Community Community7.x ProductionTechSoup to Launch New Website and Blog, 02 Nov 2017 15:14:00 GMTTechSoup_Announcements<p>(Please visit the site to view this video)</p> <p>If you&#39;re a frequent visitor to our site, you might notice a few changes in the coming weeks. That&#39;s because we&#39;re making some big improvements and are proud to announce the upcoming launch of the newly redesigned <a href="#"></a>.</p> <p>As a social enterprise, we never stop working to better serve nonprofits that share in our commitment to building a more equitable planet. In fact, TechSoup currently works with more than 965,000 NGOs in 236 countries and territories and has facilitated over $9 billion in U.S. market value of in-kind technology and funding.</p> <p>To that end, we&#39;ve created a refreshed, modern web presence to streamline access to all our traditional and beloved products and services. It will also serve as the place where TechSoup technologies and services are first announced.</p> <p>The new has been optimized for mobile devices, so you&#39;ll be able to experience all the new functionality wherever you go. We&#39;ve also built the site with accessibility in mind on several fronts. And we&#39;re launching a new blog.</p> <p>Our new website will officially go live in early November.</p> <h2>A Streamlined User Experience</h2> <p>Nonprofits who are regular visitors to TechSoup will find a streamlined catalog that makes finding product offers and solutions easier and more efficient. Additionally, the home page has been reconfigured, sending a clearer message of who we are and what we offer as an organization.</p> <p>&quot;We reduced clutter and developed a cleaner, simpler user experience with more breathing room in the interface to encourage users to do what they are intended to do on the site,&quot; says TechSoup head of user experience Tyler Benari. &quot;It will now be easier to benefit from offerings available in and out of our catalog, interact with others in the nonprofit community, and gain access to other TechSoup services.&quot;</p> <h2>Maximized for Mobile</h2> <p>TechSoup&#39;s updated website will be maximized for mobile devices, allowing nonprofit staffers to take advantage of the many offers on right from their phone or tablet.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s an exciting time,&quot; Benari says. &quot;We will now be able to literally get TechSoup into more people&#39;s hands. Redesigning the site to be more mobile-friendly will allow us to grow our community much faster and better serve the existing nonprofits we love so much.&quot;</p> <h2>Improved Accessibility</h2> <p>The newly redesigned also features greater accessibility and is informed by <a href="#">Web Content Accessibility 2.0 Guidelines</a> (WCAG).</p> <p>&quot;TechSoup cares very much about accessibility and enabling access for all people,&quot; Benari says, describing two key factors that have been improved upon: contrast and code. &quot;Our new color scheme makes it easier for people with impaired vision to access content on the site, and our code was updated to better communicate with screen readers.&quot;</p> <h2>A New Blog Platform</h2> <p>Finally, we&#39;re excited to introduce our new blog, more suited to integrate existing content in a single, easy-to-access location. We&#39;ve given the platform an upgrade, complete with a fresh look and improved functionality aimed to make blog posts more easily shareable and to promote a more robust multimedia experience.</p> <p>You&#39;ll continue to see improvements in the coming months as we receive feedback from the communities we serve. Also, be on the lookout for more information surrounding the new site, including a webinar and short video.</p> <p><span style="display:none;" title="" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Improve Your Fundraising Approach and Skills at NetSquared Meetups, 02 Oct 2017 13:37:00 GMTElijah-van-der-Giessen<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="NetSquared groups meeting in Rwanda and Kenya" height="297" border="0" width="594" /></a></p> <p>Fall has arrived, and with it comes fundraising season. More than one-third of charitable giving happens in the last <a href="#">three months of the year</a>, and the emergence of <a href="#">Giving Tuesday</a> (on November 28 this year) makes the year&#39;s end even more critical for <a href="">charities</a>.</p> <p>Feeling overwhelmed? Your local NetSquared group is here to help with free, in-person events being held across the U.S. and the globe.</p> <p>Naples, Florida, is hosting a meetup on <a href="#">tools for effective email fundraising</a>; Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, is hosting a series of <a href="#">Giving Tuesday brainstorming sessions</a>; and Chicago, Illinois, will explore <a href="#">how your CRM can save end-of-year fundraising plans</a>.</p> <p>With more than 75 events scheduled for October, there&#39;s probably an event scheduled for your community, so RSVP now for one of our meetups.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Join us!</a></p> <h2 id="upcomingevents">Upcoming Tech4Good Events</h2> <p>This roundup of face-to-face nonprofit tech events includes meetups from <a href="#">NetSquared</a>, NTEN&#39;s <a href="#">Tech Clubs</a>, and other awesome organizations. If you&#39;re holding monthly events that gather the #nptech community, <a href="#">let me know</a>, and I&#39;ll include you in the next community calendar, or <a href="#">apply today</a> to start your own NetSquared group.</p> <!-- Add location index to next month, like in Check each month that there are events in each region, and comment out the un-necessary regions. The link need to be like so: <a href="">Africa</a> The targets need to be linked like so: <a name="pookie"></a> --> <p><strong>Jump to events in</strong> <a href="">North America</a> or go international with events in</p> <ul> <li><a href="">Africa and Middle East</a></li> <li><a href="">Asia and Pacific Rim</a></li> <li><a href="">Central and South America</a></li> <li><a href="">Europe and U.K.</a></li> </ul> <!-- TARGET END LINKS ## <a name="central">Central and South America</a> ## <a name="north">North America</a> ## <a name="africa">Africa</a> ## <a name="europe">Europe</a> ## <a name=“asia">Asia and Pacific Rim</a> --> <h2 id="anamenorthnorthamericaa"><a name="north"></a>North America</h2> <p><strong>Monday, October 2, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Vancouver, British Columbia: <a href="#">Photojournalism for Nonprofits and Small Businesses #Storymakers2017</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 3, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Portland, Oregon <ul> <li><a href="#">Happy Hour with Nonprofit Tech Luminaries</a></li> <li><a href="#">NTEN Presents: Oregon Nonprofit Tech Roundup</a></li> </ul> </li> <li>Montr&eacute;al, Qu&eacute;bec: <a href="#">D&eacute;velopper une Pr&eacute;sence Web Efficace</a></li> <li>Naples, Florida: <a href="#">Tools for Effective Email Communication</a></li> <li>Mason, Ohio: <a href="#">Connecting Nonprofits and Techies in Cincinnati</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 4, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: <a href="#">Bagels and Bytes &mdash; Allegheny</a></li> <li>Baltimore, Maryland: <a href="#">WordPress 101 and Tech Help and Consultations</a></li> <li>San Francisco, California: <a href="#">Code for America Civic Hack Night (Weekly)</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday, October 5, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Calgary, Alberta: <a href="#">Evening on Data Ethics</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday, October 6, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Seattle, Washington: <a href="#">King County Executive Director Forum</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Monday, October 9, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: <a href="#">Giving Tuesday Brainstorming</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 10, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Columbus, Ohio: <a href="#">Nonprofit IT Forum</a></li> <li>Decatur, Illinois: <a href="#">Free and Low-Cost Resources for Nonprofit Software</a></li> <li>Ottawa, Ontario: <a href="#">Review Progress on Data Analysis Projects</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 11, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Mason, Ohio: <a href="#">Help Create an App for Homeless to Manage Money More Effectively</a></li> <li>San Francisco, California: <a href="#">Code for America Civic Hack Night (Weekly)</a></li> <li>Boston, Massachusetts: <a href="#">Tech Networks of Boston Roundtable: Building an Effective Data Culture at Your Nonprofit</a></li> <li>O&rsquo;Fallon, Missouri: <a href="#">Learn How to Apply for a $10,000 per Month Google AdWords Grant</a></li> <li>Phoenix, Arizona: <a href="#">Website Building 101: Quick and Easy Web Presence for Nonprofits</a></li> <li>Los Angeles, California: <a href="#">Nonprofit Volunteer Management</a></li> <li>Chicago, Illinois: <a href="#">Net Neutrality</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday, October 12, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Chicago, Illinois: <a href="#">It&#39;s Never Too Late: How Your CRM Can Save End-of-Year Fundraising</a></li> <li>Seattle, Washington: <a href="#">What You Need to Know About Board Governance</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Saturday, October 14, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Saint Paul, Minnesota: <a href="#">Minnesota Blogger Conference | by Get Social Events, the Social Media Breakfast Folks ($25)</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Monday, October 16, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>San Francisco, California: <a href="#">Social Impact in Tech: Panel Discussion with LinkedIn, Lyft, and Salesforce</a></li> <li>Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: <a href="#">Giving Tuesday Brainstorming</a></li> <li>Seattle, Washington: <a href="#">Fall Nonprofit Technology Speed Geek</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 17, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Buffalo, New York: <a href="#">Essential Data Management</a></li> <li>Orlando, Florida: <a href="#">Tech4Good Orlando October: Search Engine Optimization and Strategy</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 18, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>San Francisco, California: <a href="#">Code for America Civic Hack Night (Weekly)</a></li> <li>Houston, Texas: <a href="#">NetSquared Houston</a></li> <li>Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: <a href="#">Crowdsourcing Change: The Social Web to Nonprofits</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday, October 19, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Monroeville, Pennsylvania: <a href="#">TechNow 2017 Conference</a></li> <li>Sweet Briar, Virginia: <a href="#">Using Data to Reach Your Audience</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday, October 20, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>West Chester, Ohio: <a href="#">Southwest Ohio Give Camp</a></li> <li>Boston, Massachusetts: <a href="#">Tech Networks of Boston Roundtable: Can Appmaker Help You? A Free Database Tool from Google</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Monday, October 23, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: <a href="#">Giving Tuesday Brainstorming</a></li> <li>Austin, Texas: <a href="#">Engaging the Millennial Donor</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 24, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Vancouver, British Columbia: <a href="#">How Delivering Webinars Can Benefit Your Mission</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 25, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Baltimore, Maryland: <a href="#">Salesforce 101 for Nonprofits and Free Tech Help and Guidance</a></li> <li>San Francisco, California: <a href="#">Code for America Civic Hack Night (Weekly)</a></li> <li>Seattle, Washington: <a href="#">Recruit, Engage, and Retain a Great Board</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Monday, October 30, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin: <a href="#">Giving Tuesday Brainstorming</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 31, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Seattle, Washington: <a href="#">Bolder and Wiser: Nonprofit Advocacy Rights (Part 2)</a></li> </ul> <h2 id="anamecentralcentralandsouthamericaa"><a name="central"></a>Central and South America</h2> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 4, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Guatemala City, Guatemala: <a href="#">Pechakucha Guatemala &mdash; Historias Digitales Vol. 15</a></li> </ul> <h2 id="anameafricaafricamiddleeasta"><a name="africa"></a>Africa and Middle East</h2> <p><strong>Sunday, October 1, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Cotonou, Benin: <a href="#">L&#39;Utilit&eacute; des Logiciels de TechSoup dans la Progression d Nos ONG dans le Monde</a></li> <li>Kampala, Uganda: <a href="#">Digital Storytelling for Nonprofits Workshop</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Monday, October 2, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: <a href="#">Monthly Meeting of Local Members</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Saturday, October 7, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Matloding, South Africa: <a href="#">Technology for Rural Development</a></li> <li>Bunda, Tanzania: <a href="#">Microsoft Cloud Computing</a></li> <li>Morogoro, Tanzania: <a href="#">Role of ICT for Farm Management</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 11, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bamenda, Cameroon: <a href="#">How to Create Digital Stories</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday, October 13, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Katabi, Uganda: <a href="#">Using Social Media Applications for Development</a></li> <li>Pangani, Tanzania: <a href="#">Storymakers Campaign</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Saturday, October 14, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bunda, Tanzania: <a href="#">Microsoft Cloud Computing</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Sunday, October 15, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Cotonou, Benin: <a href="#">Les Logiciels Mis en Don par pour les ONG et Association au Benin</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Saturday, October 21, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bunda, Tanzania: <a href="#">Microsoft Cloud Computing</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Saturday, October 28, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bunda, Tanzania: <a href="#">Microsoft Cloud Computing</a></li> <li>Morogoro, Tanzania: <a href="#">Technology for Livelihood Improvement</a></li> </ul> <h2><a name="asia"></a>Asia and Pacific Rim</h2> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 3, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Taipei, Taiwan: <a href="#">NGO要怎麼搞群眾募資?- 綠盟經驗談</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 4, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Singapore, Singapore: <a href="#">DataJam!</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 10, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Wellington, New Zealand: <a href="#">Set Your Email Newsletter on Fire | Net2Welly Oct &#39;17 Meetup</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Sunday, October 15, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Jakarta, Indonesia: <a href="#">Web Hosting</a></li> </ul> <h2><a name="europe"></a>Europe and U.K.