well, no sooner asked than already happened: JustGiving and Bmycharity are doing just…

  2. Nigel Dunn Says:

    If I was to make a prediction about the One Laptop Per Child project, then it would be that it might have more immediate impact in the developed world on the design of computer systems that we use rather than anything else.

    As you mention they’ve come up with something different than the standard desktop interface, but there’s also the thought gone into low energy consumption & removing the bloat from programs since there’s only 512MB of ‘disk’ space to use (or with a massive 512MB of disk space as we would have said 10 years ago).

    Bill Gates appears to have made some ‘standard Microsoft comments’ about the project. If I remember though before that when asked whether his Foundation would be interested in the initiative he did point out that they could vaccinate people for a few cents & the impact of that would be far greater. I think I’d side with that opinion.

  3. From The Horizon » Not For Profit 2.0 Says:

    [...] There are a couple of other blogs talking about this sort of stuff too, if you are interested in further reading. NFT 2.0 has an interesting post about the trends which will drive charities in 2007. Non-Profit Tech Blog has a number of posts on “Nonprofit 2.0”. [...]

  4. Rob Bowker Says:

    Steve, we are scratching heads and barely the surface, so I’d be fascinated to learn more about “…I’m thinking of co-organising an open-space event for those championing social media tools (and change management) within their organisations.”

  5. liz Says:

    With all this movement toward Web 2.0 in the nonprofit sector, when do you think schools and training grounds will catch up?? It looks as if you’ve got to learn all this stuff on your own in order to bring your nonprofit around and up to date, unless your a big time NGO with the funds to do so. Will the rest of us be left behind?