Notes from the World of Ever-Changing Technology Landscape
Late last month, Google announced that they will be ending their Google Checkout online payment service. Many nonprofits have been using Checkout on their websites to receive donations—Google charged no transaction fees for 501c3 and 501c6 organizations for the first few years the service was around and a reasonable rate thereafter. If your organization is using Checkout on your website, you’ll need to make a switch before the November 20, 2013 shut-down.
If your organization was just using their donate button, this may be a good time to consider using a tool that integrates more with your website for better user experience (and a higher conversion rate). You may also want to explore better integration with your donor database or constituent relationship management (CRM) system. Our friends at Idealware have some nice guidance on making choices among the online donation tools. You will want to get updated numbers of transaction fees, as these have changed since Idealware wrote that report. If you are looking for a quick-fix, we recommend looking closely at Amazon’s Simple Pay and Paypal for Nonprofits.
Along with the elimination of Google Reader set for July 1 and continued indications and rumors that Google may be planning to shutter the popular Feedburner service later this year, this is a good reminder about a key factor in technology change. We sometimes describe the pace of change in IT as if we were on a stomach-churning carnival ride—dizzying, ever-increasing, disorienting. But the bedrock level of technology has been growing at a relatively steady pace over the years. Moore’s Law describing the rapid increase in computing capacity has been in place for the better part five decades now. The change is fast, but steady. So what makes it feel chaotic? The steady change in the underlying technology is made much more exciting—and inherently more risky—by market forces and the mercurial nature of business.
This isn’t just Google’s less lucrative offerings we are talking about—we could list dozens of once-useful, beloved technology solutions that have come and gone in the past ten years. And, on the positive side of the ledger, we can list dozens of new, useful solutions that have appeared during that same period. In the same month that Google shuts down Reader, we are migrating more nonprofits to cloud-based solutions for email and collaboration thanks to Microsoft’s decision to donate licenses of their latest Office 365 solution.