</h2> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 3, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Paris, France: <a href="#">AdWords Express &mdash; Grands D&eacute;butants</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 4, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Puidoux, Switzerland: <a href="#">7&egrave;me Journ&eacute;e P&eacute;dagogique ESV-SPV (AVMES/AVMD)</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Friday, October 6, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Carouge, Switzerland: <a href="#">12h de Hackaton pour Afficher les Termes et Conditions, Que Vous Ne Lirez Jamais</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Saturday, October 7, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Gen&egrave;ve, Switzerland: <a href="#">LINforum3 Partage Id&eacute;e, R&eacute;flexion, Projet, Startup, Service &hellip; Responsables!</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 11, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Cambridge, United Kingdom: <a href="#">Social Media Surgery &mdash; Hands-on Help with Social Media</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday, October 12, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Paris, France: <a href="#">La Data pour Vous Renforcer</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Saturday, October 14, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Pully, Switzerland: <a href="#">Intergen.Digital &agrave; Pully</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Monday, October 16, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Birmingham, United Kingdom: <a href="#">Social Media Session</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 17, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Dublin, Ireland: <a href="#">Smart Cities for Good</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 18, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Paris, France: <a href="#">Forum National des Associations et des Fondations</a></li> <li>Bordeaux, France: <a href="#">Les Personas pour Optimiser Votre Conversion</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday, October 19, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bath, United Kingdom: <a href="#">Tech for Good Community Mapping</a></li> <li>Paris, France: <a href="#">Brainstorming, Plans d&#39;Actions sur Internet</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Wednesday, October 25, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Manchester, United Kingdom: <a href="#">Tech for Good: At the BBC</a></li> <li>Paris, France: <a href="#">AdWords &ndash; Initiation</a></li> <li>Paudex, Switzerland: <a href="#">RdV4&ndash; 3. Solutions Informatiques &mdash; Cloud &mdash; SaaS &mdash; Services en Ligne</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Thursday, October 26, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Barcelona, Spain: <a href="#">&iexcl;Relanzamos NetSquared Barcelona! &iexcl;Te Esperamos!</a></li> <li>Paris, France: <a href="#">Analytics &mdash; Initiation</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Tuesday, October 31, 2017</strong></p> <ul> <li>Renens, Switzerland: <a href="#">OpenLab: Visite du Fablab de Renens</a></li> </ul> <p><em><a href="#">Left photo</a>: Gregory Munyaneza / NetSquared Rwanda / <a href="#">CC BY</a><br /></em></p> <p><em><a href="#">Center photo</a>:&nbsp;Chrispin Okumu / NetSquared Kenya<em>&nbsp;/&nbsp;<a href="#">CC BY</a></em><br /></em></p> <p><em><a href="#">Right photo</a>:&nbsp;Chrispin Okumu / NetSquared Kenya<em>&nbsp;/&nbsp;<a href="#">CC BY</a></em><br /></em></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Nonprofit Harnesses Tech to Plant Tens of Thousands of Trees, 28 Sep 2017 19:35:00 GMTmollybacon<p>(Please visit the site to view this video)</p> <p><span>What does it take to make a city greener? In San Francisco, it took a small group of motivated people to come together to create a nonprofit. After the city cut funding for urban forestry 36 years ago, seven individuals decided to take matters into their own hands. They created a nonprofit, </span><span><a href="#"><span>Friends of the Urban Forest</span></a></span><span> (FUF).</span><span></span></p> <h2>Starting with a Small Budget, FUF Plants Nearly Half San Francisco&#39;s Street Trees</h2> <p><span>The organization started off with just a small budget from a leftover city grant. Then it used grassroots efforts to rally neighborhoods throughout the city around urban trees. By empowering and supporting communities and homeowners to plant and care for their own trees, FUF has successfully planted </span><b><span>60,000 of the 125,000 trees in San Francisco. </span></b><span>The group eventually even worked with the city to create San Francisco&#39;s first ever </span><span><a href="#"><span>Urban Forest Plan</span></a></span><span>.</span><span></span></p> <h2>FUF Harnesses the Power of Many Volunteers to Plant and Advocate for Trees</h2> <p><a href=""><img src="" border="0" alt="Image of Dan Callahan speaking to volunteers who helped in planting thousands of trees" /></a></p> <p>FUF is a member of <a href="#">TechSoup</a>, and TechSoup&#39;s staffers were very excited to reach out for an interview to hear more about the group&#39;s impact. My team joined FUF early on a Saturday morning for its volunteer tree planting event in the Portola neighborhood, a part of the city that is lacking street trees. It was cold even by San Francisco standards, but there was an impressive turnout of volunteers present and ready to plant.</p> <p><span>The executive director of FUF, </span><span>Dan </span><span>Flanagan, joined us and told us about his work. &quot;We get to get out in the city and make it greener. We advocate for trees; I always call ourselves the Lorax of San Francisco. We are the only organization in San Francisco that is speaking for the trees.&quot; </span><span></span></p> <h2>FUF Gets the Chance to Plant Even More Trees &hellip; in Neighborhoods That Really Need Them</h2> <p><span>Dan was excited about a recent accomplishment for the organization. San Francisco just passed Proposition E, which opens up major opportunities for the nonprofit. As he said, &quot;It changes the responsibility from street trees and sidewalks away from the homeowners and to the city. As a result, homeowners are no longer responsible, and now we actually get a chance to make the city more green than ever before by planting more trees in neighborhoods that couldn&#39;t afford it before.&quot; </span></p> <p><span>This policy makes the city responsible for maintenance, but it will still require FUF to continue its work of planting the trees. FUF hopes to plant 1,700 trees this year and ultimately hopes to plant 3,000 trees every year.</span></p> <h2>FUF Puts Technology from TechSoup to Work</h2> <p><span>I was curious to find out how FUF was using technology to further its mission. Jason Boyce, individual gifts manager, said: &quot;</span><span>Here at Friends of the Urban Forest, a lot of our field staff tend to be out in the field all day; technology really needs to be out of the way to allow us to plant. So, as a result, the relationships we build with our community tend to be stronger because we use technology to enable our work, but it doesn&#39;t get in the way of our work.&quot; </span></p> <p><span>Jason explained, &quot;We have been working with ArcMap for years, ... GIS software that TechSoup has provided for us. We use it to plant trees, to figure out where we are going to plant. When we do our plantings, we actually dole out the maps that our volunteers use to do the plantings, and all that comes through ArcMap. We use </span><span><a href="#"><b><span>Adobe Acrobat</span></b></a></span><span> to put together our tree manuals for our new tree owners and volunteer manuals. We use </span><span><a href="#"><b><span>AutoCAD</span></b></a></span><span> to put together the permit drawings for our sidewalk gardens. Technology plays a really important role in doing our plantings and making San Francisco more green.&quot;</span><span></span></p> <h2>FUF Partners with the City to Calculate the Environmental Benefits of Trees</h2> <p><span>Jason also recently worked <span>with the city</span> on the </span><span><a href="#"><span>Urban Forest Map</span></a></span><span>, which is an interactive online map that tracks every tree in San Francisco. The map helps calculate the environmental benefits the trees provide, including stormwater mitigation, air pollutants captured, and carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. This platform has increased the visibility of the city&#39;s urban forest. </span></p> <p><span>As Jason said, &quot;We are now at the forefront of cities worldwide that are building software to manage their urban forests. &hellip; [This] really gives a lot of benefit to the people living in San Francisco.&quot;</span><span></span></p> <p><span>TechSoup is proud to support organizations like Friends of the Urban Forest by enabling them with the technology they need. That support gives them more time to focus on their impact, like planting trees, or to build the communities that help them thrive.</span><span></span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" title="" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>For Grantseeking, a Nonprofit's Age Matters — but It Isn't Everything, 19 Sep 2017 13:59:00 GMTEllen-Mowrer<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Banner with the text 'A Nonprofit's Age Matters, but It Isn't Everything' and an illustration of different types of trees (representing nonprofits) with leaves that have the $ symbol on them" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a></p> <p>I&#39;ll confess &mdash; I am much closer to age 60 than I am to age 50, and my knees remind me of this daily. Our human infrastructure wears out as we grow older. For nonprofit organizations, it is usually the opposite &mdash; their strength and infrastructure increase in health as they grow older.</p> <h2>Younger Organizations Face More Challenges in Grantseeking</h2> <p>Younger organizations tend to find grantseeking much more challenging than do older organizations. This isn&#39;t because younger organizations are less worthy, less committed to their mission, or less able.</p> <p>It&#39;s because they have smaller budgets. Those smaller budgets translate to smaller staff sizes or heavier reliance on volunteers for all facets of program management, which result in less consistency in grantseeking.</p> <h2>Be Consistent and Bold in Your Grantseeking</h2> <p>Ralph Waldo Emerson gave consistency a bad rap when he said, &quot;A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.&quot; Successful grantseekers adore consistency, at least when it comes to developing a grant strategy, maintaining a grantseeking calendar, and gathering and polishing the basic documents for grant writing.</p> <p>Now, we at GrantStation do suggest that you take a bold approach to your grantseeking. In fact, our founder and CEO, Cynthia Adams, has a <a href="#">free recorded webinar</a> on how grantseeking has changed over the past several years. She states that funders are looking for those organizations that demonstrate intentional movement toward substantial and sustainable change. But &mdash; and this is important &mdash; we also espouse consistency in creating a grantseeking infrastructure.</p> <h2>Older Organizations Seek and Get More Grants</h2> <p>So, what does this consistent but bold grant management strategy have to do with age? I&#39;m glad you asked! Here are some interesting data points from our most recent <i>State of Grantseeking&trade; Report</i>:</p> <table class="basetable text" style="width:509px;" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody> <tr><th colspan="2" valign="bottom" width="235" nowrap="nowrap">Organizational Age</th><th valign="bottom" width="83">Median Annual Budget</th><th valign="bottom" width="64">Over 25 Staff Members</th><th valign="bottom" width="64">Applied for Grants</th><th valign="bottom" width="64">Received an Award</th></tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="135" nowrap="nowrap">Very Young</td> <td valign="bottom" width="100" nowrap="nowrap">0 &ndash; 5 years</td> <td valign="bottom" width="83" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">$146,500</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p style="text-align:right;" align="right">6%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">68%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">60%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="135" nowrap="nowrap">Young</td> <td valign="bottom" width="100" nowrap="nowrap">6 &ndash; 10 years</td> <td valign="bottom" width="83" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">$247,000</p> </td> <td style="text-align:center;" valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">12%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">80%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">73%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="135" nowrap="nowrap">Younger Middle Age</td> <td valign="bottom" width="100" nowrap="nowrap">11 &ndash; 25 years</td> <td valign="bottom" width="83" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">$470,800</p> </td> <td style="text-align:center;" valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">14%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">82%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">80%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="135" nowrap="nowrap">Older Middle Age</td> <td valign="bottom" width="100" nowrap="nowrap">26 &ndash; 50 years</td> <td valign="bottom" width="83" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">$1,600,000</p> </td> <td style="text-align:center;" valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">38%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">90%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">90%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="135" nowrap="nowrap">Mature</td> <td valign="bottom" width="100" nowrap="nowrap">51 &ndash; 100 years</td> <td valign="bottom" width="83" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">$4,092,900</p> </td> <td style="text-align:center;" valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">63%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">86%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">88%</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="135" nowrap="nowrap">Very Mature</td> <td valign="bottom" width="100" nowrap="nowrap">Over 100 years</td> <td valign="bottom" width="83" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">$12,000,000</p> </td> <td style="text-align:center;" valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">78%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">92%</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="64" nowrap="nowrap"> <p align="right">90%</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>As you can see, grantseeking activity increases after an organization&#39;s fifth birthday, and grantseeking success increases for organizations 26 years of age or older. This increase in success coincides with increases in staff members who can dedicate themselves to the process and have an annual budget sufficient to support them.</p> <p>Here&#39;s another metric, which I think may prove useful to the grantseekers for younger organizations. When the source of the largest individual award is viewed through the lens of organizational age, variations in funding rates become apparent. Private foundations were the most frequent funder reported by organizations of any age.</p> <h2>Younger Organizations Get Grants from Community Foundations, Corporations, and &quot;Other&quot; Sources</h2> <p>But younger organizations shouldn&#39;t despair. Community foundations, corporations, and other grant sources tended to fund younger organizations. Those other grant sources include religious organizations, the United Way, donor advised funds, civic organizations, and tribal funds. So, for example, your local Moose, Elks, or Lions clubs may be more willing to invest locally in your younger organization.