google-glass-1Yesterday, Google announced a new program, “Giving Through Glass,” that will have five nonprofits use its exclusive Google Glass product to promote transparency and offer insight into the organizations' everyday work -- an intriguing project that could offer a guide for other nonprofits out there.

The World Wildlife Fund, Samasource, GiveDirectly, DoSomething!, and charity: water are the five chosen nonprofits to receive the very exclusive product from Google.

We’ve seen all of these organizations do some great work, so it should be very interesting to get a peek inside some of the projects their working on and what they may be able to teach other organizations about spreading awareness of their causes and campaigns.

What Is Google Glass?

For those unfamiliar with the device, Google Glass is essentially a wearable computer that looks like a somewhat-futuristic pair of glasses -- and with no glass, ironically. You're able to do a number of impressive things with Google Glass, including:

  • Take pictures
  • Record videos
  • Share what you're seeing live through Google Hangouts
  • Get directions right in front of you
  • Speak to send messages to your contacts
  • Ask questions and receive instant answers
  • Translate your words into any language
  • Access Google search

While the five nonprofits haven't revealed how they intend to use Google Glass, the program is still in its early stages. So, we took this opportunity to come up with some ideas as to how nonprofits can utilize Google Glass to spread awareness of their campaigns and causes.

1) Share videos and images from the field.

There are a lot of different devices you can use in the field to capture images and videos, but what if it came right from your perspective, in real-time, as if through your own eyes?

The perspective of Google Glass can make it seem like viewers are actually in the field or on the project site. It's a great way to give your supporters the feeling of being there with you, helping to make a difference. 

2) Have a volunteer walk through a project site or an event over a Google Hangout.

With the unique ability to share what you are viewing through Google Glass, showing those images and videos in Google Hangouts could open up the opportunity to share your work first-hand with supporters. You can set a specific time and date when the hangout will take place and even make it an exclusive event. 

3) Connect your supporters with the people they help through a Google Hangout.

Nonprofits like charity: water use Instagram to share images and videos from their trips to the villages they provide clean water every year. But imagine if the donors and fundraisers that helped one specific village could virtually hangout with the people they've helped?

Hosting a Google Hangout through Google Glass to connect the people helped virtually to those who made contributions would change "social proof" forever.

4) Have a staff member record their day at your nonprofit's office.

This would give great insight into the day-to-day work of a nonprofit staff member. Having them record a video of their day at work could also make for a great time-lapse video to share with everyone on social media (see their entire workday in a minute or two).

Doing this can show your supporters the type of people working for the organization, what the work environment is like, and how much energy they put into the jobs -- all of which can potentially inspire others to join or contribute to the organization in some manner.

Additionally, this could show other nonprofits how forward-thinking organizations function and make decisions, which can set examples for them.

5) Empower your volunteers to communicate in local languages with the translation tool.

The translation tool could open up communication between staff members and volunteers in foreign countries with the local people. The ability to translate your words through Google Glass could eliminate the need for a translator and possibly create a deeper connection between volunteers and local villages.

6) Have a board member wear them during a portion of your board meeting.

Promoting transparency from the top down is important. So imagine being able to see and hear what it's like to be at a nonprofit's board meeting?

This could be for just a portion of the meeting, as some nonprofits hold their work near and dear to their hearts. But understanding how decisions are made and who makes them really breaks down the walls of a nonprofit to the public.

7) Have someone receiving aid from your organization record a video before and after help is given.

Showing the impact of your organization's work compared to how conditions were prior to aid could be a great idea too, as it'd give current and prospective supporters a clear idea of just how much change was made.

While donors hear a lot about how bad things are in third-world countries, they oftentimes don't see the effects of their contribution or results of volunteer work. Thus, showing the before and after from the perspective of those impacted would shift who's telling the story from the nonprofit to the person whose life is changed forever.

How would your organization use Google Glass to promote transparency? Share how you would use the device below!

Image credit: Ted Eytan

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Originally published Oct 25, 2013 4:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017


Nonprofit Marketing