A really good opinion piece in the current issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy by Marcia Sharp entitled "A Technological Revolution for the Greater Good". In the article, Sharp discusses how tech is directly bringing together people and issues in need with people and organizations who want to help. Sharp cites.
As examples of this, but there are lots of others as well. Check out DonorsChoose, for example. The key thing here is that the Net has taken out the middleman, putting donors, whether they are individuals or corporations, directly in touch with groups in need, reducing the need for the intermediary. This evolution is being played out across the web, in areas like music (think ITunes) , or travel (I haven't used a travel agent in 6, maybe 7 years), and now it is moving into philanthropy.
I think it's great. The more we can personalize our giving, the more we can see the effects, the more we can connect with the needs of the world, the more we'll care, the more we'll give, the more we'll be involved.
Sharp warns the giving establishment (Foundations and United Way) to get on board--change or become unimportant. I agree, and would only add that this also extends to individual organizations and causes. Use tech to your advantage. Be constantly aware of what's out there that can help make you more mission capable.
This is not about having the coolest cell phone or PDA. It is about using your brain to connect your mission and the people you serve with whatever resources are out there, including all the great ways to do it technologically.
Coincidentally, my June newsletter is about this very issue!