Nonprofit Technology News for June 2013

Jim Lynch's picture


I feel It's high time to catch up on some nonprofit technology trends and news!

I’ll review Mary Meeker and Liang Wu’s annual report on the Internet, a new NTEN report on nonprofit technology assistance providers, Facebook’s new guidelines for nonprofits and causes, charities losing control of Hactivism, Google’s new micro-donation app, and Ginny Mies's pick for the mobile app of the month. Find my original post on this here.

I invite you to have a look at my list of 2013 forecasts on nonprofit technology trends with its handy infographic so you can see how right (or wrong) I am about this year's tech trends. Now, here's the latest.

Mary Meeker and Liang Wu’s 2013 Internet Trends from Kleiner Perkins

Over the last several years, Mary Meeker, of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has analyzed the current state of the Internet and IT. The latest edition came out in May and is bristling with insights. Here's what jumped out at me.

The Internet in 2013

There are now 2.4 billion Internet users around the world, and Internet growth continues to be brisk, especially in developing countries. The leaders in adoption are China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Nigeria, the Philippines, Brazil, and Mexico.

Photos are the dominant form of data being shared over the Internet, mostly on Facebook and mostly from phones (68 percent). YouTube is the second most active social media site in the world, followed by Twitter,Google +LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Tumblr is rising fast as well. Tumblr, which was recently acquired by Yahoo, is an up and coming social media site where people share text, photos, links, music, and videos from whatever device they’re on. 


About 15 percent of all Internet traffic is now via mobile devices. There are now about 1.5 billion smartphone subscribers in the world; the majority of them are in China.

There are well over 5 billion mobile phone users worldwide, of a population of some 7.1 billion souls. The number of cell phone users is expected to exceed the world's population by 2014.

Perhaps more alarming is the report's finding that mobile advertising opportunities remain largely untapped. There’s plenty of room for yet more advertising on our phones.

The Android mobile operating system is dominant around the world with a more than 50 percent market shareApple iOS is second with nearly 40 percent market share. All other platforms are in the low single digits.

Apple iPhones and Samsung phones are the two market leaders; together they represent more than 60 percent of the market. HTC, Motorola, and LG are next, but all are in the single digits with regard to market share.

Tablet PCs, which are considered mobile devices, are a faster growing market than phones. Apple has a commanding lead in tablet computing with a more than 50 percent market share.

The newest application of all mobile devices is expected to be their use as scanners to get you in to airplanes and locked buildings, to buy things, and generally to be your identity. That’s a little scary to me.

The Next Big Thing: Wearable and Drivable Computing

Get ready for Internet-connected smart devices that you’ll wear on your wrist or face or access in your car in 2014. They’ll be voice- or gesture-controlled.

They’ll provide you with directions, reminders, entertainment, web searches, and instant access to your home, office, or friends. You might even walk on them in building hallways.

This brave new world is currently being called the Internet of Things.

New Industry Leaders

In retail, Amazon is so 2012. The new leader in that field worldwide is Alibaba or 阿里巴巴集團. It is a China-based company that now has merchandise sales volume that is more than Amazon and eBay combined.

In electronics, the new industry leader is a Chinese company called 360buy. In technology for good and social media, it’s Sina Weibo or 新浪微博. The Chinese century is upon us.

Research from NTEN: The Current State of Nonprofit Technology Assistance

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), now being run by my former colleague and all-around superwoman, Amy Sample Ward, recently came out with a report called Nonprofit Technology Assistance Providers Sector Reach Report.

This is definitely worth checking out. It's a Microsoft-funded report by Christine Egger on the history of nonprofit technology assistance providers (NTAPs) like TechSoup, 501cTechIdealwareNetwork for Good,NPowerNTEN, and Tech Impact.

The report describes the current state of nonprofit technology assistance as well as the potential of the field, especially if the major NTAPs figure out how to work effectively with each other. Find Michelle Murrain's critique of the report here.

Social Media

Facebook has updated its free white paper specifically for charities on effectively building a presence on Causes.

It’s a set of new guidelines that provides sound strategies for establishing nonprofit brands on Facebook, from utilizing cover and profile photos effectively, to evaluating how to tell your story and represent your organizations’ unique voice and mission.

Digital Inclusion

FreedomPop is one of the most interesting new U.S. telecom companies. You may not have heard of it yet. It provides free and low-cost wireless broadband Internet service and hardware to people in specific low-income zip codes.

It has recently partnered with the digital inclusion nonprofit Connect2Compete to offer up to 1 GB of free data to low-income families in cities across the country. FreedomPop is actually a reseller of Clear 4G network bandwidth, like TechSoup donor partner Mobile Beacon.

One GB of broadband internet is not very much, so a more realistic deal is 12 GB for $10 per month, plus $50 to buy a FreedomPop router.

This arrangement expands Connect2Compete’s low-cost broadband offering to low-income people. It previously offered reduced cost Internet plans only to families with students who qualify for free or reduced-cost school lunches.

Eligibility for the program is a bit complex. People need to both live within the coverage area of FreedomPop’sClear 4G network, and also live in a zip code with median income under $35,000. To check eligibility, the best place to begin is the Connect2Compete home page.

FreedomPop is planning on expanding its services later this year with a free phone service for Android users. The company is so controversial that the comments are often more fun to read than the main articles on it in the IT press.

Mobile and Apps

Google recently released a new micro-donation Android app called One Today that allows users to give $1 to nonprofits of their choice.

The app is currently available only in the U.S. on a trial basis and only for registered members of Google for Nonprofits, one of's social impact initiatives. You can request an invitation to try out the app here.

Nonprofits can learn how to can get their organizations enrolled with One Today here.

Ginny Mies’s Pick for Mobile App of the Month

Ginny Mies is an IT journalist and a former senior editor at PC World Magazine. She is now TechSoup Global's content curator. Her mobile app of the month pick is Pocket (for Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire).

Pocket is the app formerly known as Read It Later. It lets you save videos, articles, and images in your virtual "pocket" so you can access them later. This tool is excellent for assisting with content or curation efforts in your organization.

Person wearing a mask

Hactivism is NOT Being Led by Charities

I've had the suspicion for a while that the online social justice movement called "hactivism" is not led by charities. (Hactivism is the use of online social networks for political and human rights organizing and protest.)

This perception is supported by a recent Guardian article by Fruzsina Eordogh. The movement is apparently being spearheaded more by anarchic groups like Anonymous.

The Guardian story talks about Anonymous taking up the cause of deceased 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, an alleged gang rape victim who killed herself after she was bullied by her Nova Scotian classmates.

Before Anonymous's involvement, the Canadian government had closed the case, but after Anonymous whipped up international attention, the case has apparently been reopened.

I'd just like to get a reality check from you on this. Charities definitely do online social justice activist work. Is it accurate to say that groups like Anonymous lead the way?

Image 1: Information flowing out of a monitor (Shutterstock)

Image 2: Anonymous (Jacob Davis, Creative Commons on Flickr)