Technology

Thanks to the National Council of Nonprofits for sharing their Technology resources.

technologyWhy is Technology Important for Nonprofits?

Technology is essential to effectively advancing and managing a nonprofit. Especially in tough economic times, thoughtful use of technology can be the most efficient way for a nonprofit to communicate more effectively, engage with donors, evaluate programs and schedule volunteers, or simply research and keep up-to-date on legal requirements and funding opportunities.

The potential of technology is amazing, but knowing what tools are appropriate and how to employ them most effectively can be overwhelming. Fortunately there are terrific resources that can guide nonprofit leaders in selecting and using technology in the most effective way and provide information to help you utilize the software that is most current and suitable for your nonprofit’s operations.

Technology Planning

These resources will help you create a plan to keep your technology infrastructure and procedures healthy.

Affordable Technology Solutions

  • TechSoup offers free nonprofit learning resources, including articles, blogs, webinars, and forums led by expert hosts. Once registered and qualified with TechSoup, nonprofits can access donated and discounted products and services, including high-quality refurbished hardware and software from partners like Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Intuit, and Symantec.
  • Nonprofit Recycling and Reuse Network is dedicated to the productive transfer and reuse of technological equipment like laptops, desktop computers and office supplies.
  • Idealware offers product reviews and reports on software of interest to nonprofits.

Blogs About Technology

  • Beth’s Blog, written by nonprofit technology guru Beth Kanter, is one of the most popular blogs sharing best practices in nonprofits’ use of social media.
  • NetSquared
  • NTEN
  • Need help? Reach out to NPower, a network that connects nonprofit organizations to technology and provides assistance to other nonprofits, serving close to 4,000 nonprofits a year.

Recent Articles & Sustainable Digital Consulting in Vermont

Social Media

The emerging technologies surrounding social media, such as micro-blogging, wikis, tweeting and social networking websites, are addressed in the Communications and Marketing section of the Council Nonprofits’ website. There are a tremendous number of helpful resources available on the internet, such as those collected on the Net Squared/Tech Soup website on developing effective social media policies, which include sample guidelines and a sample social media handbook.

How Can Nonprofits Use Technology to Advance Their Mission?

Here are some low cost/no cost tools for helping you get your business online and using

technology:

Open Data

There is a growing movement to open local, state, federal, and shared data sources to provide communities with information about critical resources such as affordable housing, public safety, and environmental protection. Common Good Vermont works with state and national partners to bring Data resources to Vermont nonprofits. The following videos overview topics related to nonprofit data collection and use.

Common Good Vermont Executive Director, Lauren-Glenn Davitian interviewed Alexandra Barker, regional trainer for U.S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau.

Data on a Deadline – Accessing Quick U.S. Census Reports and Interactive MapsLearn how to use a variety of data access tools available online at census.gov that can quickly provide a snapshot of you community. During this training you will learn about U.S. Census Bureau programs and products through live exercises and instruction using tools such as QuickFacts, Census Explorer, Easy Stats, American FactFinder, and more.

 

Common Good Vermont‘s Open Data series discussed how open data can help collective impact initiatives through the presentation of working Vermont examples, national initiatives, and a look at what is ahead for this important trend in sharing community knowledge to unlock new solutions for the common good.

Open Data and the State of Vermont with Casey Cleary: Casey Cleary, Vermont’s Information Enterprise Architect, discusses the growing use of open data, the challenges and opportunities faced in Vermont state government, and current efforts to create an open data portal.

Vermont Center for Geographic Information with Leslie PelchLeslie Pelch, VCGI’s Outreach Director, discusses VCGI’s longstanding open data leadership in this realm and examples and resources that can help collective impact efforts in VT.

Opening Addresses & the National Open Data PictureBill Morris, long time open data advocate, discusses the Open Data Movement along with national examples that he is working on, including Open Addresses.

Michael Moser Discusses Data Concepts for NonprofitsMoser coordinates the Vermont State Data Center, a liaison program between the US Census Bureau and Vermont Data Users with support from the State of Vermont. The following brief training module has been produced in collaboration with the VT Data Collaborative. Moser covers several stages of the “data process”. Moser provides an overview of what data is, and I’ll define some basic data concepts. This module is intended as a general overview. There is no one correct way to think about data, as each individual or organization will have their own specific needs and processes. This presentation utilizes a nonprofit organizations perspective, but again, is applicable to a broad audience.