When the ball drops in Times Square to mark the beginning of 2021, most of the world will undoubtedly be relieved that 2020 is finally over. In a year marked by a deadly pandemic, a financial recession, and a swarm of killer hornets, 2021 couldn’t possibly be any worse, right?
While things are definitely moving in the right direction, just because the new calendars are rolled out doesn’t mean the previous year’s maladies won’t affect the future.
2020 was a challenging year for philanthropy. Financial uncertainty around the world had many people hesitant to give money and more likely to stockpile their savings. In 2021, the philanthropic industry will face these same challenges, albeit on a lesser scale. Technology will be the key differentiating factor for expanding philanthropic outreach around the world.
Here are three predictions of what philanthropy-based technology will look like in 2021:
“Giving Tuesday” was created in 2012 as an idea rather than a movement — it’s a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown to inspire hundreds of millions of people to collaborate, give to others and celebrate generosity.
While 2020 saw contribution numbers down compared to previous years, experts were surprised to discover they weren’t down as much as anticipated. The main reason? Helping individuals in need is a way for many people to overcome fear and division.
If 2021 is similar to its predecessor in any way, this may occur again. But the best way to ensure that Giving Tuesday trends in a positive direction is to make sure that people know about it.
Experts point to a large social media presence as the best way for people to learn about a charity. One of the fastest-growing social media platforms is Tik Tok, which Giving Tuesday has a large presence on.
The biggest change to Giving Tuesday in 2021? You may hear about it more as charities, movements and foundations shift their focus toward social media rather than an in-person movement. Look for Giving Tuesday to expand their social media presence to adjust to this as well.
Blockchain is a digital structure that stores data in a growing chain of “blocks” that are then connected by cryptography. Each block contains its own information, as well as data from previous and subsequent blocks. The main benefit of blockchain is that it aids in eliminating online risks. So how can blockchain technology help philanthropies in 2021?
Due to the pandemic, nearly everything must be done online rather than in person, and this includes fundraising, which has moved to digital platforms. These online fundraising platforms are both convenient and effective — as shown by the rise in virtual fundraising events in 2020 — and they deserve the best protection that technology can provide.
By implementing blockchain technology into a digital fundraising platform, charitable donations can be recorded and tracked by donors so people can see exactly where their donations go and when they are put to use.
With the pandemic remaining for the foreseeable future, being able to donate online safely will be a core attribute of running a successful charity next year.
To effectively predict the future, experts have to look to the past. In 2019, individual giving was the largest source of contributions, with donations from individuals increasing by 4.7% that year. Other notable events that year were that personal income increased by 4.4% and the GDP rose by 4.1%.
According to Alan R. Hutson, Jr. from Nonprofit Quarterly, “Philanthropy is often driven by underlying economic results … you could consider the longer-term impact as the economy struggles in the next three years and beyond.”
2021 will most likely look similar to its predecessors. The main difference? Experts say print advertising is continuing its sharp decline. The best way to advertise a charity or nonprofit is online.
Advertising isn’t the only aspect that’s been affected, however. Nonprofit events that were previously held in person must now be conducted through online meeting resources such as Zoom or Google Meet.
As society adapts to the pandemic’s restrictions, charities, nonprofits, and philanthropies must also adapt. That’s where new technology comes in. The best way to reach an audience in a world where a pandemic is reality is through technological sources such as social media, online meeting platforms, and online chatting.
What will 2021 look like for philanthropies? The answer is that no one can really be certain.
But if 2020 was any indication, there will be a large focus on using technology to gather donations and communicate with donors, staff members, and the public. With an increase in virtual fundraising gaining traction, it’s important to plan ahead and have the technological resources available to ensure the philanthropy sector’s success.
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