Technology is changing the philanthropic sector, and that includes spaces like libraries. In their fifth class visit, Dr. Patricia Snell Herzog’s class visited University Library and the Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives.
They learned about digitization of documents, sharing of information, and the power of digital marketing and technology, and shared their thoughts on the visit below.
“The digital world is forever growing and it is important to keep an open mind as the years go on so I can learn more about the products that are coming out. From this specific visit, I learned that the world is turning away from paper resources, which I knew, but it was more evident since the archivist is uploading documents online. Historical research is going to be more online-based. The Digital Age is already here and everyone has to get used to using technology.” — Haley Bryant, sophomore philanthropic studies student
“During our visit, I learned that digitalization makes a lot of things very convenient when it comes to sharing information, awareness, and donations on the internet. There is a lot of information out there, data is always being collected, and everything is being documented and recorded, so I think that updating something like the archives would be challenging, tedious, but also a staple to philanthropy.”– Brayden Dela Cruz, first-year major in finance and minor in philanthropic studies
“Keeping up with the technology of today can be tough with all the changes. Awareness of digitization can grant access to history, and previously found trends and averages, which can better decision-making. In short, online data mining will be a must, not an option, in the future as the field of information grows over time.” — David Johnson, junior philanthropic studies student
In addition, research has shown that philanthropy is changing due to technology. For one, it changes the way donors see disasters and ways that individuals give.
“Through social media, we are able to witness the human face of the disaster unfolding in real time in the photos and videos on our phones and we want to do something right now,” Dr. Una Osili explained.
“Online giving and text-to-give options let donors feel that they are helping immediately. Crowdfunding harnesses the power of social media to let people give quickly and directly, and they offer a way to make a bigger difference by enlisting friends, peers, and complete strangers in the cause. Technology is also playing a bigger role in how nonprofits raise both awareness and funds.”
Interestingly, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute has found that women and men may use technology differently in the causes that matter to them. In a report about gender differences and their impact on #GivingTuesday (another digital campaign strongly impacting the nonprofit sector), women were more likely to use social media than men. Social media fundraising campaigns proliferate person-to-person appeals for donations, so people with extensive social networks are more likely to be solicited for donations of money or time.
Graduates of the school recognize the power of technology. For example, Smita Vadakekalam, M.A.’01, serves as the chief operating officer and senior strategist at Heller Consulting, which helps nonprofits develop and implement CRM technology strategies and ecosystems that can help them better engage with their constituents, deliver services, and achieve their mission more effectively.
While philanthropy and technology may seem disconnected, Vadakekalam sees the links between her work and her studies.
“I learned at my time at the school is that philanthropic studies is an integrated discipline,” she said. “Dr. (Robert) Payton taught us to see the connections across all of these disciplines.
“In this day, technology is a part of our everyday lives. Understanding how it can be a tool for the greater good is a huge benefit.”
Graduate and non-degree students also have the opportunity to learn about next gen technology and social change through a course taught by Dr. Herzog. Taught online, the course will describe the role of technology in helping to explain generational changes with philanthropic activities and the transformation of existing philanthropic practices through technology.
What are your thoughts on how technology is changing the sector? Leave a comment below!