Translation And Localization: The Global Opportunity For Non-Profits

We all know that the world we live in is becoming much smaller due to technological advances. News which was previously limited to just a small local area are quickly becoming the headlines all around the world.

While many will see this as an opportunity to learn more about the world we live in, it is a far greater opportunity for those looking to expand awareness of their cause. Many assume this is the globalization of businesses, and non-profits should also take advantage of the new technology and opportunities to support their efforts.

How is global reach an opportunity for non-profits?

Locally and nationally, there is a limited pool of potential investors and sponsors that non-profits can target to request support for their community projects. This limited pool often results in lower funds; therefore, non-profits have to make tough decisions on who can or cannot receive their support. 

By having an international audience on the global stage, non-profits can discover more sponsors and donors who can help non-profits help more people. An international presence also helps non-profits achieve their goals and secure their futures since many non-profits are currently experiencing some threats to their continuation. These threats include:

  • loss of legitimacy
  • fiscal stresses
  • increased demand
  • increased competition
  • pressure to perform
  • human resources

Has non-profit globalization worked before?

The global response to requests for support from international non-profits has always been positive, and there have been several successful campaigns. For instance, in 2014/2015 there was the Ashley King episode where his brain tumor was treated in a hospital in Prague when the UK healthcare system refused to offer him a specific treatment. To get that treatment, King’s parents stole their son from the hospital and took him to Spain for care. After the news broke, offers for support for the family came flooding in. The boy’s parents also had the kidnapping charges against them dropped.

On a smaller scale, Wounded Warriors in the US helps veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan to achieve a semi-normal life. To support veterans, Wounded Warriors seek support from volunteers throughout the United States and internationally.

Finally, globalization can help charities even if they have limited contact with potential sponsors. Colchester Zoo in the UK was the surprise recipient of numerous animals to add to their collection, and funds for their charity from a Japanese collector who passed away in his native land. The biggest impact of this donation was the creation of a new Koi Garden.

Translation and localization for non-profits

There are numerous opportunities for non-profits to go global; however, with opportunity comes obstacles. A language barrier is one of the obstacles that a non-profit may encounter when spreading their message and raising awareness. Some common areas that non-profits use translation and localization services for include:

  • website localization
  • brochure translation
  • social media localization
  • eLearning localization

In order to ensure that its message reaches as many people as possible, the resources a non-profit uses should be translated into the language of the target country.

Another obstacle that non-profits often deal with when targeting a global audience is the possibility of a culture clash. It is important that local values and customs are taken into account when non-profits are sending their message to audiences across the globe. If non-profits fail to research the markets they wish to target, a mismatch of cultural expectations may occur. This can devalue the opportunity, and turn it into a lost cause. To avoid a cultural mismatch, translation and localization services are frequently used to support globalization efforts.


Non-profits are being asked to do more with less which is draining the financial resources that they need to fund their community projects. To combat this, non-profits need to take advantage of the many opportunities presented by modern technology. This will only be successful if non-profit organizations use translation and localization to match the cultural values of their new audiences with their message.