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IT Overview for Nonprofits
Dave Cortright
My background
● Master’s in Computer Science from Stanford
● 20 years as product designer & program manager at Silicon Valley tech companies
● 3½ years as Director of Technology at Wildlife Conservation Network
● IT consultant (for nonprofits primarily) since 2017
Top takeaway: Use SaaS (Software as a Service)
● Managing IT systems is resource-intensive, and a huge opportunity cost
● Let other people to do this for you
● SaaS—aka cloud services—will handle the updates and compliance for you
● Good news: you can get some services for reduced fee or even free
● Bad news: it’s not all free
● Important! IT consulting can cost between $80–$200/hour
It’s a lot cheaper to pay smaller amounts up front than to deal with costly consulting fees later
Do your own research
Online
● G2.com
● AlternativeTo.net
● ServerFault.com
● LifeHacker.com
Other nonprofits (especially The Greater Sum and their partner orgs)
Google search for related sites, e.g.
https://www.google.com/search?q=related:bloomerang.co
Best bet for most needs—Google GSuite
Email, calendaring, contacts, files (Drive), productivity (Docs, Sheets, Slides)
And it’s free for registered 501c3 non-profits.
Microsoft Office 365 is another option
If you need super secure communications: ProtonMail and Signal
For other software/tech needs: TechSoup.org
Team communications
Basecamp is a good choice; I’ve used it personally and can recommend it.
Asana, which I use for my personal task lists
Trello
Slack
…
Back up, back up, BACK UP!
For any data that would be a regrettable loss, have 3 copies
1. A working copy
2. A local backup ( important for huge files that take a long time to transfer)
3. An offsite backup (cloud)
Lots of cloud sync options: Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Box.com…
I use and recommend Resilio Sync for both on- and off-site backup.
Everyone should use a password manager
Do NOT put your passwords in a spreadsheet! Please.
I recommend LastPass because of the admin controls but there are others:
1Password, Dashlane, KeePass…
Allows you to use random super-secure passwords for all your important accounts.
All you need to do is create and remember a single strong password. To do so…
Take a memorable phrase (like a quote or a line from a song) and encode it into
something that uses both upper and lower case, numbers and special characters.
E.g. “Four score and seven years ago” becomes 4SCORE+VIIyrs<--
Require 2-step authentication
The best way to keep yourself and your org secure is to use an authenticator app so you
need both a password and a device (mobile phone) to sign in.
At a minimum, require it for Google accounts and for password manager accounts
Also consider for any important accounts like finance, HR, donor data…
Procuring high-priced tech
Open box or refurbished are the best deals
Blinq, eBay, Amazon Warehouse Deals (browse via The Forklift)
Direct from manufacturers: Apple, Lenovo, Google…
[One participant also suggested Revivn]
Donor management
Do NOT use a spreadsheet (unless you are just starting out and you have <100 donors)
Salesforce has a great non-profit program but…
● it’s likely overkill for you
● the ease of use is awful
You may end up spending $1000s or more on development and ongoing maintenance
LiveImpact.org—all-in-one (website, donations, email, events…)
Bloomerang is used by The Greater Sum.
Otherwise check out G2, AlternativeTo, or other forums for recommendations.
Open Source apps
These can save you money, especially if they are only needed sparingly.
Gimp (PhotoShop)
Inkscape (Illustrator)
Scribus (desktop publishing)
But if your graphic designer is full time and asks for Adobe Suite, just buy it for them
from TechSoup. Remember their time and happiness is far more valuable than whatever
few hundreds of dollars you may save. (#2)
Image editing
Pixelmator ($30) and Pixelmator Pro ($40) for Mac are fantastic, and an amazing value.
Can not recommend them more highly.
Paint.Net for Windows is well-regarded, but I have no direct experience with it.
[One participant also suggested Canva]
VoIP
VoIP (Voice over the Internet) for business phone numbers.
Google Voice is a great option but there are others: Skype, Line2…
(I do not recommend RingCentral. I had nothing but bad experiences with them.)
Also mentioned during the Q&A
Fonts and images
https://fonts.google.com
https://fontsquirrel.com
https://unsplash.com
https://pexels.com
Event management
https://hopin.to
https://bigbluebutton.org
https://bryanallen.com
Fundraising
CrowdRise
Domains
https://namecheap.com
Email
MailChimp
SendGrid
Constant Contact
Website
SquareSpace
Wix
For more information
it4np.com is a blog I created to put info like this and more up for public consumption.
I haven’t been updating it much lately, but there’s good stuff in the archives.
