Digital transformation is impacting nearly every industry and aspect of our lives. At this time of year, when our thoughts and actions turn toward giving, I want to show how digital giving is improving people’s lives around the world.

Digital Giving Data Points

According to the 2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report, published jointly by the Public Interest Registry and Tech for Good, online donations continue to lead the philanthropy industry.

  • 77 percent of Millennials, 66 percent of GenXers, and 54 percent of Baby Boomers prefer to donate to charities online.
  • Millennials are most inspired to give by social media, while Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are more influenced by email.
  • 95% of NGOs worldwide have a Facebook page; 83% have a Twitter profile; and 40% are active on Instagram.

Source: Global NGO Online Technology Report, Public Interest Registry and Tech for Good, 2016.

Cisco: A Culture of Giving

Cisco has always had a culture of giving as can be seen by perusing the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility site. This year alone, through the company’s generous Time2Give program, we volunteered more than 370,000 hours of time and donated over $13 million to causes around the world. For the eleventh year in a row, Cisco won the annual Second Harvest Food Bank’s 48-hour Virtual Race with $244,000 in employee giving. These funds will provide more than 470,000 meals to families in need. Since 2006, Cisco’s total giving to Second Harvest equals $12 million ($7.4 million from employee donations and $4.6 million in matched funds). Since 1994, Cisco has given $19.7 million which equates to about 39 million meals.

And, I’m proud to say that the Cisco Digitization Office was the top organization again this year in donating to Cisco’s annual Be the Bridge campaign. Be the Bridge is Cisco’s signature employee giving campaign that builds on the company’s decades-long commitment to supporting communities around the world. Employees can give to more than 1900 organizations worldwide. Every dollar makes a difference as employees are encouraged to access the Cisco Foundation match to multiply the impact of their gifts.

When it comes to digital giving, the Cisco Networking Academy has changed lives, businesses, and economies with IT education for 20 years across 180 countries. More than IT skills training, Cisco Networking Academy is a community whose members are the students, educators, and business leaders shaping the future. The academy has served almost 8 million students. And 70% of people who complete advanced courses obtain new or better jobs, take on increased responsibilities, and earn higher pay. If Cisco Networking Academy has changed your life, you can share your story with the hashtag #NetAcad20. 

More Digital Giving Examples

While there are many worthy examples, I have selected a few organizations that embrace technology to improve how they communicate, gather donations, and distribute or use funds to help people in need.

Twitter for Social Causes

  • #GivingTuesday: Started by 92Y, a New York-based cultural and community center, and the United Nations Foundation, this initiative asked charities to use the hashtag #GivingTuesday in their call-outs for donations on the first Tuesday in December. The hashtag has amassed 3,100,000 uses since it was started in 2012.
  • #LoveWins: After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on same-sex marriage, Twitter included a rainbow heart emoji with each of the 12,800,000 mentions of the hashtag #LoveWins. The monumental decision led other social networks to create ways to let users colorfully show their support including Snapchat’s custom rainbow location-based filters and Facebook’s rainbow profile-picture filter.
  • #FuerzaMexico: During her keynote at Cisco Live Cancun, Ruba Borno, Cisco’s Vice President of Growth Initiatives and Chief of Staff to the CEO, unveiled a campaign to raise money for Habitat for Humanity Mexico. For every retweet, Cisco is donating five dollars to the organization.

(More information about these Twitter examples and others can be found in an excellent Washington Post article.)

Mobile Apps Enable a Future of Giving

Charity Miles is a mobile app that uses GPS technology to track how far users run and bike. To motivate users, the company makes a donation of 25 cents per mile for walkers and 10 cents per mile for bikers to a charity of the member’s choice. The actual donations are made by more than a dozen companies including Humana, Johnson & Johnson, Timex Sports, and Kenneth Cole.

Share the Meal is an easy-to-use mobile app from the United Nations World Food Programme that enables users to give by simply tapping on their phone. Donors can make a micropayment of 50 cents to feed a child for a day. The total number of shared meals to date has reached nearly 18.5 million.

More than 18 million meals have been shared using the Share The Meal mobile app.

Kiva Microfunds is a non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in more than 80 countries. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.

Pencils of Promise is a global organization dedicated to reshaping the landscape of education and innovation. The organization uses virtual reality (VR) technology to bring supporters, donors, and partners “directly” into classrooms in Ghana. In just eight years, Pencils of Promise has built more than 420 schools and has 74,000 students learning in its classrooms every day.

Give Today

Whether you work in the technology industry or just use today’s digital innovations, digitization has improved all of our lives. So, at this time of year when our hearts and minds turn toward helping others, please take action and give to a cause that you care about or to one of the organizations in this blog.

Share Your Stories

How has your giving changed in a digital world? Please comment with your stories so others can learn from your experiences and examples.



Kevin Bandy

No Longer with Cisco