</p> <table class="basetable text" style="width:592px;" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="0"> <tbody> <tr><th valign="bottom" width="184">Largest Award</th><th valign="bottom" width="67">Median Largest Award</th><th valign="bottom" width="50">Very Young</th><th valign="bottom" width="50">Young</th><th valign="bottom" width="50">Younger Middle Age</th><th valign="bottom" width="50">Older Middle Age</th><th valign="bottom" width="50">Mature</th><th valign="bottom" width="50">Very Mature</th></tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="184" nowrap="nowrap"> <p>Private Foundation Grants</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="67" nowrap="nowrap">$30,000</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">37%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">50%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">43%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">33%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">41%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">33%</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="184" nowrap="nowrap"> <p>Community Foundation Grants</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="67" nowrap="nowrap">$25,000</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">18%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">12%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">9%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">10%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">7%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">8%</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="184" nowrap="nowrap"> <p>Corporate Grants</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="67" nowrap="nowrap">$20,000</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">18%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">11%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">11%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">10%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">12%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">9%</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="184" nowrap="nowrap"> <p>Federal Grants</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="67" nowrap="nowrap">$250,000</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">4%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">9%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">12%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">19%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">21%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">28%</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="184" nowrap="nowrap"> <p>State Grants</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="67" nowrap="nowrap">$109,625</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">8%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">10%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">10%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">14%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">9%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">18%</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="184" nowrap="nowrap"> <p>Local Government Grants</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="67" nowrap="nowrap">$50,000</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">5%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">4%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">8%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">10%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">5%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">4%</td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="bottom" width="184" nowrap="nowrap"> <p>Other Grant Sources</p> </td> <td valign="bottom" width="67" nowrap="nowrap">$25,000</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">11%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">3%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">7%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">4%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">5%</td> <td valign="bottom" width="50" nowrap="nowrap">1%</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>Get and Give More Information About Grantseeking</h2> <p>If you are interested in more benchmarks, we offer <a href="#">free State of Grantseeking Reports here</a>. And of course, we&#39;d be honored if you would take the time to <a href="#">participate in the Fall 2017 State of Grantseeking Survey</a>, which ends on September 30.</p> <h2>Take Advantage of $99 GrantStation and a Free Funding Research E-Book</h2> <p>If you want to use GrantStation as a tool in your organization&#39;s grant strategy, <a href="#">TechSoup is offering a full GrantStation membership</a> for just $99 for three days this month: September 26 through 28.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Check out GrantStation</a></p> <p>Plus, to say &quot;thank you&quot; for being part of the GrantStation community, you will receive a free download of Cynthia Adams&#39; new book, <i>Bold Is Gold: A Funding Research Primer</i>. We hope that it will give you some new ideas and help you develop your own bold approach to identifying grantmakers for your good work.</p> <p>We look forward to you joining us as a GrantStation member &mdash; and to GrantStation becoming one of your tools to fund your administrative costs and programs.</p> <h2>Learn More About Finding Grant Funding with These Great Webinars</h2> <p>On <b>September 20</b>, learn how to get started with grantseeking and make your grant requests sparkle. This free 90-minute webinar for TechSoup&#39;s audience (normally $89!) will help you prepare the basic documents needed to write compelling letters of inquiry and grant proposals.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Make your grant proposals sparkle</a></p> <p>On <b>September 21</b>, learn how to build a winning grants strategy. In this free webinar (normally $69), GrantStation CEO Cynthia Adams will lead you through creating a grants calendar for the next 12 to 18 months.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Build a winning grants strategy</a></p> <p>On <b>September 26</b>, get a free tour of the GrantStation website. This tour will provide tips on the most effective way to use all of the valuable resources the website offers, including extensive funder databases that can help you identify the grantmakers most likely to fund your programs or projects.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Learn how to leverage GrantStation</a></p> <p>On <b>September 27</b>, learn how to be bold when conducting your funding research. Grantseeking has changed over the past several years. Funders are looking for those organizations that demonstrate intentional movement toward substantial and sustainable change. &quot;It is time for grantseekers to be bold in their requests,&quot; says GrantStation&#39;s CEO and founder Cynthia Adams.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Hone your research approach</a></p> <p><span style="display:none;" title="" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>6 Tips to Improve Your Next Fundraising Campaign Using Digital Storytelling, 12 Sep 2017 15:01:00 GMTmstein<p><span><a href=""><img src="" alt="person holding a magnet that's attracting positive emotions; person storytelling; gears; clock; globe; megaphone" height="297" border="0" width="594" /></a><br /></span></p> <p><span>Storytelling is the currency of fundraising. In the digital environment of email, social media, and mobile, we can use storytelling in innovative ways to inspire supporters and donors &mdash; and raise more money.</span></p> <p><span>Photos, videos, selfies, and personal stories allow us to embed emotional content in fundraising campaigns. They also invite our supporters and donors to be more deeply involved in our fundraising campaigns.</span></p> <p><span>Below are six tips for nonprofits that want to use digital storytelling to engage donors and boost giving.</span></p> <h2>Tip 1: Create a Strategy</h2> <p><span>As you plan your next fundraising campaign, consider how you&#39;ll use stories as a central element of your messaging. Your goal is to create maximum emotional impact around your fundraising goal and deadline.</span></p> <h3>Ask These Questions to Start</h3> <ul> <li><span>What&#39;s the central theme of your fundraising campaign (the goal you&#39;re trying to solve, amount of funds you need to raise, giving deadline)?</span></li> <li><span>How will you tell your story to create both authenticity and urgency? </span></li> <li><span>What photos and videos can you use to tell your campaign story?</span></li> <li><span>How will you encourage supporters and donors to make a gift? What tactics will push people to give (a match, or a deadline)?</span></li> <li><span>How can you encourage donors to share their generosity and spread the word? How can you obtain supporter-contributed content?</span></li> <li><span>How can you use your social media channels to spread the word about your fundraising campaign and showcase donor generosity?</span></li> <li><span>What previous fundraising campaigns worked best and why?</span></li> </ul> <h2>Tip 2: Use Photos to Create Emotional Impact</h2> <p><span>Photos are a central element to create emotional impact in your email appeals, on website pages, on website pop-up lightboxes, in digital advertising, and even on donation pages. </span></p> <p><span>Consider how the photo subject will reinforce the fundraising campaign message. Avoid using stock photography, since this turns off donors. Use images of volunteers whenever possible to connect with your most avid supporters.</span></p> <p><span>Here&#39;s a great example. Be the Match uses a photo of past volunteers to inspire people to sign up to raise funds:</span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="screenshot of a Be the Match volunteer photo in an email" border="0" /></a></p> <p>And here&#39;s how International Medical Corps used a photo in its website lightbox to garner support for disaster survivors:</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="photo of a child that survived a disaster in website lightbox" height="443" border="0" width="594" /></a></p> <p><span>Middle East Children&#39;s Alliance used a slideshow during its 2016 year-end campaign to share powerful images and stories of families and children who need help:</span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Middle East Children's Alliance campaign featured in a photo slideshow" height="304" border="0" width="592" /></a></p> <h2>Tip 3: Use a Photo on Your Donation Page to Inspire Giving</h2> <p><span>Featuring a good image on your donation page that captures the essence of your work can significantly improve your fundraising campaign&#39;s success. When selecting photos for donation pages, it&#39;s important that they be authentic and relevant so that they reinforce your campaign theme. Test a variety of images to figure out which one resonates best with your audience.</span></p> <p><span>Here&#39;s a great example of an authentic and relevant photo on the Doctors Without Borders donation page:</span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Doctors Without Borders donation page image of doctor helping a child" height="387" border="0" width="594" /></a></p> <p><span>If you want more ideas to improve your donation page, <span><a href="">this blog post showcases 10 tips</a></span>.</span></p> <h2>Tip 4: Create a Video to Tell Your Story</h2> <p><span>Videos allow you to bring your fundraising story to life and connect with your audience.&nbsp;Furthermore, fundraising campaigns that include a video are often more successful.</span></p> <p><span>CauseVox has assembled 15 examples of <a href="#">video storytelling</a> for online fundraising campaigns.</span></p> <p><span>TechSoup also offers an excellent resource guide for video storytelling. It&#39;s available for download on the <a href="#">Storymakers 2017</a> page.</span></p> <h3>Follow These Tips</h3> <ul> <li><span>Keep your video less than two minutes long.</span></li> <li><span>Include a screenshot of the video in your email appeals and invite people to click through to watch it. </span></li> <li><span>Post the video on your website home page and on your social media channels to build maximum visibility for your fundraising campaign. </span></li> <li><span>Include a web address at the beginning and end of the video so you can direct people to where they can make a donation.</span></li> </ul> <p><span>This fundraising appeal from SETI Institute incorporated a different short video at the top of each message, helping to tell the organization&#39;s story and ask for donations:</span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="SETI campaign page featuring a video" border="0" /></a></p> <h2>Tip 5: Encourage Photo and Video Sharing Among Your Supporters, Volunteers, and Donors</h2> <p><span>Encourage your supporters and donors to share their own photos with you during your fundraising campaign. You can ask your supporters to share their photos on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter using a hashtag. Get permission to reuse and share photos to showcase your donor generosity and encourage peer giving.</span></p> <p><span>Here&#39;s a good example: the Best Buddies Challenge promotes a hashtag for supporter-contributed photos during its annual bike ride in California to support families with children with intellectual disabilities.</span><span></span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Best Buddies Challenge subscriber photo" height="463" border="0" width="594" /></a></p> <h2>Tip 6: Use Peer-to-Peer Fundraising and Let Your Supporters Tell Their Own Stories</h2> <p><span>Create a community fundraising campaign and enroll your supporters to help you out. Supporters can create their own fundraising pages to raise money for your cause and tell their own stories about why they&#39;re involved. Encourage your fundraisers to use photos and videos to illustrate their campaign. </span></p> <p><span>For example, Children&#39;s National uses a platform that lets families raise funds for its cause.</span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="screenshot of Children's National platform" height="569" border="0" width="495" /></a></p> <h4 class="blog-h4-restyle">About the Author</h4> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Michael Stein" style="float:left;margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px;" height="151" border="0" width="130" /></a>Michael Stein has been a writer and digital strategist for progressive social causes for over two decades. He is the author of three books and numerous articles chronicling the rise of digital marketing, mobile, and online fundraising. He works as a consultant and coach to nonprofits, foundations, and educators, with a focus on marketing and fundraising in a multichannel and multiscreen world. Find Michael Stein on Twitter at @mstein63.</p> <div style="clear:both;"></div> <p><em><span>Image 1: TechSoup</span></em></p> <p><em><span>Image 2: Be the Match</span></em></p> <p><em><span>Image 3: </span></em><i>International Medical Corps</i></p> <p><i>Image 4: </i><i><span>Middle East Children&#39;s Alliance</span></i></p> <p><i><span>Image 5: </span></i><i><span>Doctors Without Borders</span></i></p> <p><i><span>Image 6: </span>SETI Institute</i></p> <p><i>Image 7: Best Buddies Challenge</i></p> <p><i><span>Image 8: Children&#39;s National</span></i></p> <p><i><span>Image 9: Michael Stein<br /></span></i></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Grant Writing and the Perfect Storytelling, 07 Sep 2017 14:09:00 GMTcindyadams<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="person writing a grant and telling a story about a baby being able to get medical care from a doctor" width="594" border="0" height="297" /></a></p> <p>I grew up on a farm in Minnesota. My mother was from the area, but my father was from Missouri. I don&#39;t know how much you know about Missouri, but I bet you know this: Missouri is the Show Me State.</p> <p>My father, however, was the &quot;tell me&quot; father. Never an evening meal went by that we weren&#39;t all encouraged to tell what happened with our day.