In some areas, digital technologies already play an essential role for social organizations, first and foremost in marketing and public relations. For 93% of the participants in the Google Impact Challenge, social media is important or absolutely central to their work. 2017, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have become a must for social organizations, which ten years ago was their own website. Despite this overemphasis on public relations - based on the strong desire for greater awareness - at least between 59% and 61% of social organizations also rely on digital tools in the areas of project management and cooperation, fundraising and financing, as well as for handling internal processes.
However, digitization must not be reduced to the use of application software. The way in which organizations work is transformed in equal measure and in interaction with the new tools. Most are networked and decentralized, and agility is often still lacking. Many of the organizations surveyed are interested in further developing their working methods and increasing their reach. In an effort to reach as many beneficiaries as possible with their offerings, organizations are increasingly turning to digital products and services - which were promoted accordingly in the Google Impact Challenge. A distinction can be made between a) digital services for the needy, b) the improvement of such digital services, c) the development of digital skills and infrastructure, and d) voluntary work through digitization.
Social organizations are therefore open to digitization. A typical limiting factor is a lack of budget and time, but also a lack of knowledge and exchange. In addition to the financial support, without which 66% of the projects would not have been able to be implemented in the foreseeable future, the exchange between the supported organizations and with Ashoka and Google.org in mentoring was also praised. The financing allows the organizations to invest beyond the project in their further development, in competence and team building, and thus to use the digital change for themselves in the long term.
The present study gives specific recommendations for action to the social organizations, Google.org as well as politics, in order to further strengthen these positive effects in the future.