Last week I was listening to my favorite podcast WBUR with Tom Ashbrook and the topic of net neutrality came up. I never took into consideration that one day our internet freedom could be jeopardized. Net neutrality means that Internet service providers (ISP) cannot discriminate between different kinds of content and applications online. A free and open Internet guarantees a level playing field for all Web sites and Internet technologies.
Recently, Verizon challenged the FCC over net neutrality –and won. A federal appeals court tossed out the FCC’s Open Internet rules, citing that the agency doesn’t have the power to require Internet service providers to treat all traffic equally. The question for today is: What does this ruling mean for nonprofits?
To start, without net neutrality the nonprofit sector will be forced to compete with for-profits on the cost of messaging. Andrew Raseij, a serial social entrepreneur and founder of the Personal Democracy Forum stated,
“For the nonprofit sector, loss of net neutrality may be as devastating as losing their tax free status because cost of reaching the public will go so high as to be prohibitive.”
If the ISPs are allowed to put up tollbooths, only those content providers who can afford it will be able to have their content downloaded quickly. Below is a theoretical example of Internet pricing structures by BarStoolSports. If you notice all the websites listed in the packages are major brands. Where is the rest of the internet? Will we only be allowed to access the big companies who pay up to ISP?
The FCC plans to appeal the ruling, but if that effort is unsuccessful nothing can be done to protect net neutrality outside the backing of the Federal government. If you wish to fight this ruling I invite you to sign the White House petition that aims to restore Net Neutrality by directing the FCC to classify Internet Providers as "Common Carriers."
The petition has exceeded its goal of 100,000 signatures and is still taking signatures until February 14, 2014. It can be found and signed here.
Times are definitely changing and what does the end of net neutrality mean for SEO? Finding a way around the "tollbooths" could mean sharpening the technical skills needed for search engine optimization. What are your thoughts regarding net neutrality? Do you think the increasing number of people moving from cable to Netflix has anything to do with the recent ruling?
Mobile, analytics, and cloud-based software are predicted to play important roles in helping nonprofits engage with supporters while still focusing on their missions.
2014 will be an exciting year for nonprofit technology. It is anticipated that many of the trends predicted last year will be revisited as opportunities for nonprofit organizations to use technology has become increasingly available.
Keeping up with current trends means going mobile. Mobile devices are quickly becoming the platform of choice for computing and have changed the way we consume all sorts of online content. The majority of all emails are now opened on a mobile device, which means having a mobile-friendly approach to engaging donors has never been more important.
It’s pretty obvious that with a large portion of the population using a Smartphone, mobile applications are becoming more useful for consumers and organizations. The Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ) reported five apps that may help your Nonprofit.
Cause.it gets the word out about your organization to everyone in your community that has downloaded the application. Nonprofits have the option to partner with local businesses and users can earn points for discounts or freebies at those businesses by volunteering with your organization.
DailyFeats has become really popular by offering tools and motivation for individuals to live a healthy lifestyle. Members earn points for actions that range from eating a salad rather than a cheeseburger or volunteering for a nonprofit. These points can be used for rewards or donations to nonprofits.
If you have hosted or participated in a charity run, walk or bike event then you may have already heard about this app. MyWhereAbouts allows participants to track their progress and share it by sending updates to social networks. The updates will detail the event while also sharing your organization’s donation page.
Square Register is a portable payment system that allows your nonprofit to receive payments through any iPad, iPhone or Android device. Basically, a small portable card reader plugs into your mobile device’s headphone jack to allow you to scan credit cards. Transactions are secure and payments are sent directly to your organization’s bank account.
With VolunteerMatch’s mobile app, members of your community can find or share volunteer opportunities at your organization via any mobile device.
The apps in 2014 seem to differ from the more traditional fundraising apps of 2013 by offering incentives and a fun twist to giving. We will see how it plays out in the following months.
The world has become highly data driven with companies craving the visible benefits of understanding and monetizing data. Nonprofits have begun to see the web, social media, donor, volunteer, and client data generated on a daily basis. Learning to manage and mine data is fairly simple with free tools nonprofits can use. Google Analytics is a widely used tool and is explained in a one of our previous blog posts listed here.
Cloud-based services can be intimidating to organizations that are unfamiliar with the technology. However, cloud computing has become so universal that many people are unaware they are even using it. A bit of research and a highly rated cloud service provider goes a long way. Cloud service providers are offering security and easily expandable storage space, but without the added cost and technology resources of in-house servers. Religious organizations of all sizes don't seem to be afraid and have given their blessings to cloud computing.