</p> <p>It was a bit of a competition to see which one of us kids could turn our day into a hilarious adventure. Evening meals sometimes went on for hours as we continued our storytelling.</p> <p>We are surrounded by stories: our own story, the stories of our families and friends, and the stories of the work we do every day. These stories simply exist in our minds until we add language and share them with others. And, as we all know, a story you share with others has the power to change the world.</p> <p>Consider this story, which has changed state laws throughout the U.S.:</p> <p><i><span>After her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a repeat drunk driver, Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in her home on March 7, 1980. Before MADD, there were little to no legal consequences for driving while intoxicated; her organization transformed American attitudes about drunk driving and successfully fought for stricter laws across the country.&nbsp;</span></i><i><span></span></i></p> <h2>Start Your Grant Proposal with a Story</h2> <p><a href="#" title="GrantStation's $99 Fall Promotion">In need of grants for your organization? Check out GrantStation at only $99 from September 26 &ndash; 28</a>.</p> <p>So, why would we not want to use this powerful communication tool when writing grant proposals? When I began writing proposals, storytelling was the only way I knew to convey the problems my organization faced and what we were doing to overcome those problems. I figured that if I told a good story, the funder would be willing to invest in our work. It never occurred to me that there was any other way to write a grant request.</p> <p>Of course, over time, I realized the importance of documenting the problem or need, including strong objectives, a solid plan of action, and a budget that reflected the work we intended to do. But storytelling still plays a prominent role in all requests that I write.</p> <p>For decades, I have preached the importance of drawing the reader into your grant request by opening with a story. Often this idea confuses grant writers because they know they have limited space to make their case, so why waste it on storytelling?</p> <p>Telling a story doesn&#39;t have to take pages and pages of text. It can be something as simple as an opening like this (this is fiction, by the way!):</p> <p><i>In rural Boone County, West Virginia, Jennifer Massey bathes her children in contaminated water. It&#39;s either that or not bathe them at all. The well water in the remote mountain community of Prescott where she lives contains elevated levels of lead, arsenic, and manganese. Her options for clean water are limited. So, she does the best she can with the resources she can find and afford. </i></p> <p>A short vignette, such as this, will grab the reviewers&#39; attention and encourage them to learn more about the issue. The key here is to keep it short, spotlighting the problem or issue you are trying to resolve.</p> <h2>Some Winning Stories</h2> <p>Every year, <a href="#">GrantStation</a> runs a contest to uncover some of the best proposals that have been written. GrantStation then <a href="#">publishes these winning proposals</a> on its website so other grant writers can refer to them as they write their own proposals.</p> <p>The entries are judged by a panel provided via the <a href="#">Grant Professionals Association</a>. One of our winners from several years ago, who writes for a home for the elderly, submitted a stellar proposal that combined statistics and a story. She opened with statistics:</p> <p><i>Elder abuse is prevalent in (name of state). According to a 2013 study by The National Center on Elder Abuse &mdash; considered the most comprehensive, reliable study of its kind &mdash; (name of state) has more abuse cases reported to Adult Protective Services than any other state surveyed in the nation. Our state reports 24.5 cases of elder abuse per 1,000 seniors. The median across the states was 5.7 of 1,000.</i></p> <p>And then she quickly followed this set of statistics with a story:</p> <p><b><i>Anna&#39;s Story</i></b><i></i></p> <p><i>Anna had been attending an adult day center for about a year, while living in her niece&#39;s home. Over the past few months, staff had been worried about the elderly woman as she would sometimes show up with suspicious bruises on her body. Despite inquiries, staff walked a delicate balance of attributing the marks to accidents and suspecting Anna&#39;s niece of abusing her aunt. The balance shifted when Anna arrived one morning with a bloody, broken nose and a painful looking bruise on her head &hellip;</i></p> <p>This is a very tight and well thought-out opening. It is a clever use of statistics combined with a story. This opening immediately draws the reader into the situation, not only making them want to learn more, but also making them eager to help solve the problem.</p> <h2>Create Stories from Events</h2> <p>But what if you don&#39;t have a stirring story like Anna&#39;s to engage the reader?</p> <p>Sometimes you can create a story by tapping into documented events. For example, you could use a series of headlines from the local news such as this (again, fictional):</p> <ul> <li>June 9, 2017 &mdash; <i>The Daily News:&nbsp;</i><b>Shelter Takes in 87 Abandoned Dogs</b></li> <li>July 7, 2017 &mdash; <i>The Daily News:&nbsp;</i><b>Good Samaritans Aid Skeletal, Abused Dog</b></li> <li>August 4, 2017 &mdash; <i>WNGY Public Radio:&nbsp;</i><b>More than 30 German Shepherds Found Abandoned in Highland</b></li> <li>August 11, 2017 &mdash; <i>The Daily News:&nbsp;</i><b>Uncontrolled Dogs Are Creating Chaos in Our Community (Editorial)</b></li> <li>August 27, 2017 &mdash; <i>WNGY Public Radio:&nbsp;</i><b>Are Free Spay and Neuter Clinics the Answer?</b></li> </ul> <p>Obviously, this isn&#39;t a story, per se, but it tells a story, doesn&#39;t it?</p> <p>Being a little creative when trying to find a way to engage the reader sometimes pushes you into using quotes from testimonials or headlines in newspapers. You could even tap into a series of agenda items from your town council meetings.</p> <h2>Engage the Reader</h2> <p>However you approach grant writing, always consider the merits of including a story to move the reader from &quot;interested&quot; to &quot;engaged.&quot; &nbsp;I believe storytelling is one of the very best ways to capture people&#39;s attention, demonstrating the motivating, human dimensions of the problem you are facing.</p> <p>And besides, storytelling is fun!</p> <h2>Join TechSoup&#39;s Storymakers Challenge</h2> <p>From September 5 to October 31, TechSoup is putting on Storymakers, a digital storytelling challenge. Submit your nonprofit&#39;s video or photo for a chance to win cash prizes!</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Learn about Storymakers</a></p> <p><i><span><a href=""><img src="" alt="GrantStation logo" style="float:left;" width="142" border="0" height="142" /></a>This Storymakers 2017 post is sponsored by GrantStation.</span></i><span></span><span></span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Video Storytelling Made Easy with Adobe Spark, 08 Sep 2017 14:39:00 GMTamycopperman<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Adobe Spark logo and a clapperboard" height="297" border="0" width="594" /></a></p> <p>An eye-catching opening, slick text animation, smooth transitions &mdash; these are all important elements of polished <a href="#">social videos</a>. But what really makes a story shine is a strong, concise message, told in a way only your unique perspective and voice can.</p> <p>Are you telling a personal story, creating a fundraising pitch, <a href="#">inspiring others to care about a cause</a>, or teaching potential customers about your business? In all cases, video stories are most memorable when they have a core message &mdash; a &quot;so what&quot; moment. The difference between having a clear, succinct point and not having one is often the difference between viewers who take action after watching and viewers who click out halfway into the video.</p> <p><span>Making a clear point is, of course, easier said than done. Ideating and distilling your ideas into a few simple sentences that can translate to the screen can be a long, winding road. </span></p> <p><span>Fortunately there are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you craft a compelling video story. Use these questions to guide your </span><a href="#"><span>storytelling strategies</span></a><span> and then add your text, images, video clips, and even narration to </span><a href="#"><span>Adobe Spark Video!</span></a></p> <h2>1. Who Am I Talking To?</h2> <p><a href="#"><span>Identify your audience</span></a><span> and much will fall into place, including your word choice, mood, and tone. It&#39;s helpful to decide who you&#39;re trying to reach in terms of demographics like age, interests, or gender. But also, it&#39;s important to know how you address your audience, if at all. </span></p> <p><span>Personal stories might use &quot;I&quot; and never break the fourth wall, or acknowledge the audience. But if you&#39;re presenting an idea or trying to reach members or potential donors, we recommend using the friendly, singular &quot;you&quot; as if you&#39;re addressing just one friend. This tone lends a personal, friendly quality that people connect with.</span></p> <p><span>Photo-printing company Persnickety Prints knows its target customer inside and out, and that knowledge comes through in how it addresses its audience:</span></p> <p><span><a href="#"><img src="" alt="screenshot of Persnickety Prints Memories video" height="309" border="0" width="594" /></a><br /></span></p> <h2>2. What Do I Want Viewers to Walk Away Thinking or Doing?</h2> <p><span>Instead of trying to think of what to say or write, consider what you want your audience to do, think, or feel after watching your video. It&#39;s easy to get caught up in the details and get overwhelmed, but decisions will be easier to make if you have an idea of what tone you want to hit and what you want your viewers to do. Establish your goals up front so that each moment or slide ladders up to the goal.</span></p> <p><span>See how CHOICE Humanitarian sets a tone with an inspirational quote that supports the organization&#39;s mission of humanitarian travel:</span></p> <p><span><a href="#"><img src="" alt="screenshot of CHOICE Humanitarian video" height="354" border="0" width="597" /></a> <br /> </span></p> <h2>3. What Am I Trying to Say in Two or Three Sentences?</h2> <p><span>A general rule of thumb for social video is that you have about three seconds to capture attention. As such, it&#39;s important to lead with your best imagery and get to the point. </span></p> <p><span>Distill your message down into a couple of sentences; then use supportive video clips, images, or icons to visually represent your point. A few strong pieces of copy can help your video shine. That&#39;s especially true because text on screen can help make your video translate even if people are watching with the sound off.</span></p> <p><span>This San Francisco restaurant showcases its philosophy in under 30 seconds with a clear mission statement and video clips that bring it to life. And it&#39;s designed for a sound-off audience, which makes up most viewers on social media.</span></p> <p><span><a href="#"><img src="" alt="screenshot of aina video" height="354" border="0" width="595" /></a><br /> <br /> </span></p> <h2>4. How Can I Captivate?</h2> <p><span>So you know who you&#39;re talking to and what you want them to do, and you have a couple of sentences you want to communicate. Now comes the fun part. Think about ways you can delight, surprise, or move your audience. </span></p> <p><span>Can you open in a clever way that stops thumbs in their tracks? Can you come up with a gimmick that&#39;s wacky or fun and true to your brand? Sometimes captivating can be as simple as serving up beautiful imagery to go under your text. Here are some tricks of the <span><a href="#">iPhoneography</a> </span>trade.</span></p> <p><span><a href="#"><img src="" alt="screenshot of iPhoneography video" height="353" border="0" width="595" /></a></span><span><br /></span><span></span></p> <h2>How to Create Video with Spark</h2> <p><span>Now you&#39;re ready to make video magic! Here&#39;s how to create your video story in </span><a href="#"><span>Spark Video</span></a><span>.</span></p> <h3>1. Start by Creating a New Spark Video Project</h3> <p>Clicking the big plus button on the web or in the iOS app will open a slide-based editor. There are no complicated timelines here! We suggest storyboarding out your video story within the app by selecting one of the pre-loaded story structures. Or, you can create your own by adding notes to slides, which will guide your creation. Each slide should represent just one point or thought.</p> <h3>2. Add Media to the Slides</h3> <p>Now it&#39;s time to add media to your slides. Choose between images, video clips, icons, or text. You can search for free photos or icons within the tool or use your own images or video clips. Add up to 30 seconds of video at a time to each slide. We recommend using short video clips or images to visually represent your message.</p> <h3>3. Select Pre-designed Layouts</h3> <p>Present your media in a variety of layouts by selecting one of the pre-loaded placements in the top left corner labeled &quot;layouts.&quot;</p> <h3>4. Use Text to Communicate Key Information or Calls to Action</h3> <p>Text on screen ensures that those who are watching your video without the sound turned on get your full message. If you&#39;d like to speak directly to your audience, simply record your voice by hitting the red button and speaking into your phone or computer.</p> <h3>5. Spice It Up with a Theme and Soundtrack</h3> <p>Spark Video comes pre-loaded with themes that control the overall look and feel of your video. Themes power transitions between slides and the motion of elements. Simply tap the &quot;Themes&quot; category and choose from unique themes. You can also add music by uploading your own track or selecting one of the free songs in Spark Video.</p> <h3>6. Publish and Share</h3> <p><span>Once you&#39;ve finished the video, save the video to your camera roll as an MP4 file and upload it to Instagram. Make sure you click the expand icon in the bottom left corner so your video plays in landscape mode. Select a cover image that&#39;s engaging so it looks great in your feed.</span></p> <h4 class="blog-h4-restyle">About the Author</h4> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Amy Copperman" style="float:left;margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px;" height="272" border="0" width="272" /></a>Amy Copperman is Adobe Spark&#39;s editorial and social media lead. She enjoys helping nonprofits stand out on social media through powerful multimedia stories.</p> <div style="clear:both;"></div> <p><em>Image 1: TechSoup</em></p> <p><em>Image 2: Persnickety Prints</em></p> <p><em>Image 3: CHOICE Humanitarian</em></p> <p><em>Image 4: &#39;āina </em></p> <p><em>Image 5: iPhoneography</em></p> <p><em>Image 6: Amy Copperman</em></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Mozilla and Nonprofits: Working Together for Common Good, 06 Sep 2017 14:54:00 GMTChrisWorman<p><span><a href=""><img src="" alt="Mozilla and nonprofits working together" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a><br /></span></p> <p><span>The Mozilla Foundation is driven by a mission to help keep the Internet an open, global, public resource accessible to all. With a mission like that, it is perhaps unsurprising that Mozilla is constantly cooking up things that might be of interest to a nonprofit like yours. The following are a couple we think you might find intriguing and useful.</span></p> <h2>Building Open-Source Voice Recognition for Good: Can You Help?</h2> <p><a href="#"><span>Project Common Voice</span></a><span> is a Mozilla effort to build an open-source voice recognition engine that anyone can use to make innovative apps for devices and the web. The more people who donate recordings of their voice, the more useful the system will be. Would you be willing to donate a recording of yours?