Upgrade your web and data arsenal

Imagine a scene from a Hollywood WWII movie about D-Day.  The landing craft hits the beach under murderous enemy fire.  The ramp lowers down to reveal a platoon of grim, determined GIs ready to charge forward courageously – while bearing a motley assortment of rifles, pick-axes, rocket launchers, cross-bows, machine guns, and spears.

That is my picture (albeit somewhat caricatured) of how many nonprofits are using web technology.  Compared to the high quality of the causes and staff involved, nonprofit use of web technology is uneven and often lagging.  I find it regrettable that some of our “best and brightest” are charging into battle so disadvantaged – and unnecessarily so.

Here are some ideas and resources out there to upgrade your web arsenal – some of them free, many of them low cost, all of them likely to pay for themselves when it comes to efficiency and effectiveness. 

Using Salesforce for more than fundraising

In the last five years, the Salesforce platform has transformed many nonprofits’ internal operations.  Its cutting edge features combined with its free (FREE!) cost to most nonprofits have dramatically upgraded many fundraising operations.  The next frontier: using Salesforce for more than just fundraising.  Read more.

Help! We don’t appear until page 12!

Without using your agency’s name, enter descriptive words into Google.  Where does your organization come up?  Here’s a good primer on the black arts of “search engine optimization.”  Read more.

Google Apps for Nonprofits

Speaking of Google, the company just launched its offering of office applications for nonprofits.  If you’re still struggling with IT issues that have to do with hosting email, documents, and other applications on your self-maintained server, you should definitely check out their “cloud” solution (which is also mostly free).    Read more.

Online giving – the wave is only just starting

The introduction of any new technology often comes in a deceptive pattern: sudden appearance, hyped up claims, rush to early adoption, disappointed results, inattention by early adopters, market finally catching up, early adopters scrambling to catch the real wave.If you feel you already invested in online giving efforts, have been disappointed by tepid results, and are now tempted to inattention on this front, I think you’re at risk of missing the real wave.  The market is finally catching up.  Read more.

Social media seminar for seminar haters

If you’re like me, you learn better on your own, at your own pace, and from reading vs.  listening.  Not everyone is that way, but for those of us like that, attending seminars to learn about social media for nonprofits is pretty inefficient.  As an alternative, check out Hands-On Social Marketing: A Step-by-Step Guide to Designing Change for Good.  It’s expensive, but it is a good introduction with decent worksheets and best of all, you don’t have to wear a name tag while going through it.  Read more.

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