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Non-profitscan survive the digital age

Published March 31. 2012 09:01AM

According to the U.S. Census, there were 308.7 million people living in the United States in 2010.

Wouldn't it be great if every one of those people both donated their time and money to your church or non-profit organization?

Of course it would. But get real. That isn't going to happen anytime soon.

All churches and non-profit organizations are being affected in one way or another by both economic climate and government cutbacks. In addition, many other factors affect community involvement, such as employment, inflation and rises in both fuel and utility costs.

We are all exposed to new types of expenses; such as cell phones, computers, internet, special credit plans, data plans, and subscriptions and so on. Many people are coming home from work or school and going "online" rather than taking part in a non-profit organization. Think about it, why would they want to get involved? The computer provides both an affordable social and entertainment media without the unexpected expense of money or time. This newly accepted lifestyle is detrimental to any community and all its non-profit organizations; as people are spending more time at work, home or on their computer and digital devices.

Go back about 20 years or so. What do you remember regarding the level of community support toward churches and non-profit organizations? The amount of people both willing and able to get involved was much, much higher. Non-profits are currently under new pressure to figure out ways of raising more donations with fewer volunteers.

Non-profits can still survive if they learn to adapt and overcome.

In addition to the all important newspaper ad, many non-profits are now turning to social media and the internet to further recruit volunteers or donations.

The community, to include its people, businesses, medias, churches and non-profit organizations can all come together in one place to provide both financial and social assistance to any non-profit or charitable event. Some local non-profits have even taken the digital leap into making their own websites to keep people aware of their organization's endeavors or financial needs.

In some states, churches struggling with membership are even hosting online church services. If a parishioner wants to donate, all he/she has to do is click donate.

All non-profit organizations can vary in purpose or mission, rather it be putting out fires or providing food to the less fortunate; but they all have a purpose of helping the community.

All these non-profits can still survive if they accept and learn to grow with this new social and digital lifestyle. Organizations may not be able to get 308.7 million people to volunteer or donate, but the opportunity is there...

As our youth are being raised with this new "digital age" lifestyle, the future of non-profits might be saved by the very thing that threatens it.

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