Bagels & Bytes Meeting Notes – August 2016

Bagels & Bytes attendees discussing tech around a tableWe 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

Telephone Systems

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

CRM Software

Finding Nonprofit Tech Jobs

Additional Resources (Shared by Attendees Post-meeting)

Allegheny B&B – February 2012 Meeting

In Febuary, we were graciously hosted again by the Frick Art & Historical Center in Point Breeze.  Thank you to Linda, Chris and the Frick staff for hosting us!  Our next meeting will take place on Wednesday, March 7 at the same location from 8:30-10 a.m.  Visit the 2011 Bagels & Bytes Meeting Calendar for more information.

Topics and resources from the meeting include:

Allegheny B&B – September 2009 Meeting Notes

This was our second and last meeting for this year at Easter Seals Western Pennsylvania in the Strip District. 

Our discussion centered around strategic technology planning.  Some items of interest from our discussion:

  • Focus is critical when creating a technology plan – keeping things that are actually tech-related in the plans and other things out of it.
  • Recommended scope for a tech plan is 1-3 years.
  • Difficulty can be caused by the length and timing of the tech planning process vs. the strategic planning process.  If strategic planning not done first, the tech plan writer can end up generalizing and guessing.
  • A tech plan should be a living document, subject to updating revision between formal planning sessions.
  • Staff training is generally overlooked in tech plans, but should be included.
  • Cost codes (financial) are frequently not assigned within a agency for technology items, so tech tends to get lumped into administrative costs.  (We need to work on this issue!)
  • An online resource is the National Center for Technology Planning:  http://www.nctp.com.

We also discussed time management for techies in nonprofits. Here are some of the ways we get our multi-faceted jobs done:

  • Outsourcing / vendor-based tech support or consultants
  • Make sacrifices – you can’t do everything!
  • Do what you can do, even if not everyone is happy about it
  • Automate as much as you can
  • Deflect work that isn’t tech-related
  • Learn to say “no”
  • Track help requests (a resources for this is the help desk feature in http://www.spiceworks.com)

In addition, we noted that we should pay as much attention to our “up” time as we do our “down” time.  Too frequently we (and other staff) only notice when the computers aren’t working.  We should acknowledge and celebrate the amount of time that the computers are working as well!

ONE LAST THING…

We discussed having our December holiday party B&B meeting at a fun place – ROBOWORLD!  I will be working with Joe McLaughlin, who worked on the exhibit there, to see about making this happen!

 

Our next meeting will be held at ACHIEVA on the South Side, on October 7.  Please note that we are now holding our meeting from 8:30 – 10 am each month.

The Bagels & Bytes 2009 Calendar (including directions) is here.