We held our August meetup in the sunny conference room at Jewish Residential Services. Thank you to Paula, Harold and the rest of the JRS staff for hosting us! We will return to JRS for our September 7 meetup, then it’s off to ACHIEVA for October and November.
P.S. TechNow 2016 Conference registration is open and early bird rates are active! Register by September 30 to get the best rate!
Here are the notes from this month’s meetup:
Adding Search to Website
Technology Challenges Faced by New Nonprofits (and Some Suggested Solutions)
NP Tech Skill Set
Custom Software vs. Off-The-Shelf Software
- Hybrid is best- off the shelf that can be customized
- Example: want to process volunteer applications via the web
- Upload PDFs/scans, etc.
- Portal on website
- WordPress Visual Form Builder plugin
- If WordPress site, turn off Google indexing of PDFs in media library by editing robots.txt file
- Spiceworks – network monitoring, management, help desk ticketing and inventory – has concierge service and is free
Finding Nonprofit Tech Jobs
Additional Resources (Shared by Attendees Post-meeting)
About Bagels & Bytes & Critters
We held our second annual summer meetup, “Bagels & Bytes & Critters,” on June 1 at the Animal Rescue League. During our meeting, we had a visitor (see pics below) named Elvis, who is frisky, fun, 6 years old and available for adoption!
We are so grateful to Dan Rossi, ARL’s executive director, and to all of their staff for hosting us again this year!
Enjoy these photos, which are followed by the notes and resources from the meeting. (And get in touch with ARL if you’d like to adopt Elvis!)
Meeting Photos (click any photo to open gallery mode)
Photo Credit: Heather Vallone
Photo Credit: Nicole DeVault
Photo Credit: Heather Vallone
Photo Credit: Heather Vallone
Photo Credit: Nicole DeVault
Photo Credit: Cindy Leonard
Photo credit: Nicole DeVault
Photo credit: Nicole DeVault
Photo Credit: Heather Vallone
Meeting Notes and Resources
- Johna brought us a copy of a new report by Allegheny Conference on Community Development entitled: “Inflection Point: Supply, Demand and the Future of Work in the Pittsburgh Region” – among other findings, it reports that our local workplace shortage could hit 80,000 by 2025.
- We then had an informal discussion about network architecture and options – someone in the group is upgrading soon and asked for ideas and equipment options.
Generational Gap in Technology Usage
- A member observed that the generation graduating from high school right now mostly knows the tech they have learned in school to do necessary tasks (write papers, etc.) and communication tools related to their smart phones. We shouldn’t necessarily assume they know how to use other kinds of tech. Even if they pick it up fast, training will still be necessary in the workplace.
- Another attitude difference – older techies seem to have more curiosity about how things work – the inner workings of tech – while the younger ones don’t seem to understand and also don’t care. They want tech to work well, be flexible and powerful, but not have to deal with the guts of things.
- Random item of interest – someone mentioned an NPR story about how someone recently translated the entire Christian Bible into emojis.
Collaboration / Productivity Software
- Real-time collaboration is now possible in Office 2013/2016 (Word/Excel, etc.) desktop versions. You need SharePoint if you want more than a few people working on a doc or spreadsheet at one time. There’s now a chat feature built in too.
- Google Drive has had real-time collaboration capabilities for years. Someone asked about HIPAA compliance with Google Drive/Apps. Yes – there is a version that is fully HIPAA-compliant. It is encrypted and exempts your organization from automatic participation in Google’s data mining. (Yes, Google mines everyone’s data.)
- Someone asked: how is Windows 10 being received?
- Seems to be fairly okay – some agencies have upgraded, some are still trying to prevent the auto-upgrade from turning on in the notification tray. There is concern that some programs and devices may not work upon upgrading to Win 10.
- Orgs need to be careful with some hardware manufacturers – some have fine print on their equipment that they won’t support it if you upgrade to Windows 10.
- If you want to stop the prompts to upgrade, you have a few options. You could remove Windows Update #30355803. You could also try a free program like GWX Control Panel, which is a more permanent blocking solution for that update.
- It was noted that you need more memory to run Windows 10. 6 GB is the minimum generally agreed upon by the group, even though MS’s specs state 4 GB minimum.
B&B attendees discussing tech in the Frick’s Community Room
This month was our second and final meetup at the Frick Art & Historical Center for this year. The weather remained lovely and the Frick grounds were in their spring glory!
Next month we will have our special summer meetup, Bagels & Bytes & Critters, on June 1 (8:30-10 AM) at the Animal Rescue League. We will have our usual meeting (probably joined by a puppy or kitten) followed by a tour of the facility.
