Computanews 152 Final


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Lasas New Bulk Mailer, Twitter for non-profits

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Computanews 152 Final

  1. 1. computanews information systems for advice 152 May 2009 Get Your Message Out Lasa recently signed up for Charity Technology Trust’s CTTM@il email marketing service. Ian Runeckles looks at why and how the decision was taken. F or some time it had been felt that Lasa was not taking advantage of online marketing techniques (or The Training team was also using a text-based email system developed by the Rightsnet web developer which in this issue Lasa’s Ian Runeckles e-communications) as best it could. A goes out on a fortnightly basis to about on buying an email tool number of marketing campaigns were 850 addresses. It was thought that this pages 1, 5-6 set to take off and with Lasa’s website could definitely do with an upgrade. redevelopment and a new marketing manager in post, it seemed like an Other services such as our AIMS ICT news from around appropriate time to look at whether a case management software were the sector - page 2 centralised bulk emailing system would using Outlook distribution lists for help. subscribers with support contracts to Twitter for non-profits advise of upgrades etc and a bought page 4 To establish what the appropriate in list which was mailed to annually to solution might be we looked at what market the product. The Information ICT events other parts of Lasa were currently Systems Team, which produces page 6 doing, the issues which this brought up, Computanews, was looking at how the the features we might need, what we distribution of the publication could be SMEX09 report might use it for and tools which might done with the switch over from paper page 6 be appropriate. to the pdf format. Other marketing efforts were mainly Web services and tales Current situation ad-hoc using distribution lists in of the unexpected We had a system for emailing to our Outlook. The problem with this is page 8 Rightsnet subscribers (www.rightsnet. that they are personal to the individual that has been in place for a user and there is no overall centralised control. number of years. It sends out a daily circuit riding html (webpage format) summary of the new articles Rightsnet website which Lasa Circit Rider is handled automatically and attaches Management issues conference and circuit more static information. Although fairly Whilst it can be relatively riding update basic it does the job and the number straightforward to assess, purchase and pages 9-10 of mails being sent would be difficult to even install software or (even easier) afford using alternative hosted services sign up to a hosted service, there were we decided to leave Rightsnet as it is a number of considerations which for the time being. needed to be thought about before going ahead… continued on page 5 152 issue december 2008
  2. 2. Contribute Disagree with an article? newsbits Believe there’s an issue we should be looking at? BT Community Security in-a-box Lasa Circuit Rider Know of an initiative we Connections Conference 2009 should mention? Security in-a-box provides We welcome all feedback about If you volunteer with a all of the information, This year's conference Computanews so if we’ve missed something out send us your community group or tactics and technological for circuit riders and thoughts or news, or submit an charitable organisation, tools that are required accidental techies will look article for inclusion in a future visit www. to recognise and address at 'Riding the crest of a issue. digital security risks and slump - surviving in tough to apply for a laptop and threats. It offers detailed times'. Prices from £80 for Subscribe contribution to a year's step-by-step instructions charities. If you would like to subscribe to free broadband as well as practical non- your own copy of connection. technical advice for anyone Book your place now: Computanews and other Lasa publications: who uses digital technology Round One closing dates 9 to carry out sensitive June (postal applications) 11 advocacy work. June online Security in-a-box was Legal Guide computanews created by Tactical Tech in is produced by lasa partnership with Front Line. The best selling guide to Nominet the law and good practice Editorial & Production: Miles Maier & Ian Runeckles Foundation Find out more: for voluntary organisations, Voluntary But Not Amateur The Nominet Foundation or request a printed version is now available from has launched its new grants from Directory of Social Change. programme to support distinctive and inventive Universal House Internet-related projects 88–94 Wentworth Street London E1 7SA that can make a difference Digital Mentors Internet skills to people, primarily in the overcome isolation Editorial: 020 7426 4473 areas of education, online Digital Mentors aims to safety and inclusion. inspire, engage and support If you work with older Email: disadvantaged and isolated people you might be Find out more: communities to get their interested to find out more Web Site: