Posted by Kalyani M. on Jul 30, 2013
Nonprofits and charitable groups rely on donations to keep up their good work. Whether it’s helping to feed the hungry or fighting for political change in Washington, even the biggest nonprofits and NGOs can’t survive without a strong donor base to rely on. But in this age of market uncertainty and a slow climb from the recession, donations can be hard to come by, and convincing faithful donors to keep up their contributions can be a challenge. And in light of reduced tax deductions for top income earners, some charities worry that donations could continue to rapidly decline, rendering their services virtually obsolete. But even in the face of these challenges, some savvy nonprofits have turned to the cloud to reap big donations online. With private cloud solutions, nonprofits can save money and bring in more donations than ever before.
Unfortunately, due to the shady practices of some unethical nonprofit organizations, public trust in charitable giving has dropped. Institutions like Charity Navigator help donors to decide which organizations are trustworthy and deserving of their contributions. One way that nonprofits can prove their integrity to potential donors is by reducing administrative costs through cloud computing solutions. Through cloud-enabled big data storage and analysis, nonprofits can save big by keeping donor lists all in one place and reducing the needs for expensive onsite servers and devices. Donor giving history, updated contact information, and notes can help nonprofits maintain good relations with their donor base, offering a personal touch, and helping donors feel like they are part of an ongoing long-term solution. The cloud also allows for reduced staff, as cloud service providers can help small teams with technical support and implementation.
Through big data, nonprofits can analyze which campaigns are effective and which have been a waste of time and vital resources. Big data enabled by the cloud also allows for development teams to target specific demographics based on shared attributes. For instance, a public radio station seeking member support could examine a list of big donors to see which programs and outreach methods have brought in the largest contributions. And big data also makes billing much more convenient, with updated donor details and organized tax information. From marketing to member services, the cloud gives nonprofits the ability to tap big data, once preserved for only the biggest enterprises and research firms. With 90% of the world’s data created in just the past two years, nonprofits must learn to harness big data in order to stay afloat.
The cloud also enabled online giving, a must-have for any nonprofit looking to effectively reach its donors. According to two recent studies by The Chronicle, online giving is on the rise. From 2011 to 2012, online donations through PayPal, Blackbaud, and Network for Good, jumped up 14% for a massive total of $2.1 billion raised. According to Julie Taylor, director of donor information at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation, “Giving online is just where people are these days. That’s how they’re comfortable giving now.” The hospital has increased donations by over a third since 2011, largely due to an increased focus on offering donors the convenience of online giving. Online giving through the cloud also enables unique donor options like periodic payments and automatic annual membership renewals. And online donations enabled by the cloud help nonprofits target young donors, which are essential to any organization’s long-term growth. In 2012, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit managed to double its yearly contributions to a whopping total of $1 million in online gifts by targeting those 45 years old and younger.
Cloud Solutions for Nonprofits
Nonprofit organizations and NGOs turning to the cloud should be sure that their third party service offers data privacy and user anonymity. Many cloud services on the market have wide security gaps that leave projects and sensitive donor data wide-open to data breach or leaks. But for SpiderOak, this private cloud service provider offers the full benefits of cloud storage along with 100% data privacy for nonprofits of all sorts.
As for just how SpiderOak protects projects and data, the service offers two-factor password authentication and 256-bit AES encryption so that files and passwords stay private. Two-factor authentication is just like the process used by some banking services that require a PIN as an extra precaution along with a password. Through SpiderOak, users that select two-factor authentication must submit their private code through SMS as well as an individual encrypted password. Nonprofits can store and sync data with complete privacy, because this cloud service has absolutely “zero-knowledge” of user data. Plaintext encryption keys are only stored on the writer’s chosen devices, so NGOs can keep rest easy knowing their donors are protected. SpiderOak’s private cloud services are available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, along with Android and iOS mobile devices, allowing for flexible solutions and collaboration for global nonprofits.