Research & Reports

Global Trends in Technology and Social Media Use Among NGOs

The third annual Global Technology Report analyzes how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide use web, email and mobile technology, online fundraising tools and social media, as well as manage data and security.

The report, developed by Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good, details the key findings from a survey of 5,352 NGO respondents from 164 countries across Africa, Asia, Australia & Oceania, Europe, North America and South America. The report provides insight on the online and mobile communication tools NGOs around the world use to promote general awareness, communicate with core audiences and raise funds from donors, as well as an analysis of those online tools and comparisons of regional usage.

Of particular interest to fundraisers, the report found that a third of NGOs use an online peer-to-peer fundraising service. As donors increasingly prefer to give to online fundraising campaigns created by family and friends, NGOs that have invested the resources necessary to experiment with peer-to-peer fundraising will continue to reap the financial rewards for years to come.

The data this year also reveals that 47% of NGOs participate in #GivingTuesday. As awareness about #GivingTuesday expands globally, the #GivingTuesday movement will continue to grow.

Key findings from North America include:

  • 98 percent of NGOs in North America have a website with 88 percent being mobile compatible
  • 86 percent of respondents accept online donations
  • Only 10 percent of NGOs use messaging apps to communicate with donors. Of those, Facebook Messenger is the platform of choice (68 percent), followed by WhatsApp (32 percent) and Snapchat (10 percent)
  • 97 percent of NGOs use Facebook, 85 percent use Twitter, 63 percent use LinkedIn and 61 percent use Instagram
  • Regarding data security, 46 percent of North American NGOs use encryption to protect their data and communications, 5 percent higher than the global average

Of those using encryption for security, 37 percent say it's to protect organizational information (global average is 32 percent), 26 percent say it's to protect the privacy of email communication (global average is 23 percent) and 38 percent say it's to protect to protect donor information (global average is 29 percent).

"The findings from the 2018 report confirm that NGOs worldwide are rapidly expanding their use of technology and with increased reliance on technology, comes increased data management and security needs," said Heather Mansfield, founder of Nonprofit Tech for Good. "For the first time, this year's report provides benchmarks for managing and securing organizational and donor data. NGOs lag behind the private sector in this area and by providing benchmarks, we hope to inspire NGOs to modernize their data management and security practices."

International Trends

Key findings globally include:

  • Email dominates as the preferred form of communication to donors, with 63 percent of respondents regularly sending email updates, but 18 percent use messaging apps and 15 percent regularly send text messages to supporters
  • 72 percent of respondents accept online donations, an increase of 5 percent from 2017
  • While 95 percent agree that social media is effective for online brand awareness, only 32 percent of NGOs worldwide have a written social media strategy
  • Facebook leads global use as the highest social media platform with 93 percent of respondents having a dedicated page, followed by Twitter (77 percent) and YouTube (57 percent)
  • 25 percent of NGOs post daily to their Facebook page and 24 percent Tweet two-to-five times daily, yet 68 percent of NGOs post to LinkedIn less than once per week
  • Only 41 percent of global respondents use encryption technology to protect data and communications

"The annual Global NGO Technology Report not only shows how the internet can help organizations communicate and collaborate with stakeholders, but how it can serve as a powerful force for change when coupled with various technology tools," said Brian Cute, CEO of Public Interest Registry. "This is an important research initiative, bringing together partners from various industries to ultimately support organizations around the world as they seek to better understand and take advantage of technology that can help them actualizing their important social missions."

The Global NGO Technology Report is supported by various global partners that encourage the participation of NGOs in the survey – particularly those located in emerging nations – to ensure a diverse, balanced understanding of how NGOs worldwide use technology. For more information on the survey's findings, methodology, and to download the full report (also available in Arabic, French, Portuguese and Spanish) and graphics, please visit:

(This article was taken from a press release distributed by Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good.)

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