</span></p> <p><span>Voice recognition makes working with and navigating the web more accessible. It also requires thousands of voice samples and data points. Most of the data that drives common voice applications is not open or accessible to those who might want to build useful tech for their communities.</span></p> <p><span>If you think voice recognition could do more for your constituency or people you know, consider taking a few seconds to give Mozilla a shout-out (literally) at </span><a href="#">Project Common Voice</a><span>.</span></p> <h2>Keeping Your Nonprofit Safe: Take Advantage of Let&#39;s Encrypt</h2> <p><span>Keeping your organization&#39;s data and constituents secure is no small feat. Though there are </span><a href="#"><span>numerous security tools</span></a><span> available to nonprofits, many nonprofits haven&#39;t encrypted their sites. Encrypting your site with HTTPS helps keep visitors safe and is increasingly required by web browsers in order for your site to simply show up in search results. </span></p> <p><a href="#"><span>Let&#39;s Encrypt</span></a><span> is a free, automated, easy-to-use, and open certificate authority you can use to get started with HTTPS. If you don&#39;t see https:// before your URL, you might want to check it out. Implementing HTTPS means your site keeps showing up in search results and visitors don&#39;t get warning signs when they visit for the first time.</span></p> <h2>Sourcing and Supporting Wireless Innovations: Could Your Community Use One?</h2> <p><span>There are more than 4 billion people who don&#39;t have access to the Internet. That&#39;s 4 billion people who can&#39;t access services they need, or get all the good news, information, insight, or distraction they want. If you work with people who might not always have easy access to the Internet, and think they could use it, check out the </span><a href="#"><span>Wireless Innovation for a Networked Society</span></a><b><i><span> </span></i></b><span>(WINS) Challenges.<b><i> </i></b></span></p> <p><span>WINS is a challenge and a campaign to source and support wireless innovations to connect underserved communities. Winning ideas will share $2 million in prize money to build solutions. You can pitch an idea of your own or offer feedback on the solutions your community could use.</span></p> <h2>Connecting the Unconnected: Check Out New Solutions for Free Public Wi-Fi and Rural Broadband</h2> <p><span>Finally, the recently concluded Mozilla </span><a href="#"><span>Equal Rating Innovation Challenge</span></a><span> yielded a ton of great ideas for better connecting the unconnected. Solutions for free public Wi-Fi and rural broadband need organizations like yours that might use them or get the word out. </span><a href="#">Check them out!</a><span> Perhaps there&#39;s one that might be good for your community. </span></p> <p><span>See more on the Mozilla Foundation and all it gets up to on the </span><span><a href="#">Mozilla Foundation website</a></span><span>.</span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>How Does a Nonprofit Find Funding to Keep the Lights On?, 31 Aug 2017 15:22:00 GMTEllen-Mowrer<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="dark room, lights out, with spiderweb versus lit-up room and nonprofit staffer's hand turning on the lightbulb" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a></p> <p>GrantStation&#39;s founder and CEO, Cynthia Adams, recently gave a free 30-minute webinar on the <a href="#">Zen of Grantseeking</a>.</p> <p>In the webinar, she focused on the importance of embracing grantseeking as an integral part of the overall financial approach for your organization. Because, as we all know, learning to think beyond today, tomorrow, and next week is a tough assignment. And it is important to clarify your thinking as you consider establishing a solid grants program for 2017 and into 2018, especially in this time of uncertainty around government funding.</p> <p>One of the participants asked this question, which I feel sure is on the top of your mind as well: &quot;Program grants have a budget directly related to them, and for the most part do not cover operations or overhead costs. Capacity-building grants are limited and very difficult to get. So, how does a nonprofit find funding to keep the lights on and grow the programs?&quot;</p> <p>This is a complex question with no easy answers, set among some rather chilling statistics. First, let&#39;s look at the statistics, culled from GrantStation&#39;s most recent <i>State of Grantseeking&trade; Report</i>:</p> <ul> <li>Almost 70 percent of nonprofits keep their indirect and administrative costs at 20 percent or less of their annual budget. That figure obviously doesn&#39;t leave much room for infrastructure growth or personnel development.</li> <li>These costs &mdash; for 70 percent of respondents &mdash; were paid for by some combination of fees for services, fundraisers, and individual donations. Private or government grants or contracts were the source of administrative cost funding for the other 30 percent of respondents.</li> <li>Indirect and administrative costs remained the same or decreased for 70 percent of respondents. So how did these organizations, already operating on very tight administrative budgets, accomplish this? <ul> <li>They reduced staff. In fact, almost two-thirds of respondents reported that they controlled costs by reducing staff.</li> <li>And that is alarming &mdash; because it is a data-supported example of the greatest challenge faced by nonprofits: the lack of sufficient time and staff to meet their missions.</li> </ul> </li> </ul> <table class="basetable text" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" border="1"> <tbody> <tr><th width="312" valign="top"><b><span>Reduction Technique</span></b></th><th width="70" valign="top"><b><span>Spring 2017</span></b></th></tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Reduced number of staff</td> <td width="70" valign="top">65%</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Increased reliance on volunteer labor</td> <td width="70" valign="top">29%</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Reduced services and programs offered</td> <td width="70" valign="top">23%</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Reduced staff hours</td> <td width="70" valign="top">19%</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Reduced staff salaries</td> <td width="70" valign="top">16%</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Reduced organization hours</td> <td width="70" valign="top">12%</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Space or location sharing</td> <td width="70" valign="top">9%</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Buying groups: economy of scale for purchases</td> <td width="70" valign="top">5%</td> </tr> <tr> <td width="312" valign="top">Reduced organization geographic scope</td> <td width="70" valign="top">3%</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Back to the question, &quot;So, how does a nonprofit find funding to keep the lights on and grow the programs?&quot;</p> <p>One way to do so is to make your grantseeking strategy a priority. Invest in tools to give you a hand up, and streamline your grantseeking based on efficiency and the likelihood of an award.</p> <p><a href="#">GrantStation</a>&#39;s databases of private foundations only include those that accept unsolicited letters of inquiry. In effect, GrantStation&#39;s staffers have already done a part of the research for you. They&#39;ve sifted through the tens of thousands of funders who are &quot;closed shops,&quot; and include only those funders who are willing to engage with you.</p> <p>Your funding search can be defined by your mission or your location. It can also include the support type (general, capacity, project planning, and so on), as well as whom you serve (children, LGBTQ, Latinos, and so on). And, it can include the type of grantmaker (private foundation, government, corporate foundation, giving circle, and so forth).</p> <p>GrantStation also provides a simple decision matrix to help you weigh if it&#39;s worth your time and effort to apply to this funder. It offers guidelines on creating a grantseeking calendar, and how-tos on all facets of the application, from developing a letter of inquiry to using appropriate tone and style.</p> <p>If you make administrative cost funding a grantseeking priority, just as you already make program and mission funding a priority, you may well uncover the support you&#39;ve been looking for.</p> <p><a href="#">TechSoup is offering a full GrantStation membership</a> for just $99 for three days in September, from September 26 through 28.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Check out GrantStation</a></p> <p>We look forward to having you join us &mdash; and to GrantStation becoming one of your tools to fund your organization&#39;s administrative costs.</p> <h2>Learn More About Finding Grant Funding with These Great Webinars</h2> <p>On <b>September 20</b>, learn how to get started with grantseeking and make your grant requests sparkle. This free 90-minute webinar for TechSoup&#39;s audience (normally $89!) will help you prepare the basic documents needed to write compelling letters of inquiry and grant proposals.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Make your grant proposals sparkle</a></p> <p>On <b>September 21</b>, learn how to build a winning grants strategy. In this free webinar (normally $69), GrantStation CEO Cynthia Adams will lead you through creating a grants calendar for the next 12 to 18 months.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Build a winning grants strategy</a></p> <p>On <b>September 26</b>, get a free tour of the GrantStation website. This tour will provide tips on the most effective way to use all of the valuable resources the website offers, including extensive funder databases that can help you identify the grantmakers most likely to fund your programs or projects.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Learn how to leverage GrantStation</a></p> <p>On <b>September 27</b>, learn how to be bold when conducting your funding research. Grantseeking has changed over the past several years. Funders are looking for those organizations that demonstrate intentional movement toward substantial and sustainable change. &quot;It is time for grantseekers to be bold in their requests,&quot; says GrantStation&#39;s CEO and founder Cynthia Adams.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Hone your research approach</a></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Artificial Intelligence in Nonprofit Tech, 22 Aug 2017 15:11:00 GMTjimlynch<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="brain that's half human and half robot" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a></p> <p>Artificial intelligence or AI has the ring of important, complicated digital technology, but any of us using a cellphone or computer are using it every day. It is already embedded in a lot of the software we use daily.</p> <p>In this third installment on artificial intelligence and chatbots in nonprofit technology, we&#39;ll explore the big picture of AI and how it already affects the work of charities. Also check out our <a href="">first post on chatbots</a> here, as well as our second post on <a href="">how charities are already using chatbots</a>. We hope to surprise you with how AI is making your work easier rather than harder.</p> <h2>AI in Our Everyday Lives</h2> <p>In the simplest terms, AI is the part of computing that not only collects information from us and from the Internet, but also learns from what it stores. More and more, AI likes to figure out our preferences for using data and to serve it up to us in a convenient way. Of course, under the hood, it involves complicated <a href="#">algorithms</a>, but you don&#39;t need a computer science degree to use it.</p> <p>When we talk to our cellphones using apps like Siri, OK Google, and Cortana, we&#39;re using AI. Amazon learns from our purchase history to suggest products to us, and Netflix learns from our viewing history to suggest videos we might like.&nbsp;<a href="#">AI is all over the place now</a>. Here are some ways it is appearing in nonprofit technology.</p> <h2>Fundraising</h2> <p>One of the best things I&#39;ve seen out there is <a href="#">5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Boost Nonprofit Fundraising</a> from our esteemed colleagues at TechSoup Canada. Here&#39;s a sample of what they found.</p> <ul> <li>Your organization employs some talented people, but perhaps you&#39;d like to outsource a few tasks to ensure your fundraising bases are sufficiently covered. In that case, <a href="#">an app called BrightCrowd</a> may help you meet that goal.</li> <li>Last year, a decade after its founding, <a href="#">charity: water became the first nonprofit</a> to accept donations through a Facebook Messenger chatbot.</li> </ul> <p>TechSoup donor partner <a href="#">Blackbaud has been using AI</a> and machine learning to generate recommendations to fundraisers directly in its software applications. Fundraisers don&#39;t need special tools or skills to get or use the information.</p> <h2>HR</h2> <p><a href="#">Talla</a> is a chatbot designed to augment the HR work of finding suitable job candidates. The app provides a set of interview questions based upon the role, and it can conduct a <a href="#">Net Promoter Score</a> survey following the recruiting process. The software can also train new employees with a chatbot that answers HR questions.</p> <p><a href="#">Connectifier</a> is a LinkedIn service that helps you identify and then contact good job candidates. It leverages a constantly growing database of more than 450 million candidates and, of course, learns from what works for you.</p> <h2>Accounting</h2> <p>TechSoup donor partner <a href="#">Intuit</a> is not only a leader in accounting software, but also a leader in bringing artificial intelligence to the field. An example is the <a href="#">auto-categorization</a> feature in <a href="#">QuickBooks Online</a>. The feature automatically categorizes transactions for you when you import your spending activity from your online bank records. The software also corrects undetected mistakes based on wrong information when tasks are handled manually.</p> <h2>An Additional Resource for Learning More About AI</h2> <p>Check out our free webinar recording: <a href="#">The Third Wave of Nonprofit Technology: Technology for Social Change.</a></p> <p>If you have any AI tools that you use and would like to recommend to us and the nonprofit community, please log in and comment below!</p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Ready, Set, Go! Submit Your Story to Storymakers 2017, 21 Aug 2017 17:24:00 GMTLewisH_<p><a href="#"><img src="" alt="Storymakers 2017 launch" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a></p> <p>TechSoup believes that nonprofits must have not only access to technology, but also the capacity to tell their story through video and images. And so, each time we do it, our Storymakers campaign gets bigger, better, and stronger. <a href="#">Storymakers 2017</a> is here!</p> <p>We have $10,000 &mdash; yes, that&#39;s $10,000 &mdash; in cash prizes. The contest opens on September 5, and closes on October 31, 2017.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Check out Storymakers</a></p> <p>Whether the goal is advocacy, fundraising, or a combination of things, the ability to tell your organization&#39;s story and compete in the digital space is critical. Simply put, a good video or set of photos can make the difference and result in a donation or a supporter taking action on behalf of your nonprofit.</p> <p>For the first time, we&#39;re offering a FREE, comprehensive learning <a href="#">curriculum</a>, plus our great webinars and TechSoup30s. Storytelling experts from Greenpeace and DoSomething will be giving some awesome tips in our webinars.