voices heard through digital about a new research media. project by the University ICT Knowledgebase: of Wales, Newport which Led by Media Trust, Digital reveals how the Internet Suppliers directory: Wales CVC Circuit Mentors will provide has helped Newport’s Riders - new funding for 26 grassroots senior citizens overcome Circuit Riding: Circuit Riding guide groups, alongside one major loneliness and social new initiative and a further isolation. A community l Last Computanews we 40 small grants for specific project has equipped Lasa reported on what the digital projects. Digital them with free computers Lasa has been providing the voluntary and community sector Wales CVC Circuit Rider Mentors will also provide and the skills to surf the with high quality and impartial pilot project had achieved. comprehensive tools and internet and communicate ICT advice since 1984. They have recently issued resources. with each other using the a new guide to setting up a latest online technology. Circuit Rider project. Get involved now: This work is licensed under a Find out more: Creative Commons Attribution- Download the pdf: digitalmentors non-commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License newportdigital/ licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0 2
  3. 3. Computanews independent consultancy for your now accepts information and communication advertisements technology (ICT) If you offer a technology product, Free initial advice: We offer an initial one hour meeting, with service or event aimed specifically at no strings attached to explore your needs and define the project. the voluntary sector you can draw attention to it through the pages of Independent: We are an independently funded so we can give you unbiased advice. Computanews. Computanews is a specialised Understanding: As a non-profit agency ourselves magazine covering the use of technology we understand the values of the sector within the voluntary sector. It has a key audience of: Collaborative and transparent: We want to build your knowledge, not keep Information and • organisation managers and trustees Communication Technology (ICT) as a mystery • staff responsible for their own organisation’s IT Thorough: We evaluate your ICT knowledge • Circuit Riders who provide advice and your ICT support needs and set out the best and technology support options for you according to your needs. to other organisations. Fee discounts for smaller organisations of The circulation of Computanews is up to 50%. We recognise ‘small is beautiful currently around 2,500 copies per issue, too’. For a free 1-hour meeting to help you distributed 4–6 times a year. We explore the ICT project for further consultancy anticipate that the circulation will increase work... now that it is becoming available as a free, downloadable file. Contact us: London Advice Services Alliance (Lasa) To place an advert, or for more details Information Systems Team about rates and dates, please email: Email: or call 020 7426 4473 or phone: 020 7426 4473 Looking for a highly configurable Client Contact Management System? • task automation • key date reminders • extensive design & reporting tools • affordable and flexible • 200 users across the UK For a free fully working DEMO version email or call 020 7377 2806 For more information go to 3
  4. 4. Events Tips152 Twitter for non- profit organisations 15 May 2009 - Silver Surferís Twitter is increasingly being taken up by voluntary and community Day organisations like NCVO, RSPB and the Dogs Trust to promote their With more than 750 events work to new audiences. Heather Mansfield of gives her helping thousands of older people Twitter Top Tips. get online and discovering how computers can change their lives. Twitter is an online application that is part blog, part social net-working site, part mobile phone/IM tool, designed to let users answer the question “What are you doing?” Users have 140 characters for each posting (or “tweet”). Read the full article 21 May - Outcomes Monitoring and IT 1 Authenticity before marketing. Have This conference will help you view/10_twitter_tips_for_nonprofit_ personality and build understand more about the community. organizations processes involved in implementing an outcomes-based IT system. About the author http://outcomesandit.wordpress. 2 Be nice. Be thankful. Reply and Retweet! Heather is the Nonprofit Community Manager for Change. com/ org. She also created and maintains the Nonprofit 28 May - Managing Social 3 Follow everyone who follows you. Organizations MySpace, Nonprofit Organizations Facebook Page, Media Nonprofit Organizations YouTube This morning seminar will give Channel, and the Nonprofit organisations the tools to seed and Organizations Twitter profile grow, manage, and build their online 4 Don’t worry about those that ‘unfollow’ networks. Follow Heather at: http://twitter. you. com/nonprofitorgs 5 Provide value to your followers. Lasa ICT Knowledgebase 5 June - Better writing for charities This free afternoon seminar from NGOMedia will cover everything you need to know about how to 6 Don’t only Tweet your own content. Tools make your charity’s ublications as effective and powerful as they can be through great copywriting. 7 Use ‘Favorites’ to organise the chaos! Follow on Twitter 8 June - Multi-Media 8 Send messages, but not auto-responders. Explained For those who want to use multimedia to get their message across. 9 You get out what you put into it 4
