I am very excited to announce that this website is being redesigned professionally by the best web designer I know, Eve Simon. What you’re looking at right now (assuming you’re reading this in September of 2023) is a website that I designed. Having worked with and for lawyers most of my life, I know the adage about fools representing themselves, and I’m here to tell you that the same is true of consultants designing their own websites. In preparation for the new site (which I expect to have up sometime next month, I’ll make a lot of noise about it when that happens), I’ve been… Read More »Blog Quandary
Last winter, I took on a project for the Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP) and Idealware developing a toolkit for implementing knowledge management at your organization. This project was funded by a Technology grant by Legal Services Corporation, my erstwhile employer. While geared somewhat for legal aid programs, the toolkit is fully usable for all sorts of nonprofits and businesses. It focuses primarily on document management, but includes advice on email, social media, and even non-technical information management practices. The goal of the toolkit is to help orgs capture and easily manage not only the work product that they create, but also the thought processes behind… Read More »Knowledge Management Toolkit is Available
Photo: NTEN I’m back from NTEN’s annual conference, the biggest one ever with 2300 attendees here in DC. NTEN’s signature NPTech event continues to pull off the hat trick of continual growth, consistent high quality content, and a level of intimacy that is surprising for an event this large. It’s a big, packed tech conference, but it’s also a few days with our welcoming, engaging community. Here’s my recap. I attended three quality sessions on Thursday: I learned much about the challenges in offering shared IT services to nonprofits, with an in-depth look at the work of the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, who offer discounted, centralized IT… Read More »My 17NTC Report
This article was originally published by Techsoup on July 8th, 2016 Some say life’s a gamble. But gambling can be very random, as in the rolling of a die, or very scientific, as in the calculation of odds and percentages. Investing in technology should not be a gamble, in as much as you can predict what it will do for you. In the standard business lingo, we call this prediction “return on investment” or “ROI.” And whether you calculate that with all the vigor of two college students on a weekend trip to Reno, or a scientist who deeply understands the odds, is important. In… Read More »How to Measure the Value of an IT Investment
This post was originally published on the NTEN Blog on December 24th, 2015. As years go, 2015 was a significant one in my career. The work of a CIO, or IT Director, or whatever title you give the person primarily responsible for IT strategy and implementation, is (ideally) two parts planning and one part doing. So in 2015—my third year at Legal Services Corporation—we did a couple of the big things that we’d been planning in 2013 and 2014. First and foremost, we (and I do mean we—I play my part, but I get things done with an awesome staff and coworkers) rolled out the… Read More »Year-end Reflections
This article was originally published in NTEN Change Magazine in June of 2015. What kind of challenge does your organization have supporting technology? Below are several scenarios to choose from: Little or no tech staff or tech leadership: We buy inexpensive computers and software and rely on consultants to set it up. Our IT support is outsourced: there is no technology plan or any staff training. We have a tech on staff who does their best to keep things running: no staff training, no technology planning. We have a tech on staff and an IT Director, but no technology plan: IT is swamped and not… Read More »Creating A Tech-Savvy Nonprofit Culture
For the past 21 years, I’ve been working for 501(c)(3) corporations, commonly referred to as nonprofits. I’ve also become active in what we call the “nptech” community — “nptech” being shorthand for “nonprofit technology”. But nonprofits, which comprise about 10% of all US businesses, have wildly diverse business models. To suggest that there is a particular type of technology for nonprofits is akin to saying that all of the businesses in downtown Manhattan have similar technology needs. So what is nonprofit technology? Less of a platform and more of a philosophy. Snowflakes? No flakes. It’s often said that each nonprofit is unique, like a snowflake,… Read More »What Is Nonprofit Technology
This article originally appeared on the Exponent Partners blog on December 19th, 2014. It was written by Kerry Vineburg, based on a phone interview with me. EXPONENT PARTNERS SERIES: SMART PRACTICES Is your nonprofit thinking about implementing a large database project like Salesforce? Nonprofit and technology veteran Peter Campbell, CIO at Legal Services Corporation, recently shared his valuable insights on how to prepare your team and culture for long-term success. His organization, the top funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the country, is developing Salesforce as a data warehouse for their grantee information and document management. We asked Peter to tell us… Read More »13 Lessons On Building Your Nonprofit Technology Culture
This post was originally published on the MAP Techworks Blog in November of 2014. For a nonprofit that’s reached a size of 25 or more staff, a key question revolves around how to support technology that has grown from a few laptops and PCs to a full-blown network, with all of the maintenance and troubleshooting that such a beast requires. Should you hire internal IT staff or outsource to a more affordable vendor for that support? I’d say that the key question isn’t should you — that’s more a matter of finances and personal preferences. But what you outsource and how you go about it… Read More »Should You Outsource Your IT Department?
I ask because my articles are up, including my big piece from NTEN’s Collected Voices: Data-Informed Nonprofits on Architecting Healthy Data Management Systems. I’m happy to have this one available in a standalone, web-searchable format, because I think it’s a bit of a signature work. I consider data systems architecture to be my main talent; the most significant work that I’ve done in my career. I integrated eleven databases at the law firm of Lillick & Charles in the late 90’s, using Outlook as a portal to Intranet, CRM, documents and voicemail. We had single-entry of all client and matter data that then, through SQL Server… Read More »How Easy Is It For You To Manage, Analyze And Present Data?