Technology

Nonprofit Operations Wiki

Today was the second Nonprofit Operations Brown Bag Lunch discussion. The topic we discussed today was Risk Management. It was interesting to learn about all the different types of risk there is within any nonprofit.

Notes from this discussion as well as the first discussion about Mass E-mail for Nonprofits can be found in the wiki that I created. If you are interested you can log on to the Nonprofit Operations wiki and add resources and or nonprofit operations suggestions. I created the wiki so that folks who are not able to attend the Nonprofit Operations Brown Bag Lunch discussions can still participate and read the notes from the discussions. 


Wireless for Everyone

After attending NTEN's event-"No Strings Attached: How Municipal Wireless will change the way you create social change." I was reminded of the time that I was working at my previous nonprofit and my IT consultant helped me install a router that gave us the ability to have wireless throughout the entire office. This was a huge deal for us to get wireless!

Imagine this on a much larger scale--wireless that everyone can access. The folks at San Francisco Tech Connect are trying to create city wide wireless here in SF. How does this relate to Nonprofit Operations? Imagine all the things that nonprofits will be able to do with city wide wireless.

Brown Bag Lunch Discussion-Mass E-mail for Nonprofits

Wednesday we had the first nonprofit operations brown bag lunch discussion here at the Tech Center--which I think went really well.

The topic that everyone wanted to talk about was nonprofits sending out mass e-mails to their clients, constituents or donors. 

John Kenyon a technology consultant participated in the discussion and provided some helpful examples of affordable mass e-mail providers for nonprofits:

We also discussed how sending out mass e-mails by your regular e-mail provider is not recommended. The general progression that nonprofits seem to follow is, first they use a free e-mail service first like Google groups, then progress to something that costs $15-$20 a month, like Email now or NPO Groups, and then if the nonprofit wants additional features like a database then they choose something like CiviCRM or Democracy in Action.

Event Planning for Nonprofits

Another question that came up during my presentation at Craigslist boot camp was, "How do I find those event planning templates that you talk about during your 10 Nonprofit Operations Success Steps?" Well here they are...

Aspiration has become fairly well known in the nonprofit tech world for our unique event planning and facilitation methods. I think it helps that we have Allen Gunn a super and amazing facilitator leading our organization. (I'm not biased, really I'm not :) Anyway, we have created a set of event planning templates and materials so we can easily replicate our events. Nonprofits and Foundations even hire us to plan and facilitate events for them and its a lot of fun since we have streamlined the process.

Common Software Tools for Nonprofits

Yesterday I presented, "How to Improve your Nonprofit Operations in Under Two Months" at the Craigslist Foundation's Nonprofit Bootcamp.  It was a great event and in future blog posts I will share what I learned in the sessions that I attended.

I received a lot of questions during my session that I wasn't able to answer because I was pressed for time. One question that came up over and over again was, What are common software tools that nonprofits should be using for operations?

This is a tough question for me to answer because I don't want to offend any nonprofit software vendor for not using their tools. There are so many great tools out there! Also, because every nonprofit is different I think that every nonprofit needs to find the best software tools that work for them and go through a software selection process. I took at a variety of sources when choosing software like Idealware which provides nonprofit software reviews.

Working with Vendors/Consultants/Contractors

I have worked with a lot of vendors/consultants/contractors ranging from Copy Machine vendors, phone/wiring vendors,  to accountants, web designers, and more. So I thought I'd write a post about 4 steps I follow when working with vendors.

1. When researching vendors I get multiple quotes to make a comparison of prices and services and always ask for a list of nonprofit specific client references. Then I call the references. A lot of vendors say they work with nonprofits, however I like to verify that they have many nonprofit clients and those clients are happy with their work.

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