  5. 5. continued from page 1 Locally installed bulk setting up new templates etc. email software CTTM@il is being used by LVSC who said, “We found them very Lasaís email checklist This would need to be installed on helpful and they also have just started a local PC or server. Whilst this doing free training sessions for • Is there a business case for might give more control and existing clients so if we get new this? perhaps flexibility, there could be starters etc they can pop along to a • Who will use/manage the more administration and we’d be morning session. We have the 20,000 lists? responsible for backing it up. emails option and it's more than • Does the system comply Training could also be an issue. enough even with every team sending with Data Protection out bulletins. The stats are fantastic. legislation? Examples which we looked at Also it organises all the subscriptions • Will it link to the existing included SendBlaster (www. and unsubscribes.” CRM database?, Atomic Mail • Is there a budget? Sender (, • Ability to send out around e-Campaign 7.0 (www.lmhsoft. What then? 5,000 – 10,000 emails per com) and Handymailer (www. After a demonstration from LVSC month The feature sets as to how they were using the tool, • Bounce management are fairly similar, some allow it was recommended to Lasa’s • Statistics – tracking click- sending to a limited number of management that we sign up for throughs on links in mailout addresses for a low cost, then CTT M@il hosted service. As an etc upgrading to a pro version for full NCVO member we also took • Ability to breach spam functionality. advantage of a discounted scheme filters whereby we could get double the • Adhere to accessibility best amount of emails for the same practice Hosted services rate. We signed up for a year’s • Easy management and There is any number of hosted contract with an allowance of production by a number of email services – Idealware looked 10,000 emails per month at a cost staff (but be centrally at those which were mainly US of £700. managed) based such as Graphic Mail • Ease of use and potential (, Constant A template for the emails was set for training Contact (www.constantcontact. up which reflects Lasa’s online • Have a number of different, com), MailChimp (great name identity using the same colours and but not mutually exclusive, and a similar layout to the new website. lists for different types of Network For Good’s Email The mail tool was tested using a mailing Now ( list of new AIMS Free subscribers However, the one we looked at in and subsequently it has been used most detail was CTTM@il (www. for Computanews subscribers and the Rightsnet training list. The CTT tool means that not only To host or not to host Based on the successful can we send bulk emails without Once we knew what we were DotMailer service (www. directly affecting our own systems after, we did some research into CTTM@il is being and handling the inevitable the products that were available. offered to UK charities by CTT bounced mail. The reporting is This basically split down into those (Charity Technology Trust). CTT fairly sophisticated and shows how which we’d have to host ourselves offers price bands based on the many mails were sent, how many on our server or which were number of emails sent per month, delivered, number opened and hosted online. A useful article starting at 100 recipients for £10/ forwarded, links clicked and so on. which helped with our research is month with a one-off set up fee of Idealware’s survey of newsletter £100 which includes setting up a tools at template for the email, address articles/fgt_email_newsletter_tools. books and a training session. CTT continued on page 6 php also offer ad-hoc services for 5
  6. 6. contíd from page 5 SMEX09: Social Media Maria Diaz at CTT has been Exchange incredibly helpful with setting up the system and answering the inevitable queries. We have now Computanews reports from the recent SMEX09 also bought the domain lasanews. masterclass and a surprise visit from acclaimed film- through CTT which means maker Ken Loach. that mailings will originate from the email address. CTT offer a service whereby the domain is registered with appropriate spam monitoring M any larger non-profit organisations are using social media tools like blogging, build online communities. The Dogs Trust uses uses the social networking site Facebook and services so that it avoids being Twitter and Flickr to promote micro-blogging tool Twitter to mistaken for a spammer (and their campaign communicate directly therefore increases the chance of messages directly with their supporters, reaching the target audience). If a to the audience, but run awareness raising respondent replies to the address how does that apply campaigns, and find the mail is then