</p> <p>We also have a Twitter chat happening on storytelling tools on August 29, and we&#39;re going &quot;Round the World&quot; again in our #Storymakers2017 chat on October 5. We&#39;re listing all the goodies on <a href="#">our Storymakers page</a>.</p> <p>We at TechSoup are inspired by nonprofits around the world that are serving their communities. Your stories warm our hearts every day. Check out <a href="#">Storymakers 2017</a> and get a dose of your own nonprofit inspiration.</p> <p>(Please visit the site to view this video)</p> <p></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>So Now What? Finding Funding for Your Nonprofit, 17 Aug 2017 21:35:00 GMTEllen-Mowrer<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="working on a laptop with printed charts" border="0" /></a></p> <p>You&#39;ve found the time to <a href="#">download the latest <cite>State of Grantseeking</cite> reports</a>. In fact, you have them all&nbsp;&mdash; total, by annual budget, by mission focus, by service area, and by U.S. region.</p> <h2>So Now What? Next Steps for Grantseekers</h2> <p>Well, that&#39;s an awful lot of pages of data and words, and you want some quick-fix guidelines and benchmarks. If your organization is like those of many of our respondents, there is never enough time or staff to devote to grantseeking. And because a lot of these organizations are controlling administrative costs by cutting staff, there just isn&#39;t much time for additional research. Let&#39;s look at how to get the most valuable and applicable data from the <cite>State of Grantseeking</cite> reports in the least amount of time.</p> <h2>What Data Should I Use?</h2> <p>First, you need to determine how your organizations self-identifies. Do you think of your organization as rural? Is your organization&#39;s budget small? Is your mission focused on health care? It&#39;s OK to decide that your organization is mostly defined by one of the factors or to take an average or median figure from a variety of organization definitions.</p> <p>Based on years of biannual report analysis, I find that annual budget, mission focus, and service area, in that order, have the most impact on an organization&#39;s grantseeking experience. Organizational age and U.S. region can also skew grantseeking techniques and results.</p> <p>Next, you need to look at the funder types that are most likely to support your organization. The charts in these reports show the frequency of funding by source, such as private foundations, corporate giving programs, and local governments. They also show the median amounts of the largest awards the sources gave. This is where you will get an idea of which type of funder to apply to, by looking at the success rates of other organizations.</p> <p>Finally, look at the sizes of the median largest awards. This data will give you an idea of reasonable award goals and help you to manage your stakeholder expectations.</p> <h2>Some Examples of Who Gets What Grants</h2> <h3>Annual Budget</h3> <p>Let&#39;s look at some of the variations by the size of the annual organizational budget. Organizational size determined by annual budget really is the key factor that influences the grantseeking experience. A larger budget implies a larger staff and greater organizational sustainability due to age and experience.</p> <p>Forty-one percent of organizations with small budgets&nbsp;&mdash; under $100,000&nbsp;&mdash; were staffed by volunteers, and 80 percent of small organizations were 25 years of age or under. However, 83 percent of extra-large organizations with budgets over $25 million employed over 200 people, and 71 percent of them were over 50 years old.</p> <p>This is one reason why only 58 percent of small organizations submitted even one application compared to 97 percent of extra-large organizations: it takes time and staff to apply.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="cents being poured from a large jar" border="0" /></a></p> <p>Of course, it helps to know which sources may look favorably upon your organization.</p> <p>The federal government was the source of the largest individual award for only 2 percent of organizations with small budgets. But 42 percent of organizations with extra-large budgets received federal awards.</p> <p>This data also has bearing because the federal government offers the largest awards: the median largest award in the most recent report was $109,625. But the application and award processes were longer and more complex than those of other funders, and the federal government rarely funds certain missions.</p> <p>However, other grant sources, such as religious organizations, the United Way, and civic organizations, were the source of the largest award for 14 percent of small organizations as opposed to 5 percent or fewer of organizations of any other size.</p> <p>Finally, the median size of the largest individual awards had an equally dramatic variation&nbsp;&mdash; from $5,000 for small organizations to $426,000 for extra-large organizations.</p> <p>Now this information may seem obvious. We know that funders like to reach the greatest number of people with their dollars, and larger organizations usually have a broader reach or capacity. But having realistic benchmarks can help you quantify your general knowledge.</p> <h3>Mission Focus</h3> <p>Let&#39;s run the same scenario on mission focus. In our survey, we ask that participants identify their missions based on the <a href="#">National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities classification system</a>. You&#39;ll find dramatic variations in funding sources and award sizes, which is likely due to the variations in annual budget size among the mission focuses.</p> <p>I personally am fond of animal rescue groups, and I have three dogs rescued from puppy mills (my home office coworkers). So it is with a bit of chagrin that I share with you that the median annual budget for organizations with an animal-related mission is only $300,000, compared to environment organizations at $620,000 or educational institutions at $24,000,000.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="bedraggled puppy behind chain-link fence" border="0" /></a></p> <p>Using the federal government example, you&#39;ll see that funding frequency ranges from 2 percent of animal-related organizations to 16 percent of environment organizations to 40 percent of educational institutions.</p> <p>However, 57 percent of animal-related organizations reported private foundations as the source of their largest award, compared to 38 percent of environment organizations and 34 percent of educational institutions.</p> <p>And keep in mind that success is relative. An animal-rescue organization that won a $25,000 award can be considered quite successful when the median highest award is $10,000. But an environment organization with a highest award of $25,000 would be underperforming when the median highest award is $65,000. An educational institution with a highest award of $25,000 would be in poor shape when the median highest award is $175,000.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="building with a university sign" border="0" /></a></p> <h2>Wrapping It Up: Streamline Your Grantseeking</h2> <p>To efficiently use the <cite>State of Grantseeking</cite> reports, you just need to know your annual budget and your mission focus.</p> <p>Check for the funder types that are most likely to support your organization. These funders will be the sources of the largest individual awards given to organizations with your budget size and mission.</p> <p>Then take note of the size of the median largest award for your budget size and mission. Now you have a reasonable set of award goals and a good idea of which funding sources to apply to.</p> <p><i><a href="#" title="working on a laptop with printed charts; image by Bacho">Image 1</a>: Bacho / <a href="#">Shutterstock</a></i></p> <p><i>Other images: Ellen Mowrer</i></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>What's New in Adobe Acrobat Pro 2017, 17 Aug 2017 15:52:00 GMTTechSoup_Announcements<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="new features in Adobe Acrobat Pro 2017" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a></p> <p>In July, Adobe released Adobe Acrobat Pro 2017, the latest version of its desktop software for viewing, creating, editing, printing, and managing PDF documents. Immediately after its release, TechSoup added it to its catalog for both <a href="#">Windows</a> and <a href="#">Mac</a>.</p> <p>The 2017 version is full of new features to help your nonprofit share crucial documents and stay current. Here&#39;s a look at what&#39;s new and useful.</p> <div style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.2em;">Get Acrobat Pro 2017</a></div> <h2>Digital ID Certificates</h2> <p>Signing, certifying, and verifying documents with a digital ID have long been among Acrobat Pro&#39;s strongest features. Once a complex security concept, this feature is now even more streamlined than in previous versions. You can add IDs from files, smart cards, and USB token devices; customize your signature; or use an existing signature image on documents.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="digital id adobe acrobat pro 2017" border="0" /></a></p> <p>More info: <a href="#">Digital IDs</a></p> <h2>File Comparison</h2> <p>Acrobat Pro 2017 has refined its Compare Files tool, which allows you to compare two PDF files and highlight any differences, including in images, the document body, the header, and the footer.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="file comparison adobe acrobat pro 2017" border="0" /></a></p> <p>More info: <a href="#">Compare two versions of a PDF file</a></p> <h2>Scan PDFs</h2> <p>Adobe has streamlined Acrobat Pro&#39;s ability to scan a paper document into a PDF while still giving you the option to fine-tune the scan and import.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="scan pdfs adobe acrobat pro 2017" border="0" /></a></p> <p>More info: <a href="#">Scan documents to PDF</a></p> <div style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.2em;">Get Acrobat Pro 2017</a></div> <h2>Multiple Document Tabs</h2> <p>When you open multiple files, Acrobat now places each PDF document in a new tab within a single window. You can also choose which PDF to view by scrolling through the tabs or choosing the document in the Window menu. This update means not having to switch among multiple windows to browse your files.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="multiple document tabs adobe acrobat pro 2017" border="0" /></a></p> <h2>Add Lists</h2> <p>Need to add a bulleted or numbered list to your PDF? No problem. There&#39;s no need to reopen the file in Word, InDesign, or any other editing program; just add it directly in Acrobat Pro.</p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="add lists adobe acrobat pro 2017" border="0" /></a></p> <h2>Additional Features</h2> <p>Check out the <a href="#">full list of new features in Acrobat Pro 2017</a> for more information on searching for tools, changing themes, comments, and more.</p> <div style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.2em;">Get Acrobat Pro 2017</a></div> <p><i>Image 1: TechSoup<br /></i></p> <p><i>Other images: Adobe</i></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Cases of Successful Nonprofits That Use Chatbots, 15 Aug 2017 19:12:00 GMTjimlynch<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="chatbot with a heart" title="Cases of Successful Nonprofits That Use Chatbots" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a></p> <p>Whether they&#39;re to serve up content, answer questions, or bolster fundraising efforts, chatbots hold great promise for nonprofits and charities. And although chatbots are relatively new to the nonprofit community, some organizations are already using them in interesting and innovative ways. Here are three nonprofits that are doing just that.</p> <h2>What Is a Chatbot, Anyway?</h2> <p><span>Chatbots are clever little pieces of artificial intelligence that hold automated conversations with you. Type something into a messaging window, and the chatbot will attempt to reply with relevant information. </span>Chatbots often live on websites, on Facebook, and inside mobile apps. Most are used to field common customer-service questions 24/7 that would otherwise require an employee to answer.<span></span></p> <p><span>If you&#39;ve ever used a virtual assistant like Siri or Google Now on your phone, you&#39;re already familiar with the concept behind chatbots. The major difference is that while Siri responds to voice commands, chatbots respond to text. When done well, chatbots make it seem as though you&#39;re holding a text chat with another person rather than with a computer program.</span></p> <p>Chatbots aren&#39;t new, but they&#39;ve taken off in recent years, thanks to technological advances and the fact that Facebook now lets anyone program a chatbot within its Messenger app.</p> <h2>How Nonprofits Are Already Using Chatbots</h2> <p><span>Although nonprofits are just now hopping on the chatbot bandwagon, many large companies already use chatbots to provide information to their customers. Take a look at how three nonprofits use chatbots to engage with their communities. </span></p> <h3>The Climate Reality Advocacy Bot</h3> <p>Environmental advocacy nonprofit <a href="#">Climate Reality</a> uses a bot on <a href="#">its Facebook page</a> to encourage supporters to become more involved in the fight against climate change. When you sign up, you&#39;ll get alerts featuring ways you can help solve the climate crisis and combat climate change denial. This bot also generates leads for the organization.</p> <p>If you&#39;d like to try it out, go to the <a href="#">Climate Reality Project Facebook page</a> and click the <b>Message</b> button at the top of the page.</p> <h3>Text4baby: Health Information for Infants and Their Mothers</h3> <p><a href="#">Text4baby</a>, a free nonprofit service from <a href="#">Wellpass</a> in cooperation with <a href="#">CTIA Wireless Foundation</a>, uses a chatbot to provide critical health and safety information for pregnant women and moms with infants. This chatbot covers an impressive array of <a href="#">critical topics</a> including nutrition, immunization, breastfeeding, and car seat safety.</p> <p>To use it, download the free Text4baby app for <a href="#">iOS</a> or <a href="#">Android</a> and then text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411. You&#39;ll receive free text messages three times per week, timed to your baby&#39;s due date or birth date, from pregnancy up until your baby&#39;s first birthday.</p> <h3>Voter Resources via Chatbot</h3> <p>The <a href="#">HelloVote chatbot app</a> from <a href="#"><span>Fight for the Future</span></a> and the <a href="#"><span>Fight for the Future Education Fund</span></a> provides everything you need to vote wherever you live.</p> <p>Simply enter your mobile number on the HelloVote <a href="#">web page</a> (or text HELLO to 844-344-3556); HelloVote will send you your polling location, early voting information, and election day reminders, among many other services. You can also use the app on the <a href="#">HelloVote Facebook Messenger page</a> &mdash; just click <strong>Get Started</strong> at the bottom of the page on any device.</p> <h2>Build Your Own Chatbot</h2> <p>Inspired? It actually isn&#39;t too difficult to build a Facebook Messenger chatbot of your own!</p> <p>First, take a look at other chatbots out there to get a feel for what they can do. <a href="#"></a> has a vast collection of chatbots that are worth playing around with.</p> <p><span>Author and friend of TechSoup Beth Kanter <a href="#">has a great piece</a> that describes how charities can use chatbots. She also created her own </span><a href="#">Beth&#39;s Bot</a><span> on </span><a href="#">Facebook Messenger</a><span> and explains how she did it. </span></p> <p><span>In addition, Udemy has <a href="#">a paid online course</a> that shows how you can build a Facebook Messenger chatbot in one hour, and <em>Chatbots Magazine</em> <a href="#">has various tutorials on the topic</a>. Last but not least, wikiHow provides a good overview on </span><span><a href="#"><span>how to use Facebook Messenger bots</span></a>. Happy chatting!