We’re in the thick of it at Idealware, working on a number of new articles and reports—and in case you missed it, we recently published two others, CRM Integration for Nonprofits and A Few Good Tools for e-Advocacy. I know you’re busy, too. So let’s get right to it. In no particular order, here are some of the best things about nonprofits and technology we read online this month…
Nonprofits, assume the crash position… projections for charitable giving don’t look good, according to a blog post by Michael Stein and Jim Lynch over at Tech Soup. Looking at the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that went into effect earlier this year, they lay bare the upcoming changes and offer practical suggestions.
“It is wise and prudent for U.S. nonprofits and faith-based organizations to prepare for a lean year with regard to individual donations.”
Over at the New York Times, a new story shows a rise in the use of “smart” devices in homes—including internet-connected locks, speakers, thermostats, and lights—to monitor, harass, target, and control people in a new pattern of behavior for domestic abusers.
“When we see new technology come out, people often think, ‘Wow, my life is going to be a lot safer,’” said Katie Ray-Jones, chief executive of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. But “we often see the opposite with survivors of domestic violence.”
The Times also had a piece about Instagram introducing hour-long videos, partially in an effort to compete with YouTube. “Instagram reported last year that users under 25 spent more than 32 minutes a day on the app, and that those 25 and older spent more than 24 minutes a day,” Jonah Engel Bromwich writes. Those numbers mean that some part of your audience is spending some part of every day on the site. Are you meeting them there? How will you adapt to the new format? (If you’re interested in Instagram but aren’t sure how to make video, Idealware is presenting a training for Foundation Center’s GrantSpace called How to Create Video on a Shoestring and Tell Your Nonprofit Story. Learn more or sign up now.)
Speaking of Idealware training, we recently partnered with GuideStar to lead a panel discussion on what nonprofits need to know about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. One of the panelists, Paul Lamb, brought this quote to our attention:
“Wow, if I had invested $1,000 in Bitcoin last week, today I would have… still no idea how Bitcoin works.” -Stephen Colbert
Read Lamb’s smart piece for the Huffington Post and work your way through this thorough list of additional resources he posted for our webinar participants and you’ll know more about cryptocurrencies than Stephen Colbert.
Your Wi-Fi Security Is Probably Weak. Here’s How to Fix ThatBrian Chen says that our race for faster internet with wider coverage over our home WiFi networks is making us vulnerable. “But it’s time to change our views,” he writes. “Network security needs to be high on our list of considerations because a WiFi station is the gateway for devices to get on the internet. If your router is infected with malicious software, all your internet-connected devices become vulnerable, including your smartphone, computer, smart watch, television and Amazon Echo.” This is important for anyone with a home network, but it’s even more important for small nonprofits using simple WiFi routers at their offices.
Hands Off My Data! 15 Default Privacy Settings You Should Change Right Now
Data continues to dominate technology news, perhaps because it’s a not just a tech issue—it’s about privacy and culture, too, and occupies the overlap between technology and humanity. How do we protect our own data, and how do we protect the data of the people we serve?
Geoffrey A. Fowler counsels you to “Say no to defaults,” offering an alternative in the form of a “clickable guide to fixing the complicated privacy settings from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple.”
“Trust, humanity, equity, and privacy are the four pillars of the responsible use of data,” Marcy Rye writes about Data on Purpose: The Promises and Pitfalls of the Connected World, hosted by the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) in February 2018. “The conference was about the current state of data for nonprofits, and a glimpse into what the future holds.”
She offers best practices for designing big data systems, measuring impact and trends, and making decisions about what’s next as a guide to how nonprofits should move forward into a data-driven landscape.
On our own blog, we asked Matt Eshleman of Community IT a few followup questions to his NTC session about email encryption. He graciously responded with a detailed post that breaks down what can be a complex issue into language that’s easy to understand, which is just how we like it at Idealware. Thanks, Matt!
See you next month…
P.S. Thank you to everyone who sent me suggestions for this month’s roundup of links. As always, if you come across something you think would be a good fit for the Best of the Web, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.