Nonprofit technology trends in 2017 and should we avoid one?

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Image credit: Lloyd Dirks

I recently stumbled across a very interesting article entitled 5 Nonprofit Technology Trends to Watch in 2017. It piqued my interest as it set out, in simple terms, low-cost, high-impact strategies nonprofits could develop in 2017 to keep ahead of the curve:

  1. Facebook and Twitter engagement is in decline.  Invest in paid advertising on these platforms.
  2. Email marketing engagement is seeing regrowth – include donation call to action in mobile friendly email campaigns.
  3. Social media donations are on the rise – ensure your organization activates giving features on their social media platforms.
  4. Embrace mobile giving – review merchant services to include payments through near-field communication devices (i.e. Apple Pay, Android Pay)
  5. Be prepared for the “Internet of Things” revolution in nonprofit – figure out how your organization can become more connected to its patrons.

The integration of these ideas is relatively simple and cost-effective and marketing and development teams could easily have them integrated into strategic plans within the first quarter of 2017… all of them, that is, except the last one.

Nonprofit arts organizations don’t have a physical object that can be connected to the internet (think wifi kettle).  It’s challenging to think of how we can bridge the gap between peoples insatiable appetite for technology while they consider a fine Monet or settle down for performance of Macbeth.

A theatre-goers experience can already be enhanced through technology such as Zoomph or BidPal.  But the key to the Internet of Things is that it should be “on demand”.  How do we adapt live theatre to make it accessible whenever and wherever a user desires? Should arts administrators concern themselves with this trend or invest more in the highest quality productions to draw people in?  Does the inclusion of technology in live performance detract from the playwright’s message?

As we enter 2017 it is clear that many technological advances can have a sizable positive impact on the nonprofit arts sector.  However, there are many unanswered questions which deserve serious consideration to ensure the longevity of arts organizations.

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