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 met at Jewish Residential Services in the Rodef Shalom Congregation building. A big “thank you” to Paula and the JRS team for hosting us!!
We will meet there once again on Wednesday, September 6 from 8:30 – 10 am. See the sidebar to the right for ways to register.
Here are the topics and resources discussed during this month’s meeting:
- CRM for Nonprofits (Constituent/Client/Customer Relationship Management)
- Sharing Documents with People External to Your Organization
- Salesforce Resources
- Migrating to Google Drive
- Outlook + Sharepoint Desktop Version vs. 365
- Permissions have been a persistent issue for some
- Training is a constant issue
- User acceptance can be slow
- 365 is more difficult to understand – the cloud and file sharing aspects of it
- Files get saved over if don’t change file names from version to version
- Can embed a Google Calendar inside of Sharepoint
- Are we pushing older workers out by all these upgrades in tech?
- What about outsourcing to the cloud completely?
- Internet bandwidth must be sufficient to do true virtualization
- Off-site hosting is more $ for service, less $ for backups, maintenance, licensing
- JENLOR is one local company that does virtualization
- Office 365 is on TechSoup
- LaserJet 401 Troubleshooting
- Old printer, but hates to get rid of it because has been a workhorse till now
- Won’t print graphics, only text
- Maybe is an issue with Windows security?
- Perhaps an issue with a recent Windows update?
- Where to e-cycle if decide to ditch it?
- Listserv Usage
- Reminds us of VCR tapes and DOS
- Mass email marketing tools if wanting to do one-to-many messaging (like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp)
- Group tools if want members to message each other and the group at large (Facebook, Google or Linked group)
About the June Meetup
We had a great time visiting Computer Reach on June 7! It was pretty cool seeing their facility and learning more about the organization. A big thank you to the Computer Reach staff for hosting us and to Shawn for telling us about their programs and for the Linux demo!
We have no meetup in July and will resume our regular schedule on Wednesday, August 2 at Jewish Residential Services at Rodef Shalom. Have a good summer!
Here are the notes and resources from this meetup:
- Clonezilla to put Linux image on networked machines
- There are hundreds of versions of Linux, a lot are command line
- “Ubuntu” version – looks like a Mac, functions like a PC
- “Mint” – works like Windows
- Some better for low resource machines
- Could set up a computer as a dual boot for experimenting (try EaseUS for partitioning)
- Libre Office for productivity (can convert back and forth from MS Office)
- Computer Reach accepts donations from schools, companies, colleges
- Re-images and sends to countries to bridge digital divide
- Wipes them before shipping – talk to Dave about certificates for wiping
- Especially need laptop power cords and monitors right now
- Goodwill no longer recycles tech
- Salvation Army and Evolution do accept tech to recycle
- Westmoreland Cleanways has free e-cycling if you feel like making a trip to Greensburg
- Better to host on-site or offsite?
- Several group members host offsite (vendor Full Service Network was mentioned
- connecTel – telecom broker – will do research for NPOs, no charge to the organization
- Need good Internet speed
- Expect some downtime on implementation
- To keep service up all the time, have backup Internet
Security System Upgrades
- Video call box on door where can dial extension of people meeting with
- Full Service Network Installs this
About the May Meetup
We had a great meetup at the Frick Art & Historical Center on May 3! Many new faces and lots to discuss. A big “thank you” to Linda and the Frick staff for hosting us! Next month we will be at Computer Reach for our “Open Source Summer Fiesta” meetup, where we will have our usual meeting and spend some time receiving a demo of open source software and a tour of Computer Reach’s facility. Mark your calendar for June 7!
Here are the notes and resources from this meetup:
- An attendee Googled their organization’s name recently, only to learn that their Force.com site was set up improperly and that their entire database was open for the world to access. Warned the rest of us that Force.com should not be set up as the main CRM tool for an organization and that when used along with core Salesforce, should still be made secure and be given 2 factor authentication.
- If implementation goes poorly (as mentioned above), document, document, document. Also have cybersecurity insurance in place in case records are accidentally hacked or released and the organization faces a lawsuit.
- See if old sites are on the Google Wayback Machine, which is like a cache for websites.
- Local implementers of Salesforce include:
- HTTPS protects data being transmitted to and from a website.
- Having it in place can help to boost public perception and build trust.
- Still need security to protect site from hacking attempts.
- Let’s Encrypt tool is a free SSL option.
- Need a dedicated IP with the host to do SSL.
- Can be expensive to implement, depending on what you decide to use for SSL certificate. Hosts aren’t generally too helpful about support re: site conversions.
- Dreamhost is a good host – very good at support and they offer Let’s Encrypt.
Upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 10
- It can take a while to get Windows 10 to install properly if upgrading. Installing from scratch seems to work just fine though.