</span></p> <p><span><em>Nick Mediati contributed to this blog post.</em><br /></span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>What Chatbots Can Do for Nonprofits: Top 5 Things, 14 Aug 2017 19:22:00 GMTrunadkat<p><a href=""><img src="" alt="chatbots top 5 reasons banner" width="594" height="289" border="0" /></a></p> <p>Artificial intelligence (AI) is the new tech craze, and everyone wants in. From self-driving vehicles to Alexa, our lives are slowly transforming as a result of constantly changing and improving AI. As foreign as the technology might seem to the nonprofit world, some nonprofits, including, UNICEF, and charity: water, are already taking advantage of AI in the form of <a href="#">chatbots</a>.</p> <p>As nonprofits explore chatbots as part of their technology strategy, many reach the same conclusion: chatbots are definitely a game changer in terms of content delivery, customer service, fundraising, and user satisfaction.</p> <p><span lang="EN">Here are the top five reasons why nonprofits should consider implementing chatbots.</span></p> <h2>1. Chatbots Can Answer Frequently Asked Questions Directly and Quickly</h2> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="fast response from chatbots" border="0" /></a></p> <p><span lang="EN">With users expecting shorter response times, it can be tough for any organization to keep up. According to Edison Research, 39 percent of users expect a response on social media within an hour. Yes, an hour! Seems daunting, I know. </span></p> <p><span lang="EN">However, a chatbot implemented on any messaging platform like Facebook Messenger can help nonprofits quickly and efficiently respond to frequently asked questions through automation. In the long run, this may help your organization reduce people&#39;s frustration, while also increasing donor and member retention. The faster and better your organization can respond to someone&#39;s questions or concerns, the better.</span></p> <h2>2. Chatbots Reduce Overhead Administrative Costs</h2> <p><span lang="EN"><a href=""><img src="" alt="automate tasks through chatbots" border="0" /></a><br /></span></p> <p><span lang="EN">Having a chatbot that can answer a lot of people&#39;s questions reduces the time and money spent by your staff doing that. And if your nonprofit grows in size and starts to need a call-center type of function, then a chatbot can help.&nbsp;<span>For example, a lot of Jewish organizations run telefundraisers several times a year as part of their capital campaigns, and chatbots could definitely make them easier to conduct.</span></span></p> <p><span lang="EN">In fact, a chatbot is able to do more, and do it faster. More than 30 percent of tasks can be automated through chatbots now, and as AI technology develops, this number will increase. Chatbots can save your nonprofit both time and money, so you &mdash; and your staff &mdash; can focus on doing what you do best.</span></p> <h2>3. Chatbots Can Simplify and Improve All of Your Fundraising</h2> <p><span lang="EN"><a href=""><img src="" alt="expand fundraising with chatbots" border="0" /></a><br /></span></p> <p><span lang="EN">It&#39;s not just telefundraisers that can benefit from chatbots; your nonprofit can automate and expand the entire process of fundraising with the help of chatbots. Most importantly, this technology makes it possible for an organization to connect with the millions of people who already use messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. </span></p> <p><span lang="EN">Your donors and the other people you serve can make requests, complete donations, and keep track of their activity on chatbots quickly and easily. By automating this process, you can make your nonprofit&#39;s fundraising efforts hassle-free.</span></p> <h2>4. Chatbots Can Provide Supplementary Support to Your Website</h2> <p><span lang="EN"><a href=""><img src="" alt="chatbots offer supplementary support" border="0" /></a><br /></span></p> <p><span lang="EN">Sometimes, despite our best intentions, our websites can be confusing or not as informative as we would like. With a bot, you have the ability to provide supplementary support to your constituents.</span></p> <p><span lang="EN">If someone can&#39;t find information on your website, the person can turn to your nonprofit&#39;s chatbot and quickly be guided to the appropriate information. That could be via a redirect to elsewhere on your website or via human assistance. And based on what questions your chatbot is fielding, you can gain insight on what your site may be missing, what is difficult to navigate to on your site, or what information may be confusing to the user.</span></p> <h2>5. You Can Create Ongoing User Experience Research Within Your Organization</h2> <p><span lang="EN"><a href=""><img src="" alt="ongoing UX research with chatbots" border="0" /></a><br /></span></p> <p><span lang="EN">User experience research is absolutely vital for any organization that hopes to align its mission with what people need. But most nonprofits simply do not have the time, money, or skills to conduct UX research. Fortunately, chatbots can collect data about potential donors or constituents at a low cost, allowing your nonprofit to analyze the performance of your interface and adjust it based on what users are saying. </span></p> <p><span lang="EN">Strange though it may seem, artificial intelligence technology can improve your organization on multiple levels. From improving customer satisfaction to saving money, chatbots allow your nonprofit to do more good in the world efficiently, effectively, and economically.</span></p> <p><em><span lang="EN">This blog post is the first in a series on how nonprofits exploring chatbots. Check out the <a href="">second post</a> in the series to learn how nonprofits are successfully using chatbots, and how easy it is to build your own!</span></em></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>6 Device Security Tips to Keep Your Data Safe, 08 Aug 2017 14:48:00 GMTdtnick<p><span><a href=""><img src="" alt="dragon breathing fire on a laptop screen displaying a fortress" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a></span></p> <p>When we talk about <a href="#">security</a>, we talk a lot about antivirus software, data privacy, VPNs, and so on. But actual on-device security often gets overlooked, even though it&#39;s very important. After all, it doesn&#39;t matter how good your antivirus is if someone can get hold of your computer and snoop through your files (or load it up with cat pictures).</p> <p><span>But it isn&#39;t hard to protect your computer and your data. Here are six things you can do today to keep your personal and work-related data more secure  &mdash;  and to ward off those cat meme bandits.</span></p> <h2>1. Lock Down Your Gear (Using Actual Locks!)</h2> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="Kensington computer lock" width="594" height="464" border="0" /></a></p> <p><span>A cable lock, like this one from </span><a href="#"><span>Kensington</span></a><span>, is an easy, affordable way to keep your laptop from becoming a target of theft. </span></p> <p><span>Any time you intend to leave your computer unattended in a public or semipublic place, you should secure it using an actual hardware lock. Kensington </span><a href="#"><span>sells a variety of keyed and combination locks</span></a><span>, but many require your laptop to have a </span><a href="#"><span>Kensington Security Slot</span></a><span>. Although many Windows- and Chrome OS<span>&ndash;</span>based notebooks include a Kensington slot, most current Mac laptops lack one. </span><a href="#"><span>Maclocks</span></a><span> sells locks designed to secure recent Apple notebooks, however.</span></p> <h2>2. Password-Protect Everything</h2> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="screenshot of updating a password" border="0" /></a></p> <p><span>Set a strong password for all user accounts on your computers.</span></p> <p><span>Password-protecting your devices is an easy first step toward bolstering your device&#39;s security. Set a login password for every user account on your computer, and set your computer&#39;s security settings to require you to enter a password whenever you wake your computer from sleep. Along the same lines, set a passcode on your phone, or use a fingerprint reader if your phone includes one.</span></p> <h2>3. Use Full-Disk Encryption When You&nbsp;Can</h2> <p><span>A login password isn&#39;t necessarily enough to protect your stuff, though: Although it will stop casual snoops, a determined thief can still find ways to access your personal files. Enter full disk encryption.</span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="screenshot: FileVault is turned on" border="0" /></a></p> <p><span>macOS makes it easy to turn on full drive encryption using FileVault. You can turn it on at any&nbsp;time.</span></p> <p><span>With full disk encryption, everything on your computer is stored in such a way that it is nearly impossible to get at unless you log in with your password and decrypt it. It&#39;s a great added layer of security, and both </span><a href="#"><span>Windows 10</span></a><span> and </span><a href="#"><span>macOS Sierra</span></a><span> support it in some form. </span></p> <p><span>The downside is that if you forget your password and lose your recovery key, you won&#39;t be able to get at your data. Still, for most people, the security benefits far outweigh the risk of losing access to your data.</span></p> <p><span>Besides, you keep a current backup of all your files, right? ;)</span></p> <h2>4. Secure Your External Storage</h2> <p><span>Whether it stores work data or your personal files, an external hard drive or a USB flash drive can be a tempting target for thieves. To prevent this, you can encrypt data on your drives so that if they get stolen, your data is safe.</span></p> <p><span>Also, consider keeping your external hard drives and USB flash drives in a secure space, whether a locked drawer, a safe, or a locked room. Placing your drives in a secured physical space may not stop all data theft, but it will deter crimes of opportunity.</span></p> <h2>5. Set Rules on Using Personal Tech at Work</h2> <p><span>Many organizations allow employees to bring their own smartphones or computers to the office to work. And although such Bring Your Own Device policies have their advantages, they also present some security challenges. For example, if your employees use their own computers for work without taking the proper precautions, it&#39;d be relatively easy for a would-be thief to get at your data.</span></p> <p>If you allow your employees to use their personal devices at work, consider revising your security policies accordingly. You might want to require your employees to install security software, encrypt their hard drives, use a <a href="#">VPN</a>, and sequester work files in a separate user account, for example.</p> <p><span>Also, encourage your employees to avoid using their own personal cloud storage accounts; instead, offer a cloud storage service that you can manage. Most major cloud storage providers offer business plans that let your organization provide and manage cloud storage services for your employees.</span></p> <h2>6. Be Careful Where You Work</h2> <p><span>If may feel tempting to work on your bus ride to the office in the morning or at a coffee shop, but remember that by doing so, the contents of your screen become inherently public.</span></p> <p><a href=""><img src="" alt="person typing on a laptop in a cafe" width="592" height="394" border="0" /></a></p> <p><span>A busy cafe may not be the best place to work on highly confidential projects. </span></p> <p><span>There&#39;s little stopping someone from seeing what you&#39;re working on while you&#39;re on a crowded bus. And while most people who glance at your screen may do so innocuously, you probably shouldn&#39;t work with sensitive internal data and projects while in a crowded, public setting.</span></p> <p>If you must work in a public place, make sure that others can&#39;t easily see what you&#39;re working on. Give yourself some buffer space between you and others for the sake of privacy. Save anything highly confidential for the office. Also, consider using a <a href="#">VPN</a> or a wireless <a href="#">hotspot</a>.</p> <h2>Common Sense Is Key</h2> <p><span>These are just a few ways to keep your data more secure. But in the end, it really just comes down to common sense. Is there some way in which someone can get at your data without permission? Is there some way to secure it? If so, take steps to make it happen. You can&#39;t stop every data leak, but with a little effort, you can make your digital life just a little better.</span></p> <h4 class="blog-h4-restyle">About the Author</h4> <p><span>Nick Mediati is a copywriter at TechSoup. Before coming to TechSoup, he worked at <i>PCWorld </i>as a technology journalist.</span></p> <p><i>Image 1: TechSoup</i></p> <p><i><span><a href="#">Image 2:</a> Kensington</span></i></p> <p><i><span>Images 3 and 4: TechSoup</span></i></p> <p><span style="font-style:italic;"><a href="#" title="&quot;Businessman using laptop with tablet and pen on wooden table in coffee shop with a cup of coffee&quot; image by Vasin Lee">Image 5</a>: Vasin Lee / <a href="#" title="Shutterstock">Shutterstock</a></span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" title="" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>Top 5 Benefits of Having a Technology Plan, 03 Aug 2017 21:10:00 GMTjohnakenyon<p><span><a href=""><img src="" alt="Top 5 Benefits of Having a Technology Plan: drawing of a laptop with a line chart and an arrow pointing to the top right; chess pieces" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a><br /></span></p> <p><span>Whenever I began a new technology consulting project with a nonprofit, one of the first questions I ask is, &quot;Do you have a tech plan?&quot; That&#39;s because a good plan is the foundation of being strategic and successful with technology.</span></p> <p><span>Here are five top benefits I have seen organizations reap from technology planning.</span></p> <h2>1. Effort Coordination</h2> <p><span>You wouldn&#39;t send your staff out to execute on your mission without a plan, so why approach technology &mdash; which practically everyone uses in their job &mdash; without a plan? Like a lighthouse in a storm, a good plan helps you steer your efforts and avoid the rocky shores of uncertainty.</span></p> <h2>2. Saving Resources</h2> <p><span>Technology can be expensive and confusing. Quick fixes and shortsighted &quot;band-aids&quot; lead to spending much more than is necessary. Without a plan that helps to keep its efforts focused, your organization is being inefficient in its use of resources spent managing technology.</span></p> <h2>3. Increased Effectiveness</h2> <p><span>By being thoughtful about how they use technology, I have seen organizations increase the number of people they serve by 20 percent with the same resources. Planning helps identify and reduce inefficiencies. When staff members have the right tools for their jobs, they are more effective in everything they do.</span></p> <h2>4. Better Decisions</h2> <p><span>Having a technology plan as a solid foundation leads to making more thoughtful, strategic decisions.&nbsp; Every nonprofit I have worked with on creating a technology plan has seen an improvement not only in technology use but in data management. It often takes the form of reducing the data &quot;noise&quot; that staff and management deal with, focusing on what data is really useful. This in turn improves their ability to make sound decisions based on data.</span></p> <h2>5. More Funding</h2> <p><span>A good plan connects your mission with your use of technology. For example, let&#39;s say a funder is interested in increasing the availability of mental health services in your community; you can show how funding your technology project will help achieve that goal. A good plan also provides a basis for showing other funders what your technology costs are for projects they fund.