forwarded to a to the vast majority homes for dogs. mail address. of the sector’s small and medium During the lunch There is still more work to do sized organisations? seminar, Steve with other Lasa products able to sounddelivery’s Bowbrick, blogger- be marketed through the service Social Media Exchange Ken Loach at SMEX09 in-residence at the and lists to be set up. We may also (SMEX09) masterclasses BBC, said that focusing be able to establish links to our aimed to answer the question by too much on social media tools database to synchronise data so providing delegates with bite-sized such as Twitter, Flickr, blogging that we are holding up to date sessions and case studies to help and podcasts could exclude information on both systems. We organisations apply social media people with visual or hearing also need to think about what data tools to their own situation. impairments as well as those who we want to capture from new have no access to the internet. subscribers which will assist with The recurring theme of the Nevertheless, he said this was not the marketing effort and also day was using story-telling to a reason to stop testing the limits reporting to funders. So far, it’s communicate messages - whether of social media, and that ignoring been an encouraging start… it be via blogging, video or audio. technological shifts was no longer In the current climate with an option. Next month in Tips #153 Maria funders cutting back, organisations Diaz’s shares her top tips for email able to tell their success stories good practice. and connect with funders and Resources supporters would be best placed Resources to survive. video/ken-loach-video-clip bulkemailsoftware To reinforce the point, acclaimed tag/presentation film-maker Ken Loach spoke at length about the value of story- newsletter_tools.php telling to illustrate quite complex and often political issues. Book now Four masterclasses running sounddelivery will be running throughout the day connected another Social Media Exchange in delegates with real-life examples London on 1 June. of non-profits using social media tools to tell their story and 6
  7. 7. s? s? nt m lie le e crob or p m re o lasa m more answers. more support. rightsnet welfare rights training Dear Colleague, Busier than ever? Our new welfare rights training programme has been specifically designed to help you give the best and most efficient advice to your clients in the current climate. We’ve created a brand new welfare rights training programme based on your feedback about your needs. But don’t forget that we also offer a wide range of courses which we can tailor to your organisation’s needs as part of our in-house service. We’re also currently offering 20% off our courses. We'd like to give you a voucher entitling you or a colleague to 20% off your next course with us! To claim your voucher simply ask when you attend your next training course. And you can get 10% off any course booked three months in advance. And finally, don’t forget to register your organisation for our new loyalty card when you next attend a course with us – for every five events the sixth is free! With 100% of attendees rating our courses as very good or good you can be sure that you’ll be getting the high quality training that you'd expect from the UK's leading welfare rights website. Find out more and book at: Contact us: or call us on 020 7377 9981 7
  8. 8. Web 2.0 and Tales of the Unexpected Web based services or cloud computing – where computing power is delivered over the internet as you need it, rather than from your desktop computer – can potentially offer many benefits to voluntary and community sector organisations. However, before making the jump to web based services, organisations also need to be aware of the potential pitfalls. agencies can demand to see of users – or at least until their W ith a web browser and a few mouse clicks we can share documents and collaborate content stored on any computer, even if it is hosted on behalf of servers collapsed, irretrievably losing their user’s data in the crash. another sovereign state. Paul Head over to with colleagues, buy goods and Ticher discussed this issue in the to watch a video of Ma.gnolia’s services and save on venue and knowledgebase article Data founders admitting that they didn’t travel costs by attending online Protection and Web Based carry out any back-up testing. If training. Whilst this is fine for Applications. your data only exists in one online individuals, organisations with service you should take immediate services to deliver need to be It’s also worth remembering that steps to back it up to a location aware of issues around accessibility, as of April 2009, a new EU you have physical access and privacy, data protection and directive now requires all ISPs in control over. business continuity - because even the European Union to store in the wonderful world of web 2.0 records of user emails and internet Do your research and choose a it’s not unknown for users to be phone calls for 12 months. well established product by a locked out of their own files. respected provider – you don’t