- Don shared these links after the meeting:
- Dell is currently shipping many PCs as “Windows 10” but when you get them, they have Windows 7 and you have to do the upgrade yourself.
- How to keep Windows 10 from automatic discovery and installation of printers: go to File/Print Sharing and turn off the print share feature. Microsoft still has driver compatibility issues with certain copiers/printers in Windows 10.
- Turn off “User Experience Feedback” so it doesn’t slow down the network.
- Windows 10 S was just released.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
- One channel for Internet and voice data (phone systems).
- Vendors are selling phone services based off their own servers, but it’s better to have an in-house server.
- Cisco is a VoIP phone vendors, as is Avaya. Avaya seems to be better for smaller organizations.
- An in house server also has the advantage of being a capital expense (can be depreciated).
- You still have to have a really good Internet connection for VoIP to work well.
- connecTel is a local telecom broker – will assess your contracts for free and advise you on best configuration and how to save the most money in the process.
- DQE Communications and Level 3 Communications are fiber-optic Internet providers.
We held our last meeting at Grow Pittsburgh for this year on April 5. Thank you Deidra and the GP staff for hosting us again! The weather finally appears to be warming up and we are looking forward to seeing everything in bloom next month when our meeting happens at the Frick Art & Historical Center on May 3!
Notes and resources from this month’s meeting:
- MAAS 360
- Protect mobile data
- Can remotely wipe data for lost devices
- Can pull out app shortcuts onto your phone desktop
- Free up to 10 licenses
- Not free to develop it out
- How to clean up data?
- Sometimes have to change your business process (like how data gets input)
- When importing historical data, its frequently advisable to clean it up first
- There are apps available for data cleanup that work with Salesforce
- There are dupe record catching mechanisms built into Salesforce, but if data input is too different, they won’t catch everything
- Set your data input policies in advance (example: abbreviations vs. spelling things out – St. vs. Street)
- Average time to convert to a new database varies, typically 1-2 years
- Need to think about the cost of holding onto bad data
- How much data do you really need to bring over from the old system? You don’t carry all your assets in your pocket as cash, you may not need to carry all your data around in a single system either
- Data/email cleanup idea: send an email around offering a drawing for a gift card to see who responds
- Email integration with databases
- Finding funding for technology
- Write tech consistently into all of your grant proposals
- Don’t be afraid to write separate proposals for technology too
- Accessibility (non-tech discussion)
Thank you to everyone who attended our first meeting of the new year at Grow Pittsburgh, and a big thank you to Rebekah and the Grow Pittsburgh team for hosting us!
Our next meetup will take place at the same location on Wednesday, March 1 from 8:30-10 am.
Here are the notes and resources from the meeting:
Affordable wi-fi hotspots available from Mobile Citizen, a division of Sprint
- Up to 10 people can connect to it
- 25 MB encryption
- Available to any nonprofit or household
- You pay for the Franklin R450 hotspot (~$79 + $9 shipping), then $120 for a year of service
- Visit MobileCitizen.com and submit NPO information
- Have to re-certify annually
- Coverage is anywhere Sprint has coverage (Sprint owns most of the cellphone infrastructure in the U.S.)
- Cannot tether with it
- Tech support is reportedly very good
- If you have questions, email Dave Sevick at Computer Reach, email@example.com
- Cradlepoint – can plug old Verizon connectivity stick into it; will act like a landline router
- Salesforce Users Group
- Next meeting is Feb. 15
- Trailhead.salesforce.com for learning (user/admin/developer)
- Local Salesforce consultants include:
- LISC – grant through Neighborhood Allies, has been used in the past for Salesforce assistance by one of the attendees
- Tell them how to do it
- Show them how to do it
- Have them do it
- Ransomware – story about Italian hotel computer system held for ransom by hackers
- What are nonprofits doing about cryptoware and ransomware?
- Education is important – educating your staff and volunteers not to fall for scams in emails
- AV software only does so much good to guard against this
- Don Rowe and his colleagues are working on a few scripts to help guard against this (for example, one script would unmount the hard drive so it couldn’t be hijacked)
- Most NPOs don’t seem to be creating disaster recovery plans – we need to get better about this
- It’s important to check your ability to restore backups on a regular basis
- Crashplan – online data backup
- If ransomware were to take over your computer, the best thing you can do is shut it down, disconnect from the Internet and call someone for help
- Software tools
- A small office needs, at a minimum:
- Spam filtering appliance
- Management will always make the argument of convenience vs. risk – IT is sometimes forced into poor practices (If you are an IT worker in this boat, document everything to CYA)
- NPOs or government agencies can submit a challenge to be worked on during the event
- Deadline to submit is Valentine’s Day
- Developer groups/teams can also sign up
- Visit the website to submit a challenge
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