Here are the notes and resources from the May meetup:
Working with Tech Vendors
This month’s prize winners!
- Constant calls
- Not having real operators at the first support level
- Invites for sales appointments or demos that are automatically added to the calendar
- Signing us up (without asking) for the email or mailing list after contact
- Adaptability – NPOs are not one size fits all
- Vendor websites with plenty of information so we can do our research beforehand (make it possible to get info without having to call or email someone).
- A real understanding of the nonprofit market
- Doing one’s homework about the organization via the web before getting in touch
- Tech support that is quick to react and has retained a history of the organization, so can be on the same page regardless of who is handling the call
Email Hacking and Spoofing
- Strong passwords are crucial
- Spoofing can look like your email was hacked, but is slightly different (read more…)
- Have internal controls so fake approval requests (for example, a request for a wire transfer of money) cannot happen easily
- Have a password policy (see below – we discussed in more detail later in the meeting)
Cyber Security Insurance
- Generally added as a rider to the regular insurance contract
- Depending on how it’s written, covers lawsuit costs if hacked, data compromised, etc.
- Also covers public relations expenses, which are typically the biggest cost of all (public perception trumps who’s actually at fault – this is reputation management)
- Every state has different regulations on coverage
- Even if your software and data are in the cloud with a third-party provider, you still might have risk and liability
- It’s easier than you think for thieves to steal your data – just watch this video from 60 Minutes about phone hacking (Thanks, Johna!)
- Remember that most photocopiers have a hard drive in them that retain file data from scans, etc. Factory reset doesn’t wipe that data – be sure that the place that recycles your copier properly wipes the drive (you can also do it yourself – either take out the hard drive (if older) or use a USB connection)
- What is in place and needed depends on the organization
- You can require and enforce character types, length, frequency of changes, etc.
- Sometimes 2 step verification is possible
- Ultimately, you have to train the users – the best password policy in the world can’t prevent someone from writing down the password on a post-it note and putting it under their keyboard (people are always the weakest link in tech security)
- Also must consider saved browser profiles, which may contain passwords and form data. Chrome in particular is bad for this – cleaning the passwords from the cache doesn’t erase them for other users on the same machine
- There are a number of good password managers available: myPassword, LastPass
Local Salesforce Vendors
Request for Proposals (RFPs)
- Love/hate relationship on all levels
- Sometimes still necessary
- The response time and type from a vendor can tell you a lot about that vendor
- Nonprofits can help vendors by being flexible and willing to talk to orgs about solutions – most orgs need someone who will help improve business processes, not just replace the systems they already have in place
EMV Chips on Credit Cards (and Credit Card Processing Machines)
- Was supposed to have been mandatory by a certain date
- Liability has shifted since October 2015, so some retailers are refusing to implement. Johna sent this information, which was released in Allegheny Conference’s recent newsletter: “Businesses that accept credit cards for point-of-sale transactions need to know about new rules regarding credit cards. As of late last year, merchants who don’t upgrade their credit card terminals to accept new EMV “chip” cards may be liable for fraudulent transactions.”
Sam’s Club Grants
- The local WordPress users group is hosting their first ever WordCamp Pittsburgh – a one day event for WP users of all levels – on September 17. Visit the event website for details
- Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) is hosting a number of recycling events this year, the first was on May 14 at the Pittsburgh Mills Galleria, with more to come over the summer. These events bring together recyclers of all types of materials, including technology and electronics, into one place (only event where you can recycle TVs locally too) (Thanks, Nicole!)
Photo credit: Frick Art & Historical Center
This month, we are grateful to Linda Buker and the Frick Art & Historical Center for hosting us in the Frick’s new Community Room just off the Car & Carriage Museum!
I totally forgot to take photos at the meeting (the discussion was engaging!), so here’s an outside photo of the building taken from the museum’s corporate rentals brochure.
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meetup. We’ll be back at the Frick on May 4 for our next meetup.
Age affecting tech usage in nonprofits
- Younger folks “get” the concepts (ex: cloud computing) more easily because they are digital natives
- There are notable social differences – not unusual to see two young people sitting four feet away from each other and chatting on their phones instead of talking
- Younger generation also:
- tends to have a faster response time
- mixes personal and work
- wants work-at-home and flexible scheduling
Time tracking and the upcoming changes to FLSA law regarding exempt/non-exempt staff
- The question: how does your organization currently track staff time (if at all)?
