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About this time of year, we like to take stock of what went on in the world of nonprofit technology over the last 12 months. It's fun to compare against TechSoup's 2015 Tech Predictions from the start of the year and Capterra's Biggest Nonprofit Technology Trends of 2015 from March. It appears that a fair number of these predictions (on mobile payments, cloud computing, collaboration tools, and crowdfunding) have actually come true.
It was a big year for TechSoup itself. We expanded this year to be able to provide product donations to pretty much any NGO in the world — 236 countries and territories to be exact. Here's our take on what 2015 brought in the areas of fundraising, software, hardware, mobile, cloud adoption, and security.
Some big new fundraising innovations happened last summer.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone; even the poorest of our poor have access to free cellphones. Christina Bonnington of Wired claimed back in February that in less than two years, a smartphone could be your only computer. Meanwhile, Emily Peck of The Huffington Post spotted a trend in July that a number of high-profile executives, celebrities, and politicians have been reverting to old school flip phones to deal with their cellphone addiction. What else happened in 2015?
Yes. It's not your imagination. Our online security and privacy is getting dicier each year — 2015 was no different. TechSoup donor partner Symantec estimates that nearly a million pieces of malware are released every day.
As usual this year, there was quite a bit of publicity out there on what each of us personally should do to protect our personal privacy and be secure online. We should make our passwords long and strong, keep our software updated, and all the other stuff they list on StaySafeOnline.org.
There's not so much out there about how we can protect our offices. I like Techboomers' post, A Nonprofit's Guide to Antivirus Software and Malicious Program Defense. Another good resource is the FCC Cybersecurity Site for Small Business.
TechSoup's 2015 Top 10 Products from midyear pointed to Symantec Endpoint Protection as our most requested donation. Find information about more of the product donations TechSoup has for keeping the malefactors at bay for your organization.
Adoption of online services went in to a higher gear in 2015. Where software companies lead, we must follow. The majority of our more than 90 donor partners now offer Internet-based software donations and discounts on TechSoup.
Here were our major donated product launches this year (two major ones in the cloud):
In our 2015 Tech Predictions, TechSoup's Chris Delatorre was prescient that there would be increased interest in online document storage and collaboration. Our new donor partner Box got off to a brisk start. As online data storage costs steadily decline, it made more sense in 2015 for nonprofits to store their data and programs on the Internet. Box is now available through the TechSoup donation programs in 27 countries and has quickly become one of our top 10 donation programs.
One last thing. I'd like to remember the great Nonprofit Quarterly national correspondent, Rick Cohen.
He died on November 16th at the age of 64 of a pulmonary embolism.
The Washington Post remembrance called him the Columbo of the nonprofit world. He was one of our great ones. We'll miss him.
Image 1: TechSoup
Image 2: Motorola
Image 3: Eleanor Cohen