What do connected cars and charitable foundations have in common?

The speed at which technology seems to evolve can sometimes be disarming. However, charitable foundations and other nonprofit groups should embrace innovations in digital tools and other complex systems rather than shy away in favor of more traditionalist approaches to interacting with donors.

How far technology has come
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets were some of the first tools that nonprofits were faced with, and many have found ways to integrate mobile apps that give contributors the opportunity to conveniently and quickly find information, search for volunteer opportunities and even participate in fundraising drives. For nonprofits that accept donations online, effectively working with technology has become a must because donors are increasingly looking to digital resources in a number of aspects of their lives.

One opportunity presented to nonprofit groups is the rising market for connected cars. Current.org, the online resource for public broadcasting professionals, indicated Internet-enabled vehicles are disrupting the way public radio stations connect with listeners, meaning organizations either have to adapt or risk falling to the wayside.

What connected cars offer
A recent Time Magazine article outlined the way many of the major auto manufacturers are investing in creating a driving experience that will seamlessly integrate Web technology. For instance, the American carmaker General Motors has already decided to include 4G LTE in the majority of its 2015 Chevy vehicles using the OnStar system. As opposed to the Internet-connected cars and trucks currently available, these new models will operate independent of smartphones which previous automobiles needed to sync with to link to the Web.

Similar to the way smartphones and tablets are manufactured with mobile apps built in, connected cars will be similarly equipped. As a result, many organizations are working to establish agreements and collaborate with automakers to ensure their content is available to drivers at the first turn of the key. Current indicated National Public Radio and American Public Media have both worked with automakers to stay connected to listeners on the go. In fact, when Ford introduced its sync system at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, the automaker featured the NPR app.

Regardless of a charitable foundation's focus, connecting with donors and volunteers through multiple channels continues to be a priority, as well as a challenge. Yet, advances in technology provide opportunities to engage individuals and distribute content in ways that were previously almost impossible.

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