An Accidental Techie’s Guide to IT Success


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Are you the most tech savvy person at your nonprofit? Do you suddenly find yourself in charge of tech projects, like managing your nonprofit’s website, social media, CRM and emails? Are you often overwhelmed because you don’t have an IT background? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Tierney Smith (TechSoup Canada) and Charity Gaspar (Community Living North Halton) will help you, the accidental techie, learn how to successfully manage your nonprofit’s IT projects -- all without a background in tech.

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An Accidental Techie’s Guide to IT Success

  1. 1. Toronto Net Tuesday An Accidental Techie’s Guide to IT Success May 13, 2014 with Tierney Smith and Charity Gaspar
  2. 2. Speakers Tierney Smith  Program Manager at TechSoup Canada  Extensive speaking and writing experience in nonprofit technology  Background in software engineering Charity Gaspar  Executive Assistant at Community Living North Halton (CLNH)  20+ years of nonprofit experience & is a nptech advocate  Responsible for implementing 10+ tech projects at CLNH
  3. 3. Tips for Accidental Techies May 13, 2014 with
  4. 4. Planning Implementation Source: Idealware ( steps-of-planning-a-successful-technology-project.aspx)
  5. 5. Planning Identify Goals Define Needs Consider Improving Processes Explore options & make decision
  6. 6. Maytree’s CRM Identify Goals • Track all contacts in a single system that is consistent, accurate and up-to-date • Build institutional memory • Engage constituents in Maytree’s work Define Needs • All staff can add & update contacts • Track events and attendees • Track speaking engagements and topics Consider Improving Processes • Previously, speaking engagements were not tracked consistently • Reduce data entry by integrating with Eventbrite Explore options & make decision • Evaluated Salesforce, Sumac and SugarCRM • Tested out each system, spoke to other nonprofits who used it and compared the features and cost
  7. 7. Maytree’s advice  Take the time to determine YOUR needs  Do your research  Don’t let yourself be drawn in by a sales pitch  Plan for phases of implementation  Creates space to deal with unpredictable issues  Allows you to be realistic about money and time available Learn more:
  8. 8. Implementation Implement & Configure Data Migration Define Usage & Support Train Users Measure & Check In
  9. 9. TechSoup Canada’s website upgrade Implement & Configure •Polish tech team developed new version of website & database •Ongoing communication to track issues & bugs Data Migration •Met early in the project to discuss data challenges •Created a strategy for dealing with problematic data Define Usage & Support •With tech team, created a process for what to do when the website is down •Tool for raising bugs and feature requests •Defined new processes Train Users •Involved staff in testing new system to build familiarity •Training session at team meeting to review new processes Measure & Check In •Periodic communication with tech team about future upgrades
  10. 10. TechSoup Canada’s advice  Maintain good communication with tech team  Ask for explanations in language you understand  Meet in person or use screen sharing to get on the same page  Allow time for training and adoption  If possible, have an in-house expert to answer questions and communicate with tech team  Be patient – almost no one likes change!
  11. 11. Questions? Comments? @techsoupcanada
  12. 12. Change is a four letter word! Every 2 years “office” technology advances Human Service front line staff (and managers) aren’t hired for their administrative or IT skills. Agencies know and understand the importance of technology but are restricted by budget and mission. Challenges
  13. 13. The balance between IT needs and mission is constantly in flux. How can we achieve our mission if our computers and/or email are unreliable? IT needs in non-profits is reactionary - it breaks, we fix it or replace it. We need to be as proactive about IT as we are about our client needs. Is innovation in your mission/vision/values? Innovation can’t be just about client support, innovation is about thinking outside the box. Innovation is about change. IT & Mission
  14. 14. • New Server, desktops and laptops • Upgrade mobile phones from flip to touch screen • Going Google • Upgraded from XP to Windows 7 • Switched to VoIP phone system on site • Install and setup Video Conference equipment with OTN • Complete website re-design • Started social media (Facebook and Twitter) • Moved from traditional paper newsletter to e-News • Started using QR images in print materials In past 12 months:
  15. 15. Catalyst – BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH! Make the choice – Outlook vs. Google “Sell it” - to Management with a proposal - to staff with a positive attitude and humour Timeline – work from the goal Communicate – different strokes: Memo, Memes, U-Tube, Screen Shots, Workshop, 1:1 Roll out – What will work for your group? CLNH Going Google
  16. 16. 1. Anticipate the challenges and questions - fear of change - fear of not being as confident or productive - develop solutions for groups (different strokes) 2. Focus on the positive - have responses ready “yeah but did you know we’ll be able to __________” 3. Let them know you understand 4. Celebrate!
  17. 17. COMING SOON! CLNH is switching email providers from Sunny Oasis to Google Apps For Business. What is Google Apps for Business? It’s software! Email (“Gmail”), calendar and contacts that are stored offsite and in the “Cloud”. What does this mean for you? 1. Your email will remain the same: 2. Your email history, contacts and email folders will be moved from Outlook to Gmail. 3. You will be able to access your emails, contacts and calendar from your phone – even a Blackberry. I will assist anyone who requires help to set this up. 4. You will access your email through Google, not Outlook. When will it happen? 1. The transfer will happen the night of Monday, July 8th. 2. Tuesday, July 9th you will start using Gmail for all outgoing and new incoming emails (past emails will take a day or so to transfer over, but we do not anticipate any “down time” or missed emails). 3. Prior to the transfer I will send you a link to access your email via Gmail, along with your username and password. How can you prepare? 1. Please view the video and slide show via the links on page 2 of this memo 2. Read the emails I’ll be sending out over the next couple weeks re. the cool features and benefits Memo
  18. 18. Meme It Communicate a potentially difficult idea with a simple visual and phrase. Visual Quick To the point
  19. 19. Anticipate the challenges and questions
  20. 20. Focus on the positive
  21. 21. Let them know you understand
  22. 22. Celebrate!
  23. 23. Instructional Screen Shots
  24. 24. Memos Memes U-Tube (don’t re-invent) Screen Shots via email Workshop 1:1 What will work for your group?