Ask anyone who's used a hotspot — odds are they'll tell you how convenient it is to be able to connect to the Internet from practically anywhere. TechSoup works with Mobile Beacon to provide Wi-Fi hotspots to nonprofits and libraries, and our members use them in myriad ways. Interested in using some in your work? Here are a few ideas for what you can do with them.
Start a Hotspot Lending Program
Does your organization work with underserved groups? Consider starting up a hotspot lending program. With such a program, you can lend hotspots to members of your community who lack home Internet or the ability to use their cellphone as a hotspot. Many libraries already offer such programs.
Get Online While Performing Field Work
If your organization works in places that lack a Wi-Fi network, Mobile Beacon hotspots can be a boon to your staff. With a Mobile Beacon hotspot, you can get online from anywhere within Mobile Beacon's coverage area. Whether you're collecting and recording data on the health of an ecosystem or delivering food to those you serve, a hotspot can make your field work just a little easier.
Issue Them to Remote Employees
On a related note, do you have employees who work remotely, and perhaps spend a fair bit of time working from cafes? If you do, a hotspot can provide your staff with a safer alternative to using public Wi-Fi networks.
Most public Wi-Fi is open to pretty much anyone, including bad actors, so it isn't the most secure way to get online. A wireless hotspot, on the other hand, can only be connected to by intended users who have the password. That keeps potential cybercriminals out of your sensitive data and your work.
Offer Your Services from Almost Anywhere
If you offer services that require you to have Internet access at all times, a Mobile Beacon hotspot can bridge a critical gap and allow you to bring your services to your community.
For instance, libraries can use them to accept library card signups at the farmer's market or to provide access to their online collection at events. Workforce development organizations can use them to provide off-site job training. Digital literacy and ESL organizations can also use them to bring their educational services directly to their community.
Provide Internet Connectivity at Events
Are you presenting or exhibiting at an event with no reliable Wi-Fi access? You can use Mobile Beacon hotspots to provide Internet access to event attendees or patrons. For example, libraries will often use hotspots to offer Wi-Fi to patrons who visit their pop-up events or bookmobiles.
Each Mobile Beacon hotspot lets you connect up to 30 devices at a time, depending on the model. And Mobile Beacon plans include unlimited data, so you don't have to worry about unexpected data overage fees.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. But if you can imagine a way that always-on connectivity could help you carry out your mission, there's a good chance that Mobile Beacon hotspots will let you do it.
Eligible nonprofits and libraries can request Mobile Beacon hotspots for a nominal admin fee. From there, you pay Mobile Beacon $120 per year per hotspot for unlimited data. Quantity limits apply. To learn more and to request your hotspots, visit our Mobile Beacon for Nonprofits program page.