Technology has made it easier to donate towards philanthropic causes. However, this has changed the game for the ways charities usually function and how they interact with donors.
The biggest change is in the demographic of those who are giving and how they are able to give. Millenials can’t donate in traditional ways. Charity used to thrive on banquets and large gifts, but the younger generation doesn’t have the capital to give that way. So, targeting smaller gifts, online is the best way to rope them in. As millenials age and have more economic leeway, they will remember the charities that they made relationships with early and possibly give larger gifts.
Charities that are ahead of the game are using technology to their advantage when targeting those who may donate. For example a service called Centscere donates a few cents every time you “like” something on facebook or send a tweet. Other companies are doing similar things, like Google’s One Today that donates a dollar a day to a charity of your choice, or Check in for Good. Check in for Good utilizes the check-in habits of millenials in restaurants, coffee shops, theatre, etc. and donates money when they post that they are there.
The biggest change for traditional philanthropists is that donors and activists are organizing on their own. They have the tools with the Internet and the various app interfaces to collect money and put it towards the causes they see fit. The need for institutions still exists, but the way these institutions interact with people and how the donors interact with them is changing. Gone are the days of word of mouth. Charities need to have an online presence that clearly outlines who they are and what they do via a website and social media. There is still a place for charities, but they need to be aware of the changing market, especially as sites are linking donors directly to people with need. For the future of established charities, they need to make it transparent exactly how what they do impacts the final step, those in need.