Monday, June 9, 2014

The Age of Paying Big Dollars for Databases…or other technology…Is Over!

Last Monday (June 2, 2014), Apple held its 25th anniversary WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference). This used to be Steve Jobs’ big stage to announce new devices, but last Monday, the show was all software.

Watch the opening four minutes of the video that Apple prepared to kick off the conference. By the way, don’t try to watch it in the Chrome browser (owned by Google); they kinda sabotaged it into not playing.

Why is this important for fundraisers?

Because “software is eating the world,” as Marc Andreessen has famously said.

When we talk about the Internet disrupting virtually every sector of the economy (including fundraising), we are really talking about software programs (also know as Applications or Apps) that can be accessed through the Internet. The Internet is the platform . . . the Apps or software are the functionality.

Up to now, what made Apple was their hardware devices; first the Mac, then the iPod, then the iPhone, and finally the iPad.

Jobs’ brilliant move wasn’t just “devices so cool you had to own them,” but also the seamless integration and functionality of, first, iTunes (99 cents to own a song), then opening up code so software developers could create Applications that would ride on the iPhone, iMac, and iPad. Thus expanding the Apple Store to include the App Store . . . and today over 10 billion App downloads!

Today, Apple has over 9 million registered developers from 69 countries.

9 million people writing software code so you and I can have the functionality we want on our phones, tablets, or computers.

How many software developers worldwide do you think there were prior to the App Store?

Apps are software and more and more … software (Apps) is cheap.

So what is the spillover effect for fundraisers? Unless you are lazy, or your fundraising organization is very large, you SHOULD NOT be paying anything close to what you have paid in the past for technology, including donor databases and Websites.

A shout-out to our program alumni who already learned about this in our program and who, in reading about the Apple WWDC conference focusing on software, recognize that they are really a part of the mainstream, rather than the cutting edge. It only feels like the cutting edge when you operate in the nonprofit fundraising world.

When you move your fundraising online - as you inevitably will -  your infrastructure costs in technology WILL NOT be significant investments (as they have been in the past) for your organization. Yet, you will be able to connect with and engage far greater numbers of people … many of whom will support your mission or ministry.


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