The Future of Giving

Most nonprofits rely almost exclusively on government funding and individual donations to maintain sustainability. Unfortunately, government funding has and will continue to shrink, and individual contributions have not only decreased, but there has been an increase in demand for social impact. Donors want to see not only where their contributions are going, but want to see and understand the impact behind their contribution, as well as the sustainability of the organization’s efforts.

The future for nonprofits will be to shift away from traditional fundraising and to focus on technology and innovation—how can organizations utilize technology to better monitor their impact and achieve their mission more effectively?

One of the main players supporting the shift toward technology is Google—who is paving the way for the future of philanthropy.

At the end of 2012, Google launched their Global Impact Awards, designed to support organizations utilizing technology and innovative approaches to take on some of the world’s largest challenges.  While Google typically gives $115 million in grants, they realized they could have a greater impact by funding nonprofit tech innovation instead of spending on specific issues. In addition, the grants come with volunteer consulting on each project from Google specialists and/or engineers.

How the Program Works

Grants

  • Google supports organizations utilizing technology and innovative solutions to meet their mission.
  • Google provides grants to support crisis response efforts and long-term relief efforts.
  • Google supports academic research–investing in computer scientists and faculties through their Research Awards Program.
  • Finally, Google supports organizations such as schools, small businesses and nonprofits within local communities.

Technology

Google’s team has developed and continues to provide free Ads, Apps and products to nonprofit organizations. Their programs include Google for Nonprofits, Google Earth Outreach, YouTube for Good and Crisis Response efforts—all utilizing technology to help drive change and impact.

People

Google supports their staff through programs such as gift matching, where Google matches the contribution of their employees and volunteering. Google encourages their employers to volunteer for the organizations they love, and even allow time out of the office to do so.

What Google is Looking For

Google Impact Awards are looking for organizations that meet the following three criteria as listed on their website:

  1. Innovative approach or technology that can deliver transformational impact
  2. Specific project that tests a big game-changing idea
  3. Brilliant team with successful track record and a healthy disregard for the impossible

At this time, Google is utilizing their team to research the web to find organizations in need, and are not accepting unsolicited proposals. For a list of the 2012 recipients, click here.

The way of the future is here—nonprofits are moving away from the traditional golf outings and silent auctions and are embracing innovation, technology and social entrepreneurship to generate a long-term impact. With powerhouses such as Google leading the shift in philanthropy, donor behavior is going to look for organizations to be more creative in their programs and services.  For more information about the Google Impact Awards, visit their website at http://www.google.com/giving/.