publication date: Jan 9, 2012
author/source: James Temple
The J.W. McConnell
hosted a one-day Toronto conference called Innoweave
in November featuring one of Framework's new cloud computing tools, Sharesies
. The conference was a chance to look at innovative
ways that cloud computing platforms could help strengthen nonprofit governance,
fundraising and transparency.
From giving management teams and boards of directors the
ability to edit information online and in live time, to highlighting how grants
can now be posted, reviewed, approved, and endorsed in the public eye, new
technologies are providing nonprofits new opportunities to show the public how
they are a source of strength and not weakness, as they are sometimes painted
in the media.
Embracing new ideas and technology isn't always easy,
especially when it comes to balancing the potential risks and opportunities
related to fundraising. I've witnessed many instances where people ignore
innovation because they are too comfortable with the same routine.
Fundraisers and corporate grant makers, please take note of
some of the biggest pitfalls to avoid as we enter 2012. Reviewing these
pitfalls will better educate fundraisers about how to raise money and measure success.
It will also provide ideas to help grant makers incorporate technology into improved
Pitfall one: getting
stuck in the fundraising silo
There's an old adage:
You can change or be changed.
Technology isn't always easy to digest, but looking at how
it might impact your fundraising portfolio five years from today is half the
battle. It really comes down to asking the right kinds of questions to stay
informed, and making sure you don't get stuck in your department silo. Some key
questions you may ask include:
Pitfall two: focus on
what isn't vs. what could be
How does a new technology improve the ability to
build and strengthen relationships at the heart of any fundraising portfolio?
How will it improve my organization's strategy
in the future?
How does this technology change my elevator
speech to donors?
Nonprofits are often guilty of sharing information about
what's not going right and the challenges associated with their day-to-day
operations. That mindset sets the tone for the expectation of a weak sector.
Instead we must focus on opportunities that align well with our unique set of
values-based organizational models. Let's talk in a way that empowers us!
Technology can be an enabler, and we need to always see it
as such. It must be viewed as the gas that keeps our engine running, not the
aging infrastructure. With new applications of software, we now have the ability
to communicate faster, more effectively, and more transparently. Given recent
media attention around the use of funds at charities, I recommend we take
initiative and tell the right story, and not let others tell it for us.
At the end of the day, I'm really trying to encourage you to
think critically about the impact of new ideas. It's about looking at how
externalities affect fundraising (or grant making) in ways that aren't always
This might be the first time someone's telling you to keep your
head in the clouds. But when I see amazing new ideas like Sharesies,
it makes me think the clouds are a good place to be.
James Temple is
the director of corporate responsibility for PwC Canada and director of the
PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada Foundation. He oversees a team responsible
for integrating good social, environmental and economic values into PwC's decision-making
James is a featured presenter at international
conferences, speaking on the value of developing strong corporate-community partnerships.
He co-chairs the Association of Corporate Grantmakers and sits on the Advisory
Board for the Institute at Havergal College.
Contact him at 416-815-5224, by email, or visit http://www.pwc.com/ca/corporateresponsibility.