3 innovative technologies your nonprofit should be investing in

There is a certain romance around charities. The small offices, the lone canvasser, all are staples of the old nonprofit vision. Of course, those things exist, but they're accompanied by technical innovations that have revolutionized the way charitable foundations do business. And if your organization isn't on board, it should be.

Mobile banking
The developed world tends to take its prominent position atop the globe's communication grid for granted. But in several, less developed areas, technology can be hard to come by. Cell phones, fortunately, have started to become widely available in less developed areas and, as a result, mobile banking has started to gain some steam.

Kathleen Colson, founder and CEO of BOMA Project, a nonprofit in northern Kenya that provides seed money for local entrepreneurs, has began using cell phones to safely distribute the money through mobile banking. More than one-quarter of the nation currently has cell service, and Colson expects that number to grow in the next few years.

Financial management software
Like with every organization that might handle money, there are a select few who would use the charity model to exploit generosity. Keeping your nonprofit transparent can help dispel any concerns potential donors might have.

In a recent survey from the United Kingdom's Charity Commission, researchers found nearly one-third of respondents distrusted nonprofits because they didn't fully understand where or how the organization was spending donations. Financial management software can help your charity do more than just accept online donations. It can provide your nonprofit with the transparency to forge relationships of trust between you and your contributors, both existing and prospective.

Raising money for charity sounds like a cut-and-dry process, but the shift to online donations rather than in person has created a need for more technology. Analytics isn't so much a force driving those gifts as it is a measure for determining who is coming to your organization's Web page and what's bringing them there.

With analytics, your nonprofit can determine both the demographics of your audience and by what means that came to your site, such as mobile or desktop. By understanding the audience you have, you can tailor promotional materials and fundraising efforts to not only appeal to them, but you can also branch out and try to attract the audience members you don't yet have.

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