We had a great meetup at ACHIEVA earlier this month! Thank you to Nicole and the staff there for hosting us!
Our next meeting is in the same location on Wednesday, November 1, 8:30 – 10 am. Be sure to also mark your calendar for the December B&B Holiday
Party Meetup at Dave & Busters on Friday, December 8 from 1 – 4 pm. Lunch meeting, followed by a Techie White Elephant gift exchange, then some gaming, including our annual skee-ball contest!
Here are the notes and resources from this month:
When IT is kept out of the loop
- Sometimes tech staff are deliberately or inadvertently kept out of the loop on IT-related decisions (example: when HR staff choose a Human Resources Information System (HRIS) and don’t involve tech staff)
- One theory is that IT represents a large expense in an organization and not involving tech staff keeps costs down.
- Another theory is it simply boils down to organizational politics.
Why should passwords be changed frequently?
- Is every 90 days too often?
- The network admins in our group don’t think so.
- Financial auditors will actually recommend changing passwords more frequently, such as every 60 days.
Can you over-customize a database?
- Ask yourself, is the database overly complex because it needs to be or is it because business processes are overly complicated and affecting workflows in the database accordingly.
- An interesting exercise – think about what CRM you would go with if yours blew up tomorrow and was permanently un-usable.
- Fractured systems are the worst thing of all to deal with.
Software resources mentioned
- Paycom – newer company doing HRIS/payroll software.
- Mass email tools:
- Vertical Response – good nonprofit rates (first 10K emails per month are free) but gets blacklisted a lot.
- Constant Contact – costs more per month, but does have nonprofit pricing. Get a discount for paying for the whole year in advance. Doesn’t get blacklisted as often. Integrates with Salesforce, including the new Lightning interface.
- MailChimp – good and not too expensive. Doesn’t get blacklisted as often. Does not integrate well with Salesforce Lightning interface.
- Emma – possibly most costly of all, but also has the most features for marketing and fundraising included.
- Google Groups – not necessarily a mass email tool, but can do group messaging with it.
- Click Dimensions – works with MS Dynamics CRM in particular.
About the Meetup
This was our last visit to Jewish Residential Services for this year. (A big thank you to Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us!!) Next month, we will be back at ACHIEVA in the South Side on Oct. 4.
If you’ve not signed up for the 2017 TechNow conference yet, be sure to do it within the next 2 weeks, before the price goes up! www.technowconference.org
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:
Expense report software
- Concur – $1,000/month; need web connector
- Expensify – cannot bill against grants, but does have a QuickBooks connector available; $9/user/month
- Lots of people are still processing expense reports via spreadsheets
- Unit4 – variety of functions, payroll, expenses, etc.
- ADP – has an expense report module called RUN
- MITC tracks payroll and HR related items
Phone conferencing/bridge tools
- One attendee looking at Zoom; less expensive than GotoMeeting; saves meetings to the cloud; price based on # of participants
- Skype is another option, but sometimes board and staff struggle with using it
- WebEx – similar package; stores all meetings so anyone can login and view them
- Recommend regardless of software choice – set up some “practice” meetings prior to any important meetings (like staff or board meetings) to let people join the online meeting and work out tech bugs, get accustomed to the interface, etc.
- Another recommendation is to mute participants on really large meetings so less background noise.
Rolling Out a New Database
- Training is crucial
- Walkthough all aspects of the database
- In the first training session, go over the basics; then go deeper in subsequent sessions
- List of procedures is a good idea – someone said “list the chapters of the book you’re going to write” meaning at least establish the headings you will need for your training/documentation/manual
- Roll out training to power users first
- Consider who will be doing the training – not everyone is a trainer, even if they are savvy about the software
- Have trainees help write the user manual
- Build the training manual as if the person reading it know nothing about the software
- For Salesforce in particular, you can set up a practice sandbox that is a replica of the exact real database
Billing to Allegheny County
- An interest was expressed by multiple people for batch billing software that works with Allegheny County’s billing system
- None exists that anyone can think of
Google for Nonprofits
We held our last regular meetup of 2016 at ACHIEVA in the South Side. Thank you to Nicole, Steve, Dave and the rest of their staff for hosting us!
Our next meetup will be the Bagels & Bytes Holiday Party at Dave & Buster’s on Friday, 12/9 from 1-4 pm. As in the past, we will have our regular meeting in the dining area (each person buys his or her own meal and Cindy will get some appetizers for all), have a “techie white elephant” gift exchange and then go play some games. A reminder email will be coming out within a week or so.