Accessibility want to find the company goes SLAs and Terms and belly up taking all your data with it. Web based services have barely Conditions A quick trawl though Google will begun to address issues of web flag up service providers with a accessibility. AbilityNet’s State of The Service Level Agreements poor record of customer care. the e-Nation 2008 report found (SLA) provided by Microsoft and Google make it quite clear that that web based social networking Conclusion sites like Facebook, MySpace, their services are provided ‘as is’, ‘with all faults’, ‘without warranty’ As with all things, take the time to YouTube,Yahoo and Bebo, were and ‘as available’. Until online think about the risks you are effectively ‘locking out’ disabled service providers get serious about entering into. Whilst millions of visitors, the majority of whom SLA’s that do something for the individuals are quite happy to live couldn’t register or participate, in customer, ask yourself if a service with web services that offer no clear contravention of Disability provided without warranty is fit guarantee and is entirely at their Discrimination Act (1998). for your organisation’s purposes. own risk, managers of voluntary Data Protection and The recent wave of outages sector organisations should think suffered by Twitter due to surging carefully and ensure risks are Privacy demand also highlight that despite recognised and planned for. In the real world, national borders all the promises, web based and national laws of sovereign services do fail. Resources states take precedence, but this lags some way behind the reality of Reliability webservicerisks cyberspace, where Google and As for service reliability, a case in Microsoft make no promises about point is Ma.gnolia, a social dataprotectionandweb where an end user’s data is bookmarking site that stored physically stored. Under the US bookmarks for tens of thousands Patriot Act, the FBI and other 8
  9. 9. Lasa Circuit Rider Conference 9 June 2009 Riding the crest of a slump • surviving in tough times essential recession survival tools for circuit riders, individuals and organisations interested in circuit riding. • Practical, relevant solutions for small voluntary organisations • Show you how to apply them in your work • Focus on the tools you need to survive the recession • Encourage everyone to discuss issues and share experiences • Delivered in plain, jargon-free English Venue IBM Bedfont, New Square, Bedfont Lakes, Middlesex which is situated to the south of Heathrow Airport. Booking is now open and closes on 29th May To register for the conference and the drinks reception go to: Keep up to date Get the latest news by joining the UKRiders mailing list Lasa is grateful to IBM for donating the venue and to CTT for supporting this conference 9
  10. 10. Circuit Rider skills and standards - an update Back in Computanews 150 we introduced you to the London Region ICT Infrastructure Project. This three year, Big Lottery funded project has as its main aim to ensure a Circuit Rider training framework is in place to provide a quality- assured professional service to frontline groups in London. It will do this by training Circuit Riders (and other VCS ICT workers) through standardising and assuring the quality of Circuit Rider skills for VCS organisations. O ver the past few months, Lasa has been • Develop a portfolio of evidence to show CIRCUIT RIDING NEWS ROUND-UP working to develop a learning programme and application of the learning environment which is appropriate to the sector. • Use the services of expert mentors Through working with expert advisers and • Support other learners through the process consulting with an advisory group, the decision was • Become peer certificated upon completing the taken to develop a personal learning programme learning plan based on the competency document published last year, which uses a guided process to assist ICT Core competency modules workers with their development. The programme is currently arranged around two levels, the first of which is based on the core competencies that a Rider needs to work effectively with organisations. This level is arranged into four modules: 1. Characteristics of the VCS and VCOs, the environment in which they operate and how this affects their use of ICT 2. ICT systems, tools and resources use and support and their potential impact in small to medium sized VCOs 3. ICT Sustainability - Policy development, costing and funding 4. Consulting, assessment and planning and project management Lasa is currently working upon the online platform Planned for launch in late summer, the programme and resource base. We’ll be presenting the project at offers Circuit Riders and others working in VCS ICT the Circuit Rider Conference in June. If you would the opportunity to: like more information you can contact Sarah Lord Soares at Lasa, • Consult with an adviser as to the skills which need to be acquired or improved upon • Create a personal learning plan • Access expert resources on and offline through a bespoke platform • Attend introductory sessions on the learning modules 10