Online
● G2.com
● AlternativeTo.net
● ServerFault.com
● LifeHacker.com
Google related site search, e.g.
https://www.google.com/search?q=related:bloomerang.co

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IT overview for nonprofits by Dave Cortright (IT4NP)

  • 1. IT Overview for Nonprofits Dave Cortright
  • 2. My background ● Master’s in Computer Science from Stanford ● 20 years as product designer & program manager at Silicon Valley tech companies ● 3½ years as Director of Technology at Wildlife Conservation Network ● IT consultant (for nonprofits primarily) since 2017
  • 3. Top takeaway: Use SaaS (Software as a Service) ● Managing IT systems is resource-intensive, and a huge opportunity cost ● Let other people to do this for you ● SaaS—aka cloud services—will handle the updates and compliance for you ● Good news: you can get some services for reduced fee or even free ● Bad news: it’s not all free ● Important! IT consulting can cost between $80–$200/hour It’s a lot cheaper to pay smaller amounts up front than to deal with costly consulting fees later
  • 4. Do your own research Online ● G2.com ● AlternativeTo.net ● ServerFault.com ● LifeHacker.com Other nonprofits (especially The Greater Sum and their partner orgs) Google search for related sites, e.g. https://www.google.com/search?q=related:bloomerang.co
  • 5. Best bet for most needs—Google GSuite Email, calendaring, contacts, files (Drive), productivity (Docs, Sheets, Slides) And it’s free for registered 501c3 non-profits. Microsoft Office 365 is another option If you need super secure communications: ProtonMail and Signal For other software/tech needs: TechSoup.org
  • 6. Team communications Basecamp is a good choice; I’ve used it personally and can recommend it. Asana, which I use for my personal task lists Trello Slack …
  • 7. Back up, back up, BACK UP! For any data that would be a regrettable loss, have 3 copies 1. A working copy 2. A local backup ( important for huge files that take a long time to transfer) 3. An offsite backup (cloud) Lots of cloud sync options: Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Box.com… I use and recommend Resilio Sync for both on- and off-site backup.
  • 8. Everyone should use a password manager Do NOT put your passwords in a spreadsheet! Please. I recommend LastPass because of the admin controls but there are others: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass… Allows you to use random super-secure passwords for all your important accounts. All you need to do is create and remember a single strong password. To do so… Take a memorable phrase (like a quote or a line from a song) and encode it into something that uses both upper and lower case, numbers and special characters. E.g. “Four score and seven years ago” becomes 4SCORE+VIIyrs<--
  • 9. Require 2-step authentication The best way to keep yourself and your org secure is to use an authenticator app so you need both a password and a device (mobile phone) to sign in. At a minimum, require it for Google accounts and for password manager accounts Also consider for any important accounts like finance, HR, donor data…
  • 10. Procuring high-priced tech Open box or refurbished are the best deals Blinq, eBay, Amazon Warehouse Deals (browse via The Forklift) Direct from manufacturers: Apple, Lenovo, Google… [One participant also suggested Revivn]
  • 11. Donor management Do NOT use a spreadsheet (unless you are just starting out and you have <100 donors) Salesforce has a great non-profit program but… ● it’s likely overkill for you ● the ease of use is awful You may end up spending $1000s or more on development and ongoing maintenance LiveImpact.org—all-in-one (website, donations, email, events…) Bloomerang is used by The Greater Sum. Otherwise check out G2, AlternativeTo, or other forums for recommendations.
  • 12. Open Source apps These can save you money, especially if they are only needed sparingly. Gimp (PhotoShop) Inkscape (Illustrator) Scribus (desktop publishing) But if your graphic designer is full time and asks for Adobe Suite, just buy it for them from TechSoup. Remember their time and happiness is far more valuable than whatever few hundreds of dollars you may save. (#2)
  • 13. Image editing Pixelmator ($30) and Pixelmator Pro ($40) for Mac are fantastic, and an amazing value. Can not recommend them more highly. Paint.Net for Windows is well-regarded, but I have no direct experience with it. [One participant also suggested Canva]
  • 14. VoIP VoIP (Voice over the Internet) for business phone numbers. Google Voice is a great option but there are others: Skype, Line2… (I do not recommend RingCentral. I had nothing but bad experiences with them.)
  • 15. Also mentioned during the Q&A Fonts and images https://fonts.google.com https://fontsquirrel.com https://unsplash.com https://pexels.com Event management https://hopin.to https://bigbluebutton.org https://bryanallen.com Fundraising CrowdRise Domains https://namecheap.com Email MailChimp SendGrid Constant Contact Website SquareSpace Wix
  • 16. For more information it4np.com is a blog I created to put info like this and more up for public consumption. I haven’t been updating it much lately, but there’s good stuff in the archives. Online ● G2.com ● AlternativeTo.net ● ServerFault.com ● LifeHacker.com Google related site search, e.g. https://www.google.com/search?q=related:bloomerang.co