For more information on Cloud Computing, read up on our previous posts
Incorporating new technology into an organization can be tricky. Feel free to visit our website and check out the technology services we provide to small businesses and nonprofits. Stay tuned for an in detail look at a few of the trends listed above. What do you see trending in 2014?
On April 9th, Mashable reported that Google would bring its “Google Fiber” to Austin, TX.
"The Internet is still in its early days and has so much more potential to improve our lives," Google said. "Communities that are connected to the Internet grow stronger because there’s greater potential to create jobs, drive economic growth, and help businesses succeed. We believe the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, and we hope this new Google Fiber city will inspire communities across America to think about what ultrafast connectivity could mean for them."
Google’s first cities to receive Google Fiber were Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO. According to the Google Fiber website the services are still being rolled out, but included is Free internet –after a $300 construction fee- which works out to be $25 per month for 12 months. The option is available to get faster Internet for a monthly fee and there is another plan to also add television to the plan for a bit more. While Google is making fast internet available, the hope is that these infrastructure changes will draw businesses to open up shop in Kansas City and in Austin.
Watch more here:
Access is the main theme of cities all over the country and the world. In New York City, the Digital Roadmap was rolled out in the Spring of 2011.
NYC explains that “Universal Acccess to the Internet is the foundation of a truly connected city and an essential part of New York's digital roadmap. With a focus on bridging the digital divide to serve all New Yorkers, Mayor Bloomberg is committed to expanding the reach of high-speed internet across the five boroughs.”
NYC now has 26 parks served by AT&T WiFi and has plans to bring cell phone reception to the subway. New York boasts that 72 schools have been empowered by “connected learning grants” that have serves 16,000 students.
For all of NYC’s proposals you can read about it here.
Whether it is Google, or AT&T, or NYC Digital Roadmap, it is clear that in order to improve schools, to build the businesses of tomorrow, and to create jobs, the Internet, and more importantly, the access to it is extremely necessary.
NYC Industry Impact
How is your city meeting the needs for the future of business?
Hello and welcome to a new season of the WebServes blog. My name is Peter and I will be your WebHost today. We at WebServes believe the work we do is important. By empowering other nonprofits through technology, we ourselves are making a contribution and contributing feels good. Like right now, I’m contributing to this blog - Yes it’s intimidating and yes creating new content takes mammoth motivation because it really is so much easier to share, like or +1 somebody else’s content. Sharing is simpler and faster than creating original content and genuinely important since sharing content is kinda the whole point of the Internet. But, somebody has to create content for the rest of us to share so I’ll take the plunge today, if only to allow my conscience to share, like and +1 in peace for the next few days.So what’s it all about? This blog is about a lot of things, because WebServes is about a lot of things. I’ll paste some formal text here to explain:
WebServes empowers nonprofit organizations, start-ups and small businesses through technology. We are a nonprofit Technology Service Provider that enables others to expand their reach and spread their message online. In the modern age, establishing and maintaining an online presence is a vital and cost-effective way to communicate and interact with constituents. WebServes’ expertise empowers clients to harness the power of the Internet.
With my blogging cap firmly back in place, WebServes has two specialities - The Web and Serving. We understand the World Wide Web in all its intricate glory. Well, we understand it insofar as can be understood. Like astronomers, we can make sense of about 4% and the rest is dark energy or dark matter. But, we’ve really got that 4% nailed down. With our grasp of the Internet, we serve you. We use our expertise, know-how and can-do-attitude to build brands, websites, marketing solutions and offer a whole range of web services to non-profits, start-ups and up-starts. We use our Internet savviness to offer clients a complete and effective online identity. Our clients are numerous and each is unique in their needs. Our understanding of the Web enables us to serve clients with the online resources they need to empower their organization. That’s what WebServes does but what does this blog do? That’s a good question and one that, for now, eludes total understanding. This blog is a living thing and will evolve over time. For now, we hope that it will be a resource for visitors to learn about exciting new developments in the greater Internet domain, the nonprofit landscape as well as here at WebServes. So far our team are working on topics under the following headings:
We will also be using this blog as an opportunity to share stories and videos from outside sources that we consider deserving of endorsement (if you can’t beat ‘em, link ‘em).We’re 96% sure that’s what this blog will be. Maybe 4% is more realistic. We hope that you will come back often and tell us how we’re doing.Peter