Rapid advances in technology are changing philanthropy in fundamental ways. Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen of Stanford University rightly points out that gone are the days where social and environmental impact was neither monitored nor assessed. Today's world sees a rise not only in sophisticated Impact Assessment Frameworks (http://shujog.org/magnify-impact/impact-assessment/) and measurement standards (https://iris.thegiin.org/metrics) but also in the data collection tools that can provide demonstrable evidence and facilitate the verification of impact.
In my opinion, technology can play an important role not just by revolutionizing the philanthropic landscape, but also - perhaps more critically - by unlock substantial capital from impact investors (investors that expect to achieve social outcomes in addition to financial returns). Impact investors seek to actively measure their 'social return on investment' to assess success beyond traditional risk and return expectations. Leveraging the power of technology is not only allowing more mission-oriented organizations/individuals to track impact more effectively, but also to inspire others but sharing ideas and stories of change (via social media - twitter, facebook, even platforms like Passle!) and to gain access to high quality investment opportunities (via crowdfunding sites dedicated to social enterprises). Hopefully, technology will play a disruptive role in the space in the future, empowering the next generation of change makers to drive forward the global development agenda in a more rational, effective, collaborative, transparent, and democratic way!
Until recently, someone making a small gift—whether placing a few dollars in a collection basket, sending a check in response to a mail solicitation, or donating via a credit card—felt like he was putting money into a black hole. Tracing how the money was spent was almost impossible, as was measuring the impact of those dollars. Enter technology. Although giving into the black hole still happens virtually through the many “donate now” buttons, a new generation of digital-savvy nonprofits is enabling donors not only to go online to donate a few dollars anywhere, any time, but also to receive direct feedback (including photographs, videos, data, or messages from the recipients themselves) on how their gift is helping transform lives or solve social problems.