Workplace technology ethics made the news this year. Is your org thinking about its standards and practices? Image: Creative Commons; chromaphile.

In the news: the ethics of tech in 2018

Privacy issues, transparency questions and data breaches from major tech companies made big headlines in 2018. As a result, many nonprofit organizations may be addressing or questioning their ethical standards and practices. Here are a few articles to help consider your own workplace technology’s power, capabilities, and consequences.

Is ethical tech a farce?

Tech nonprofits have the advantage, says Shannon Whitley of Fast Forward. “Rather than building products that satisfy animalistic behavior, from screen addiction to fear mongering, tech nonprofits are building technology to fill gaps in basic human needs—education, human rights, healthcare… Tech nonprofits are building tech products that serve customers where markets have failed.”

Where is the ethical tech?

Writer Lauren Coulman examines recent missteps of major for-profit tech companies, and shares how some tech organizations are finding ways to bake ethics into their business model. “We need to look beyond the social band-aids to how tech can enable equal opportunity and acceptance,” says Coleman.

How to survive the next era of tech

Journalist Farhad Manjoo offers advice for users of technology as he reflects on recent industry changes and what’s to come. “Before you dive into any new doodad, consider a company’s ethics, morals, branding and messaging. If you aren’t comfortable, look to alternatives.” In our rapidly-changing tech landscape, Manjoo reminds us to “just slow down.”

Restoring public trust in nonprofits

Dan Cardinali writes that some organizations’ widely-publicized misdeeds this year illustrate the need for nonprofits to preserve the public’s trust. His article includes “33 Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice,” and advocates for nonprofit workers to speak out against ethical violations. “Especially in this holiday season of giving, donors want assurance that their charitable contributions support worthy causes and are not being used for improper activities.”

What do you see at your nonprofit?

Interested to share your thoughts, or recommend a good read on this topic? Post your comments on ethics in nonprofit tech to our Discuss Community board, tweet us @ntenorg, and if you’re feeling particularly passionate and insightful, email to submit an article. We’d love to hear from you!

Erin Adams
Originally from North Carolina, Erin has more than 15 years of experience in multi-platform communications, non-profit marketing, fundraising and membership, and print journalism. She believes in the power of stories (and food) to bring people together. She's lived and worked in Asheville, NC, Nashville, TN, the DC/Maryland area, and Charlotte, NC, prior to moving to the Portland, OR area.