Lap Around The Internet: Tech Sites for Nonprofits

June 13, 2013       Chris Bernard      

Technology changes fast, doesn’t it? And there are so many pieces to it that it’s difficult to keep up with any one of them, much less all of them. But in my role at Idealware, I’d be remiss if I didn’t try. To that end, there are a number of sites I visit regularly to keep up to speed on the ever-evolving world of technology, especially as it applies to the nonprofit sector.

Here’s what a typical lap of the Internet looks like for me.

A number of individuals put a lot of time and effort into writing about technology for nonprofits, and I like to visit their sites regularly.

On Beth Kanter’s blog (www.bethkanter.org), some of the sector’s leading experts share their voices on wide-ranging topics from philanthropy to social media, all from the perspective of how nonprofits can use different technologies and mediums to better reach and serve the people they need to, from volunteers to funders to constituents.

John Haydon has a blog, too (www.johnhaydon.com), where he discusses social media for nonprofits. He’s always thoughtful and smart as hell, and I always learn something. Marc Pittman, the “Fundraising Coach,” writes about that topic on his site (http://fundraisingcoach.com), and often touches on the technology that can help. He’s also a really good guy.

Over at TechSoup (www.techsoup.org), I scan the blog for news and information about technology, and usually learn a thing or two about specific tools. If you work at a nonprofit and you’re not familiar with TechSoup and the discounted prices they offer on software, you’re missing out.

I usually visit a few straight-up tech sites that aren’t nonprofit-related, but that cover technology that is useful to everyone, including the people doing the boots-on-the-ground work at nonprofit organizations. Gizmodo (www.gizmodo.com) and Engadget (www.engadget.com) are good, as are ArsTechnica (http://arstechnica.com).

Tech is not the goal — it’s just one of the tools we can use to reach the goal. For nonprofits, the goal is changing the world, right? That’s why so many of us spend so much of our time working within the sector. It’s useful to read about all the great things nonprofits are doing to make the world a better place, so I check the latest news at The NonProfit Times (www.thenonprofittimes.com). Technology on its own is useless without context. I also read the technology sections of the New York Times (http://nytimes.com) and Boston Globe (http://boston.com) for information about how the for-profit world is using technology, because much of it applies.

If technology isn’t your passion but a necessary evil, don’t worry. You don’t have to keep up with technology — just with the people who do.

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Chris Bernard is the editorial and communications director of Idealware in Portland, Maine.

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