Research: The Future of Online Philanthropy (Technology that Makes a Difference)

September 3, 2009

With constantly advancing and emerging technology, organizations have continually had to adapt to these changes.  Although the evolution of these companies has been amazing, some are still new to the idea of incorporating online interactive strategies.

While there are a few who are hesitant to attempt these methods, the ones who have jumped right in have found benefits to utilizing interactive media.  More specifically, philanthropic efforts and organizations have seen many changes in their awareness levels and donor support when they have integrated these online techniques with their campaigns.

To delve further into this topic, I will be looking into how non-profit organizations are currently integrating their awareness pieces and donation strategies with interactive media. For example, the organization known as “my charity : water” has created a visually interesting site which employs Google Earth, video and flash to send powerful messages to their viewers throughout the world. By forming groups and profiles on Facebook and Twitter, they gained so much awareness that they were able to triple the amount of money they could donate to build clean water wells in Africa. is also a successful non-profit site that has taken advantage of viewer interactivity. Through an online word or math game played by website visitors, they have been able to raise enough money (from sponsors) to feed people in poverty around the globe.

I am also planning on researching what new developments are being created or theorized (in social and interactive media) for non-profit organizations. For instance, some organizations believe that, in the future, the use of interactive media will become a staple in running a foundation. Organizations would then begin online and work backwards from how they are normally established. Others feel that the consistent use of interactive media and social good networks in the future will strengthen relationships, which will lead to more loyal groups of supporters.

Understanding the current standings of interactive media and philanthropy, as well as the future of this field, will only help a foundation evolve tactically.  The knowledge that is gained from their growth now will help give a glimpse of how much further they can go.  Maybe one day we will be raising money for a philanthropy through an XBOX game or creating something to help a need through Second Life.

In order to gather the timeliest information, I am going to try and contact (face-to-face or online) or research people who are knowledgeable on the topic of interactive media within foundations.  Some of the possible sources I am hoping to either contact or learn more about include:

  • Dean Paul Parsons (who will be teaching a senior seminar course based on philanthropy and communications)
  • Professor Tom Arcaro (a sociology professor and advisor to the philanthropic organization at Elon University known as the Periclean Scholars)
  • Professor Mandy Gallagher (who teaches a strategic communications course that incorporates a variety of online mediums)
  • Case Foundation’s spokesman and consultant Rich D’amato (who helped to organize the 2007 Giving Challenge, which was solely based on charitable giving online)
  • Sarah Ross of Causes on Facebook and TechCrunch.
  • Tom Shoes
  • Free
  • Gates Foundation
  • Make a Wish Foundation
  • Beth Kanter (non-profit tech consultant and blogger)
  • Connie Reece and Susan Reynolds of the Frozen Pea Fund
  • John Kenyon a Technology Consultant and Strategist for non-profits
  • And my charity : water

2 Responses to “Research: The Future of Online Philanthropy (Technology that Makes a Difference)”

  1. steveearley said

    SmallCanBeBig.Org is New England-based nonprofit that leverages the power of micro-donations, social networking and interactivity to help individuals in need:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: