January Net2 Think Tank Round-up: Wishes and Predictions for 2011

Claire Sale's picture

Net2 Think Tank LogoEarlier this month, we asked you to share your your wishes and predictions for technology and social benefit 2011. We wanted to learn which themes, tools, topics, and tactics you expect to be big for you and your organization this year. Below, we've compiled all of the community responses for this month's Net2 Think Tank!

Topic: What new web/mobile technologies or tactics will help organizations and enterprises create/increase social impact?


While this month's Net2 Think Tank is now closed, you're always welcome to add your feedback on the subject. Feel free to add your ideas in the comments section at the bottom of this page.


A Shift to Offline Events

Post by Joe Solomon
Read Joe's full post on the NetSquared blog

In his inspirational and enlightening post (which was the inspiration for this Think Tank topic), Joe imagines what it will be like to be a community organizer by the end of 2011. He predicts that nonprofits will start using their knowledge of online organizing to create offline events for real social change. Read the full post to see how he comes to this conclusion.


Transparency, Community, and Cultivation

Response by Mazarine Treyz
Read Mazarine's full response on the Wild Woman Fundraising blog

In her response, Mazarine shares her three keys for nonprofit success in 2011. First, by building transparency through information sharing. Second, by building trust through community. And thrid, by cultivating relationships through personal communications. And these three items work together, as she summarizes:

In 2011 I think we’ll see a lot more nonprofits coming together in community to do mobile donations, and taking advantage of cheap or free ways to help deliver services, grow donor loyalty and extend their reach.


Using Instagram to tell Stories Through Images

Response by Britt Bravo
Read Brit's full post on Have Fun Do Good

Instagram is a new mobile app that makes it easy to share a photo with a short caption to many social networking sites for free. Britt argues that it's ease of use coupled with the ability to quickly modify your photo and share it far and wide set this application apart from other similar tools. She also provides several use-cases for nonprofits:

Nonprofits could use Instagram to share photos:

  • from the field
  • from an event, march or fundraiser
  • as they build, or create something (e.g. a home, an urban garden, a mural)
  • of natural places they want to preserve
  • of and by the people they serve
  • of and by volunteers, or donors
  • of animals that need to be adopted
  • of a "day in the life" of their staff, or constituents
  • as a teaser to a longer story, or a video on their website


Improving Usability of Mobile Applications

Response by @IRIS_NFP
Read the original tweet from @IRIS_NFP

The folks over at IRIS NFP Solutions believe that mobile applications (like the one Britt suggested above) are going to be big in 2011! Here's their brief response via twitter:

Surely its all about creating cross platform mobile apps simple and fun to use


Increase in Open Social Networks

Response by Gordon Dymowski
Read Gordon's full post on Metroshrink

Gordon shares several hopes and predictions in his post, including hoping that nonprofits will become more strategic in their use of technology and predicting that nonprofits will have a significant impact on real innovation in the coming year. He also predicts there to be a rise in more open forms of social networks:

I think open social networks like Diaspora will provide greater opportunities for social change activists and organizations to engage like-minded people. Rather than being closed networks that serve as primary broadcasting channels, these open social networks will allow agencies to carry their data across a greater range, being able to maintain their mission-based identities as well as have a much greater possibility of engaging potential advocates.


Increase in Bespoke Social Networks

Response by Daniel Halperin
Read Daniel's full response on Linkedin
In a similar vein to Gordon's prediction about open social networks above, Daniel, shares his desire for social networks that are geared to a specific topic or audience:

I hope that philanthropy-focused networks like Jumo will continue to gain traction and host productive connections and conversations about non-profits and social good, making them stronger than the casual, general networks.


Accessibility Information: Encouraged by Platforms, Generated by Users

Response by Sue Anne Reed and Julie Lubinsky 

Sue Anne and Julie are seeing an increase in accessibility information shared via social networks, and would like to see platforms encourage the behavior:

Julie: Love to see an "accessible" badge on @FourSquare given to those who check-in to accessible friendly places 
Sue Anne: Or a plug-in for Foursquare that allows you to rate a place as accessible… I've seen people leave comments in tips about accessibility, veg options, gluten-free


Digital will be Increasingly Mainstream, Even for Small Charities

Post by Rachel Beer
Read the full story in the Guardian
Rachel put together an extensive list of predictions for the UK voluntary sector in The Guardian newspaper. Below are a few of the topics she covers, and we encourage you to read the original article to see all the topics and their detailed descriptions:

  • Charities will rush towards online fundraising like never before
  • Social media will be taken seriously
  • Small charities will invest in trust fundraising
  • Apple will allow charities to take donations through iPhone and iPad apps


Hashtag Potential

Response by David J. Neff and Randal C. Moss
Read the full excerpt on 501derful 
Dave and Randal shared an exceprt from their book, The Future of Nonprofits, for their submission. In it, they share a bit of the history and importance of hashtags and predict their utility to increase over the next few years. Can you imagine a time when every word we use on the internet will be easily trackable across platforms? It's not far off!

In the future, the hashtag will be ubiquitous across all social platforms. You will be able to tag everything from Facebook updates to the txt messages you send your friends. The hashtag could become the universal way to add metadata to a piece of online content.


Taking on the New; Forgetting the Tried and True

Response by Kevin Lee
Read the full reply on Linkedin

Kevin is hopeful that social media will be used as one tool in the arsenal, but not a replacement for tried and true methods of communication and fundraising:

I'm hopeful that organizations will stop thinking about technology and social media as silos. Technology like the phone and direct mail are tools that can be used to accomplish more than one objective simultaneously in many cases. 

Increased Adoption of Cloud-based Services

Response by Ryan Hartberg
Read the full reply on Linkedin
Ryan expects to see an increase nonprofits using more cloud-based solutions in 2011. Cloud computing can increase staff mobility, reduce hardware costs, and be more cost effective. As he puts it:
I have found cloud computing (hosted networks) an advantageous solution for many non-profit organizations… [It] allows organizations to spend their time doing what they are passionate about while saving time and money in the process. Of course each cloud solution is unique, but this is a taste of how we offer ours, and we have more non-profit organizations signed on than for-profit.


Thanks to everyone who contributed their ideas and expertise to this post. What are we missing? Add your suggestions in the comments section below!