Technology for Good identifies ten technologies being used by charitable organizations in innovative ways. The report briefly introduces each technology and provides examples of how those technologies are being used.

In determining the top ten trends, we chose technology that has the potential for wide reach, deep impact, and ease of use.

The top ten technologies selected are:

  1. Mobile Technology: mobile devices that range from low end talk and text phones to smartphones or tablets.

  2. Tracking Technology: GPS or other monitoring systems that track people and goods.

  3. Mapping Technology: tools that organize geographic data and feed data sets into a digital map.

  4. Social Media and Crowdsourcing: data collection through open sources.

  5. Data Management Technologies: tools for processing large amounts of data or improving administrative functions.

  6. Radio/TV: ​new uses of these important mass communication mediums in the developing world.

  7. Translation Tools: quick or immediate translations using a combination of technology and crowdsourcing.

  8. Cloud Technology: computing that allows access to software and information via the Internet instead of a hard drive or computer network.

  9. Portable Networks: movable devices that can creates instant Internet connectivity or telecommunication networks.

  10. Drone Technology: unmanned aerial vehicles used to leapfrog infrastructural deficits.

What You Can Learn

For nonprofits and other charitable organizations, the report offers many examples of how technology can help organization achieve their missions, even with modest means. For funders, the report compiles a variety of successful projects, demonstrating the deep impact of funding technology innovation. Finally, for everyone interested in creating positive social change, the projects described in Technology for Good offer a number of interesting lessons.

Lesson 1: Waiting Is Not An Option

The barriers to positive social change are significant. One billion people currently don’t have access to adequate year-round roads, and 1.2 billion do not have a regular supply of electricity. Worldwide Internet penetration rates are under 40 percent, with some regions as low as 15.6 percent.

Creating this infrastructure would take years, if not decades. And even in regions with stable infrastructures, a war or natural disaster can render transportation and communication difficult of impossible. Because there are urgent needs that must be addressed, charitable organizations have found ingenious ways to continue doing their good work, regardless of infrastructure challenges.

Sometimes the barriers to positive change are social rather than infrastructural. The report includes a number of examples of how technology can help disseminate health and other information, despite social barriers.

Lesson 2: Reuse Great Ideas

Technology for Good is more than a list of interesting technologies. Many of these technology innovation can be applied beyond the region or service sector for which they were initially developed.

Innovation also isn’t always about creating something completely new. Technology for Good also demonstrates the power of deploying existing widely adopted technology in new ways.

Lesson 3: Make Innovation Sustainable 

The best tech idea in the world can’t have a lasting impact if it isn’t sustainable. Technology for Good describes a verity of interesting ways that technology projects have been kept running long-term.

Lesson 4: Collaboration Is A Must

Most of the technology innovation sin Technology for Good weren’t created, implemented, or sustained by just one organization or individual. Many of these technologies required ongoing collaboration between charities, the public sector, and the private sector.

Source: The report was created by TechSoup Global in collaboration with The Guardian.