- Random audits / time samplings
- “Lawyer’s Timekeeper” software if need minute by minute tracking
- Sage/Schneider Downs software
- Sentric software
- RescueTime software
- ADP app – clock in through cellphone app, which is connected to GPS so you can’t fib
- Is there a trust issue at play here? Outside of the new law requirements, should we be tracking time or watching the levels of staff productivity?
- It’s important to be consistent with policies on remote working and work flexibility
Other items discussed
Note from CL: I owe a huge thank you to the group for stepping up to self-manage the meetup in my absence! Extra, extra thanks to Rebekah Jenkins and the Grow Pgh staff, not only for hosting us, but for picking up the breakfast food too. I’m so grateful and touched by the aspect of “community” that we have in our group. You all rock!
Next month we will be having our meetup at the Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze on Wednesday, 4/6. I hope to see you there!
Here are the notes and resources from the meeting (thanks Nicole and Heather!):
- Discussed a BYOD problem Johna is having
- Discussed a Office 2013 issue with deleting a recurring appt that then dupes itself
Disposing of Old Equipment
- Computer Reach – recycling for anything but CRT monitors, they re-image them to Linux OS for redistributing to other orgs (small fee applies for wiping drives)
- DBAN program – for wiping drives
- YUMI – turn a flash drive into a Boot Device
- will check all partitions
- Best to have same AV software on all equipment for ease of maintenance to serve out updates
- No McAfee
- Norton (cloud based, good price through Techsoup)
- Symantec ($4/license, can clas with Spiceworks and other software)
- Avast (free AV)
- Avira (free AV)
- ClamWin (free, open source AV)
- ESET (good for Windows OS updates and AV)
Internet in the Field
- phone tether vs hotspot vs tablet with data
- Tether to cell and reimburse?
- Mobile app – enter the info offline then synchronize?
- Voice dictation in Google Docs?
- Chromebook – can split between Gmail logins but need wifi
- Add as tether ($10 on Verizon)
- Firefox, other programs will tether outside the phone
Policy re: Encryption
- Should company sponsored cell phones have encryption?
- Formatting into partitions w/encryption
Document Sharing in Real Time
- Google Drive vs secure intranet (Drive is real time, local server would have file locking occurring)
- Egnyte – cloud-based server with apps or in browser
- 2 people in the local file on a shared drive can corrupt the file
Encrypted Flash Drives
- Use an app or can buy some with encrypted options
- Some external drives are encrypted (some numeric and some biometric) of the hardware (not the software)
- Enclosure also that takes any laptop drive
Moving Email to the Cloud
- Moving email to Google or Office 365 can cut IT costs $100K to $60K.
- Include data migration if you go Exchange to cloud
- Ask if you can migrate email yourself
For the first meetup of the new year, we went to a new location: Grow Pittsburgh in the East End. A big “thank you” to Rebekkah and the GP staff for hosting us this month!
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meetup:
Random resources and links
This month’s winners of NTEN swag!
- Other local tech meetup groups
- Recent Apple press release – working on long range wireless charging for devices
- KDKA story about devices, including a suitcase that will power all of your devices (the story has been removed, but here’s a link to bluesmart, the maker of “the most powerful carry-on in the world”)
- What to use for selling items and service online (integrations)
Fair Market Value
- Got into a discussion about deducting FMV from tickets or auctioned items
- Some software assists with this process and generates the proper receipts and some does not
- Can get fined for not giving FMV receipts
- Learn more about FMV at IRS.gov
Sources of Data About Nonprofits
- How long should you hold onto old equipment in order to retrieve older data from it (example: SCSI drives and servers that can handle them)?
- Sometimes, if you really need the backup, you have to purchase duplicates of the equipment in question and keep in the closet “just in case”
- Better to migrate data to a newer and/or cloud-based system
- Communication between IT and end users is crucial when considering upgrades
Where to Find Technology Help
We had a great time at our Bagels & Bytes Holiday Party meetup this year! There was informal technology discussion, socializing, great food and we exchanged white elephant gifts. Afterwards, we went into the gaming room to see if we could conduct a virtual bowling tournament again, but alas, they removed the game. We did a ski-ball tourney instead.
Photos from the event are below. Please remember that we have no January meetup. The next meetup will be Wednesday, Feb. 3, 8:30-10 AM, at Grow Pittsburgh.
Group selfie after the gift exchange (Thanks, Heather!)
Joe was a little excited about winning at ski-ball. (Just a little.🙂
Johna hands Joe his prize as Debbie looks on!