As you likely know, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she set up a private email server at home and used it for her email communication, passing up a secure government account. This was a bad idea, for a number of reasons, primary among them the fact that sensitive information could be leaked on this less secure system, and that Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests could be bypassed. But the burning question, at a time when Clinton looks likely to be nominated as the Democratic candidate for President, is what her motivation was for setting up the server in the first place. Was… Read More »Hillary Clinton’s Shadow IT Problem
This article was first published on the Idealware Blog in December of 2011. My work planning for, evaluating and deploying technology at nonprofits requires that I have a good understanding of fundraising concepts and practices, and I do. It’s an area that I’m sufficiently knowledgeable about, but no expert. So my current personal fundraising campaign for Idealware is an amateur effort. It is, happily, a successful one. I did some things right, including, I think, making strategic use of my social networking connections and channels. I might have done a few things differently, given what I’ve learned. And much of the success has been instructive. Setting Up… Read More »My Foray Into Personal Fundraising
This article was first published on the Idealware Blog in March of 2011. NPTech maven Deborah Elizabeth Finn started a blog last week called “No Nonprofit Spam“. As a well-known NPTech consultant, Deborah is far from alone in finding herself regularly subscribed to nonprofit email lists that she has never opted into. But, as opposed to just complaining about what is, in anyone’s definition (except possibly the sender’s) unsolicited commercial email; Deborah took the opportunity to try and educate. It’s a controversial undertaking. Nobody likes spam. Many of us like nonprofits, and aren’t going to hold them to the same level of criticism as we… Read More »Do Nonprofits Spam?
This article was originally published on the Idealware Blog in May of 2009. Photo by ferricide It’s been a big month for Online Community Management in my circles. I attended a session at the Nonprofit Technology Conference on the subject; then, a few weeks later, ReadWriteWeb released a detailed report on the topic. I haven’t read the report, but people I respect who have are speaking highly of it.Do you run an online community? The definition is pretty sketchy, ranging from a blog with active commenters to, say, America Online. If we define an online community as a place where people share knowledge, support, and/or… Read More »Oldstyle Community Management
I had big plans for another insightful, deep, break-down-the-walls-of-the-corporate-culture-that-diminishes-use-of-technology post today, but I think I’m gonna save it for a rainy day and write something a bit more useful, instead. I have a big nonprofit technology conference coming up this weekend, as you might, as well, and I think we should all be resting up for it.
This article was originally published at Idealware in March of 2009. The Internet gives you access to a virtual smorgasbord of information. From the consequential to the trivial, the astonishing to the mundane, it’s all within your reach. This means you can keep up with the headlines, policies, trends, and tools that interest your nonprofit, and keep informed about what people are saying about your organization online. But the sheer volume of information can pose challenges, too: namely, how do you separate the useful data from all the rest? One way is to use RSS, which brings the information you want to you. Many of… Read More »Using RSS Tools to Feed Your Information Needs
Friends of mine who are active on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are fond of proclaiming that email is dead. And, certainly, those of us who are active on these networks send less email to each other than we used to. I’m much more likely to direct message, tweet, or write on someone’s wall if I have a quick question, comment or information referral for someone, the latter two if it’s a question or info that I might benefit from having other people in my online community see.
If you’re in a job that involves supporting technology in any fashion, from web designer to CIO, then the odds are that you do help desk. Formally or not, people come to you with the questions, the “how do I attach a file to my email?”, the “what can I do? My screen is frozen”, the “I saved my document but I don’t know where”. Rank doesn’t spare you; openly admitting that you can do anything well with computers is equivalent to lifetime membership in the tech support club.
Keep It Simple, Someone*! If there ever was a common man’s rallying plea relative to technology, this is the one. How many people do you know who got an iPod for XMas, only to learn that, before they could use it, they would have to learn how to rip their CD collection to disk? And upgrade the hard drive, or buy additional storage? All of which is a piece of cake, when compared to setting up a wireless network or removing persistent spyware. The most frequent request that I get from the people I support as an IT Director? “I just want it to turn on and work!”. I can relate. Which is why I’m here to tell you that keeping it simple can be a questionable goal, at best.
We’ve come a long way since the Pony Express. It’s hard to imagine living in a time when your options for communication were limited to face-to-face, sllooowww mail, and, perhaps, carrier pigeon. Today, we have the opposite problem: there are so many mediums to choose from that a key communication skill is to gleam the method that the person you want to reach prefers.