Here are the notes from November’s meetup:
- Backups are critical
- There’s typically a time period of 120 days from the time something happens until the time it is discovered
- Backups should not by attached or kept close to the main data server or source – need to store copies off-site
- Have a social media policy to combat potential info security compromises in that area – nothing is truly private on social tools
Programs Related to Technology that Employ (or Engage as Volunteers) People with Disabilities & Veterans
- Dave Tinker mentioned a program that ACHIEVA is doing in conjunction with CMU for their residents to perform microjobs online
- Cycle Point (part of Source America and partners with Goodwill of SWPA) employs people with disabilities and veterans (located in DC)
- Computer Reach particularly is interested in finding veterans to volunteer at their org
Salesforce Database Conversions (What to Expect)
- All data gets put into spreadsheets and is then cleaned (usually by the organization not the vendor)
- Lot of effort to go through an implementation like this, but well worth it in the long run
- Best to keep the same vendor contact during the entire implementation process if possible
- There is a learning curve involved but it’s great once everyone is trained and things are up and running properly
- Cool plugin for Salesforce is Gridbuddy – it makes the database display data in spreadsheet format
- There’s an annual conference called Dreamforce
- Katie Gascoine shared a local Salesforce-related event called Dreamforce Comes to You (#DFC2U) that happened on Nov. 14 (sorry I didn’t post this in time!)
AFP National Philanthropy Day
- Example/question given was about an organization moving from paper forms being entered in database to direct entry of data (and the resistance being encountered by staff and volunteers)
- Training is essential
- Important to get buy-in from staff and volunteers, preferably before rolling out a change
- Need support from management – they have to have your back and hold staff/volunteer accountable for making the necessary changes
- Can also gamify or incentivize the change – figure out a way to make it fun
Other Items of Interest
We met this month at ACHIEVA in the South Side. Thank you to Steve, Nicole and Dave for hosting us! We’ll be back at ACHIEVA for November’s meetup.
Here are the notes from this month’s meetup:
- Schneider Downs – does security updates via email
- Cars can be hacked
- Cybersecurity insurance
- Cybersecurity conferences
- Website hacking / security – how do you secure your website from hackers?
- MS Office – no more clipart
- Get images from Bing.com now
- Have to watch for viruses when getting images off the web
Databases for nonprofits
Mobile Internet Hardware
- How to get Internet when working in places without it or when travelling abroad?
- Mobile hotspots or devices that provide wi-fi
- Verizon Jetpack (can get global plans)
- Connect 10 users to one and devices can talk to each other
- Data plan required
- Verizon has nonprofit flat rate for NPOs, unlimited data, domestic only
- Can buy SIM card, swap out, use that country’s domestic plan while traveling
- T-Mobile 2G (unlimited international data)
- Satelite wi-fi
- When build websites
- Have to consider slow internet
- Consider audience
- Google Fiber – setting up in cities where city owns infrastructure
We held our September meetup at Jewish Residential Services again this month. We appreciate Paula and the JRS staff for hosting us! Next month we go to ACHIEVA in the South Side, Oct. 5, 8:30 am start time.
A quick reminder that TechNow conference registration is still in Early Bird mode until September 30. If you need to register, be sure to do it in the upcoming week to get the best price!
Here are the notes and resources from this month’s meeting:
- Going rate for content updates $50-150 – depends on speed of person and hourly rate
- For DIY updates, try free Easy Updates Manager plugin
- We discussed best practices for finding a developer
- Response time
- Price point
- Ongoing costs
- SNOM phone system – full service network, nice phones, less admin features than you’d expect
- Brokers (for usage analysis and recommendations, can generally get your costs reduced)
- VoIP Phones (fairly standard these days)
- UX5000 by Advanced Communication
- Google Grants – Need to be a 501(c)(3) with valid website
- Give you access to:
- Google Apps
- $10K/month in Adwords (don’t have to use it all)
- Some requirements for ads (no video, for example) (can’t just ask for money)
- Promote events, etc
- Have to login quarterly to make sure till active (& ads still relevant)
- Can use keywords/targeted words
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)
For October, we were pleased to hold our meetup at ACHIEVA on the South Side. Thank you to Steve, Nicole and Dave for hosting us! Our next meeting will be held at the same location on November 4. In the meantime, we hope to see everyone at the TechNow Conference on Oct. 29!
Here are the notes and resources from the meeting:
Upgrading Windows software
- 2003 server upgrades possible (general consensus was “yes”)
- Windows 10 upgrades not very easy (some 3rd party software not doing well on it)
- For adding phones in Google Apps, there’s an app (Google Device Policy) that you can add to devices that connects with your Google admin page – providing a way to control device connection to services
- BYOD policy? Some have, some don’t – varies on the level of access given
Password management system
Office 2016 (and other productivity software)
- Outlook is less “white” and more “gray”
- MS is moving this package to just being called “Office” with no version number in the title
- Pushing Office 365 + Sharepoint server right now
- A preview video is available
- Other (free) alternatives include:
- People tend to resist change and to resort to software with which they are already familiar, so it may take some work to get your org to move away from Office to one of the free equivalents
- Largest risk to data is still employees – accidental or purposeful
- Frequently the ball is dropped between HR and IT, in the sense that IT isn’t notified immediately if someone leaves the organization
Advice for new “accidental” techies
- Don’t feel like you have to know everything
- Don’t expect kudos – you won’t hear so much when things are going well, but when something breaks…
- You have to like to solve mysteries or puzzles
- You need an appreciation and tolerance for lifelong learning
- Users can be very obstinate (machines are easy, users are less so)
- IT is a people business
- Users are the weakest link – don’t enable users who refuse to read instructions
- Find a good stream of tech information and absorb slowly – can’t learn everything at once – 2 hours a week of continued learning is probably sufficient