</span></p> <p><span>No matter what their age, experience, or comfort level with technology, people from organizations of all sizes and types reap these benefits. They are often surprised when I tell them that they already know 80 percent of what they need to know to be effective in technology planning, because they know their organization&#39;s culture, history, processes, and environment.</span></p> <p><span>Completing a technology planning process boosts the results you get from your investments in technology. After all, who doesn&#39;t want to be a more effective, efficient, and better steward of resources?</span></p> <h2>More Resources for Technology Planning</h2> <p><span>Check out TechSoup&#39;s technology planning courses! You can take them individually, or get an all-access pass for all four courses.</span></p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">See tech planning courses</a></p> <h4 class="blog-h4-restyle">About the Author</h4> <p><span><a href=""><img src="" alt="John Kenyon" style="float:left;margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px;" width="103" height="106" border="0" /></a>John Kenyon is a leading authority on nonprofit technology and communications. He is an educator and consultant who&#39;s worked exclusively with nonprofits for over 25 years providing advice, teaching seminars, and writing articles. John is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco and Sonoma State University. He has been a featured speaker across the United States, England, Australia, and online.</span></p> <div style="clear:both;"></div> <p><i><span>This blog post was originally published on </span></i><a href="#"><i><span>John Kenyon&#39;s blog</span></i></a><i><span>.</span></i><span></span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" title="" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>From Startup to Social Enterprise … with Rebecca Masisak at the Helm, 02 Aug 2017 00:20:00 GMTjimnickerson<p><span>&nbsp;<a href=""><img src="" alt="TechSoup: From Startup to Social Enterprise" width="595" height="297" border="0" /></a></span></p> <p><span>It&#39;s hard living two lives. Maybe you can relate?</span></p> <p><span>Specifically, leading a 9 to 5 life at a job where you &quot;increase shareholder value&quot; and &quot;exceed client expectations,&quot; while at night, you spend your precious spare hours working for a cause you love &hellip; maybe pug rescue, meals for the homeless, or mental health advocacy &hellip; all to make a difference.</span></p> <p><span>I wondered what it would be like to be able to bring those two lives together, in a job where I could bring my whole self to work.</span></p> <p><span>About a month ago, I found myself with that opportunity. On July 3, 2017, I joined TechSoup as director of marketing communications, and it has been everything I thought it was going to be &hellip; and nothing like I thought it was going to be.</span></p> <p><span>For context, I was a customer of TechSoup while at the San Francisco Gay Men&#39;s Chorus; we requested some software through TechSoup&#39;s very popular product donation program. So when I walked into TechSoup 30 days ago not as a customer, but as an employee, I figured I knew the business model, the players, the market &hellip; this job would be a snap. Boy, what a difference 30 days makes.</span></p> <p><span>This nonprofit social enterprise is so much more than a product catalog. I get to work with people and technologies that create a more equitable world.</span></p> <p><span>Our CEO Rebecca Masisak is one of the many people here that embody those values. Just today, she was named to the </span><a href="#"><span>2017 NonProfit Times Power and Influence Top 50</span></a><span> list. As explained further in our </span><a href="#"><span>press release</span></a><span>, this award recognizes innovation, influence on the broader sector, and development of organizational models that can be modeled and replicated. And it&#39;s just Tuesday!</span></p> <p><span>And the data points I discovered blew away my misperceptions about TechSoup. With 70 partner NGOs around the world, TechSoup manages the only global philanthropy program that brings together over 100 tech companies to provide technology donations to NGOs everywhere.</span></p> <p><span>TechSoup&#39;s data and validation services enable companies, foundations, and governments to connect their philanthropic resources with vetted NGOs around the world. Also, in the past 30 years, TechSoup has reached 937,000 NGOs and distributed technology products and grants valued at more than $9 billion.</span></p> <p><span>So, no more living two lives! I love that I can combine the things I am passionate about and the work I love into one life. I&#39;ll be writing here occasionally on this topic and more. Thinking about life in social enterprise? Tweet me at @NickInSFO.</span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>What Is TechSoup? Stick To Our Knitting?, 31 Jul 2017 17:01:00 GMTdbenhorin<p><span><a href=""><img src="" title="Stick To Our Knitting? What Is TechSoup?" alt="connecting people through technology" width="594" height="297" border="0" /></a><br /></span></p> <p><span>In <a href=""><span>a recent blog post</span></a>, in which our nonprofit, TechSoup, advocated for Net Neutrality, there were several responses that have an interestingly identical structure: </span></p> <p><span>(a) Government should stay out of the Internet; </span></p> <p><span>(b) There are technical issues involved that TechSoup does not understand; and </span></p> <p><span>(c) TechSoup should stick to its knitting of being an opinion-free provider of donated and low-cost software and hardware and not offer opinions on social and political issues.</span></p> <p><span>The first of these points seems broad and ideological; we&#39;ll let readers decide for themselves. Jim Nickerson <a href=""><span>responds to the second point in his comment to our blog post</span></a>. And I would like to respond to the third.</span></p> <p><a href="#"><span>The parable of the blind men and the elephant comes to mind</span></a><span>. One blind man, touching only the trunk, thinks the elephant is entirely a long sinuous coil, and so forth.</span></p> <p><span>When I founded CompuMentor (which became TechSoup) in 1987, I had to file articles of incorporation that would legally bind the organization. This is what I wrote: &quot;The specific and primary purpose of the corporation is to engage in educational and charitable activities which educate the public regarding the appropriate use of computer technology.&quot;</span></p> <p><span>This was 1988. There was no web. There was no donations program. We had to walk ten miles to the nearest computer repair shop and it was uphill both ways.</span></p> <p><span>Articles of incorporation do not change unless formally amended, which has not occurred in this case. But a mission statement can be adapted over time. <a href="#"><span>This link takes you to our current mission statement</span></a>. I want to call out this sentence: &quot;TechSoup&#39;s mission is to build a dynamic bridge that enables civil society organizations and changemakers around the world to gain effective access to the resources they need to design and implement technology solutions for a more equitable planet.&quot;</span></p> <p><span>To those of you who know us only through the donations program we administer, we express the hope that it has helped you in your nonprofit mission; we invite you to consider some of the other activities in which TechSoup engages on behalf of its mission. These are just a few of the other pieces of our &quot;knitting&quot; that we intend to stick to:</span></p> <ul> <li>Streamlining international grantmaking: <a href="#">NGOsource</a>&nbsp;makes it easier for U.S.-based grantmakers to give internationally by issuing legal&nbsp;<a href="#"><span>equivalency determinations</span></a><span>. TechSoup, the Council on Foundations, and a coalition of other civil society groups successfully advocated for changes to U.S. tax law that cleared the way for this service &mdash; ultimately reducing costs, complexity, and duplication of efforts for both grantmakers and their global grantees.</span></li> <li>Designing and building apps: <a href="#"><span>Caravan Studios</span></a><span>&nbsp;is a division of TechSoup that uses a community-centric process &mdash; generate, design, select, build &mdash; to develop technology solutions that address pressing social problems. Its <a href="#"><span>award-winning apps</span></a><span>&nbsp;help&nbsp;</span><a href="#"><span>underserved youth</span></a><span>&nbsp;find meals and a safe space, facilitate&nbsp;</span><a href="#"><span>safe shelter</span></a><span>&nbsp;for abuse and trafficking survivors, and&nbsp;</span><a href="#"><span>deploy volunteers</span></a><span>&nbsp;to time-sensitive community needs.</span></span></li> <li>Enabling more transparent, accountable governments: Fundacja TechSoup&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="#">TransparenCEE network</a>&nbsp;is an active community of organizations and activists working on open data and government transparency and accountability initiatives throughout central and eastern Europe. More than 80 such projects are available on the platform with open-source code to enable replication. Fundacja TechSoup (based in Warsaw, Poland) also runs <a href="#"><span>Apps4Cities</span></a><span> technology challenges that leverage open data to increase civic engagement in the region.</span></li> <li>Connecting a global network to spur local technology innovation: The&nbsp;<a href="#">TechSoup Global Network</a>&nbsp;is comprised of 69 independent capacity-building organizations around the world. These organizations deliver TechSoup product donations and educational support in their communities. But they also deliver an impressive range social benefit programs themselves, from nonprofit IT assessments, to Internet security trainings, to tech support for people with disabilities, and more.</li> <li>Training and crowdfunding in Asia: <a href="#">TechSoup Asia</a> has run technology training sessions reaching some 850 nonprofits in this region. Topics include disaster preparedness and relief, and how to choose and use tools for crowdfunding to advance social causes. Our network partner in Indonesia runs <a href="#"><span></span></a><span>&nbsp;(&quot;We can&quot;), a Kickstarter-like crowdfunding platform.</span></li> <li>Validating recipients to socially responsible giving: As a trusted steward of data relating to civil society, TechSoup enables entities to donate time, money, and resources to vetted NGOs that meet their specific giving criteria.</li> </ul> <p><strong>In sum, TechSoup&#39;s overriding concern is helping civil society organizations benefit from technology to achieve their missions. Sometimes we do this by providing resources; sometimes we do this by organizing and providing access to data; sometimes we convene activists; and, always, we try to educate and inform about the issues that affect our work and lives.</strong></p> <p><strong>That&#39;s our knitting and we do intend to stick to it.</strong></p> <p><em>Images:</em></p> <p><span style="font-style:italic;"><a href="#" title="&quot;Man using smartphone at street night.&quot; image by mirtmirt">Image</a>: mirtmirt / <a href="#" title="Shutterstock">Shutterstock</a></span></p> <p><span style="font-style:italic;"><a href="#" title="&quot;Negotiating business,Image businesswomen handshake,happy with work,business woman she is enjoying with her workmate,Handshake Gesturing People Connection Deal Concept&quot; image by areebarbar">Image</a>: areebarbar / <a href="#" title="Shutterstock">Shutterstock</a></span></p> <p><span style="font-style:italic;">Image: Arab Resource and Organizing Center</span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>SOS: Save Our Site! How Libraries Can Preserve Local Online History, 26 Jul 2017 22:56:00 GMTmaria_praetzellis<p><a href=""><img src="" title="Young woman engineer with tablet between the server racks in the data center, fixing the problem" alt="woman checking a big server bank" width="594" height="395" border="0" /></a></p> <p>Websites, blog posts, social media, online news &mdash; all of these are part of your community&#39;s history, but all are ephemeral in nature. Now, the Internet Archive, an expert in preserving online content, is beginning a program to train librarians in web archiving. This program is offered in partnership with WebJunction and with funding from the <a href="#"><span>Institute of Museum and Library Services</span></a> (IMLS).</p> <p>A competitive <a href="#">application process</a> for selection of libraries from across the United States is now open and will continue until August 25.</p> <p>The IMLS recently awarded the Internet Archive&#39;s<a href="#"><span> </span></a><a href="#"><span>Archive-It</span></a> service a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant from its Continuing Education in Curating Collections program for the project <i>Community Webs: Empowering Public Librarians to Create Community History Web Archives.</i></p> <p>The Community Webs project is working with partners from<a href="#"><span> </span></a><a href="#"><span>Queens Public Library</span></a>,<a href="#"><span> </span></a><a href="#"><span>Cleveland Public Library</span></a>, and<a href="#"><span> </span></a><a href="#"><span>San Francisco Public Library</span></a>. It&#39;s also partnering with OCLC&#39;s<a href="#"><span> </span></a><a href="#"><span>WebJunction</span></a>, which offers education and training to public libraries nationwide.</p> <p>The Community Webs project will provide training, cohort support, and services for a group of librarians at 15 different public libraries. This support will help librarians develop expertise in creating collections of historically valuable web materials that document their local communities.</p> <p>The project will create more than 30 TB of community history web archives and a suite of open educational resources, from guides to videos. These resources are for use by any librarian, archivist, or heritage professional working to preserve collections of local history comprised of online materials.</p> <p><a href="#">Applications from public libraries</a>&nbsp;will be accepted through 5:00 p.m. Pacific time on Friday, August 25! You can also visit the <a href="#">program&#39;s web page</a>&nbsp;for more information, and the project&#39;s grant materials are available through the <a href="#">IMLS award page</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>On August 10, TechSoup also hosted a webinar to help library staff learn more about the program.</p> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="#" class="mod-simple-button" style="font-size:1.5em;">Access the webinar resources</a></p> <p>Curating web archives that document the lives of their patrons offers public librarians a unique opportunity to position themselves as the natural stewards of web-published local history. It also solidifies their role as information custodians and community anchors in the era of the web.</p> <p><span lang="EN">We owe a debt of thanks to IMLS for supporting innovative tools and training for librarians. We look forward to working with our public library friends and colleagues to advance web archiving within their profession and for the benefit of their local communities.</span></p> <h4 class="blog-h4-restyle">About the Author</h4> <p><a href=""><img src="" title="Maria Praetzellis" alt="Maria Praetzellis" style="float:left;margin-right:10px;margin-bottom:10px;" width="141" height="141" border="0" /></a><em>Maria Praetzellis is the program manager for web archiving at the Internet Archive.</em></p> <div style="clear:both;"></div> <p><span lang="EN"><em><a href="#">Image</a>: Nicolae Cucurudza / <a href="#">Shutterstock</a></em><br /></span></p> <p><span style="display:none;" class="hiddenspan">spanhidden</span></p><div style="clear:both;"></div>