Technology can be a powerful tool in raising money for charities and nonprofits, especially during the holidays.
Through technology, organizations can be held accountable because donors can track how their money is allocated. Nonprofits can also leverage social networks and find creative, easy ways for people to donate money physically, according to Omar Gallaga of the Austin American-Statesman.
For example, the Salvation Army has set up a system where people in Columbus, Ohio, can text the word "kettle" to the organization, and the phone carrier adds $5 to the texter's phone bill.
"It really doesn't get any easier to donate $5 than that," Gallaga tells NPR's Michele Norris.
Although there's the impression that it can be less personal to give online, Gallaga says he found the opposite to be true when he gave money to DonorsChoose.org, a company that connects students and teachers to people who would like to donate. Gallaga says he got an e-mail from a teacher thanking him and telling him that the money was being used to buy AV equipment at a low-income school in Wisconsin.
"It made me feel more connected to that charity, and it made me feel like I had helped some people," he says.
From the nonprofits' point of view, in order to convey the organization's passion for a cause, charities like the American Cancer Society are posting peoples' stories through photos and videos. The American Cancer Society's site is called sharinghope.tv.
In that situation, "you don't see a huge 'donate' button right in front of you. Instead, you're seeing people tell their stories — and it helps put a face on the organization," Gallaga says.
For the holidays, one gift option is a tax deductible gift card through Charity Choice — or a "new spin on a very traditional gift." The card allows people to go online and choose the charity they would like to receive the funds.