My predictions, hopes and fears for 2011 regarding nonprofits and networking technology:
Hope: Businesses and nonprofits will realize they have to make accessibility and usability regarding their technology a priority, that they can no longer focus their online activities entirely on the users of the latest technology, on people in their teens and 20s, etc.; companies in both sectors will realize that they have to reach the greatest number of users/readers as possible, and that includes people who wear glasses, people who cannot hear their snazzy audio, people who cannot see their shiny fast video, people who cannot afford to upgrade their phone or computer every year, etc.
Prediction: The so what factor will kick in even more than it did in 2010: people, especially funders, will not be as wow'd by 1000 Facebook fans or several thousand people changing their profile photo to a cartoon character as they were in 2011; rather, they will start expecting real results. Just as the shine of having thousands of people visiting a webpage got to be not-so-impressive after a while in the 90s, people and funders will start expecting much more from so-called Web 2.0 than numbers.
Prediction: People who believe micro-volunteering means not screening volunteers, that believe volunteering is only about getting work done instead of cultivating relationships and building awareness, will finally realize they are wrong and will start listening to seasoned volunteer managers who have the knowledge and experience to make micro-volunteering a real, widely-recognized success, not just a theory and a buzz word.
Hope: For-profit organizations and foundations will realize more and more that they have to fund administrative costs at nonprofit organizations, including technology, if they want these organizations to be as innovative, efficient and results-oriented as they are demanding.
Prediction: Nonprofits will be pressured to provide information in languages other than English.
Prediction: Just as different cultures approach volunteering and people management in different ways, different countries will put their own unique spins on using technology for awareness, for donor cultivation, for community engagement, for volunteering, etc.
Prediction: People will continue to come up with new jargon for old practices -- like crowd-sourcing, which describes a practice that is as old as the Internet itself (more than 30 years old). The challenge for users will be to figure out when a new technology term is actually referring to something they have already been doing, as opposed to being truly something new and different.
Fear: Nonprofits will put more energy into the technology than they put into the thought, strategy and people needed for that technology to truly be worthwhile.