Daily Archives: 1 March 2011

Tech Help for Nonprofits/NGOs *anytime*

I frequently get asked — or see online — these two questions:

From nonprofits/NGOs: where do I get help with our computers and the Internet? I have all these questions about how to choose donor management software, or how to use YouTube, or how to write a proposal for the technology my organization needs. I don’t even know where to begin!

From individuals: I want to help nonprofits with tech issues. I want to answer questions about how to use social media, how to write a technology strategy, how to use Microsoft Access or FileMaker Pro, how to choose Virus Software, etc. I’ll do it online, I’ll do it onsite. Where do I go?

My answer to both these groups: the online community forum at TechSoup Global. It’s a great place for nonprofits to get tech-related questions answered, and it’s a fantastic place for tech savvy folks to answer those questions. The TechSoup online community forum branches include:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Networks
  • Viruses & Security
  • Web Building
  • Technology Planning
  • Accessible Technology and Public Computing
  • Volunteers and technology
  • Emerging Technologies
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Virtual Community
  • and more!

Here’s an example of a question on TechSoup that’s waiting for an answer right now

Hello all – my NPO would like to set up a webcam with a live feed inside an owl’s nesting box and have it available on our web site. I am the “accidental techie” in our organization so I’m trying to find out as much as I can, as quickly as I can.

We have a very limited budget with which to work with and will probably rely mostly on donated or borrowed equipment, if possible.  The only equipment we have so far is the nesting box with the mother owl preparing to lay eggs.

Although our location isn’t particularly remote (Grizzly Island, Suisun), cellular signals are practically non-existent. We do have an internet connected computer on site and I’m pretty sure its DSL. The location of the owl box is in a tractor shed which has a locked room available for us to place a laptop.

What kind of equipment are we going to need to set this up? What are our options, considering the little bit of info I’ve given? I realize these are pretty general questions, but it’s just a jumping off point and any feedback I get will help me to begin asking more specific, targeted questions.  

Much love and gratitude in advance to any who choose to tackle this very large question.

Answer it here!

Even if you don’t know where to post your question, don’t worry: if you don’t post in the right forum, the oh-so-helpful volunteer moderators at TechSoup will get your post to the right branch right away.

The TechSoup community forum has been engaged in microvolunteering long before the term was being used!

I’ve been associated with TechSoup since the early 1990s, when it was called CompuMentor and didn’t even have a web site! Back then, it was focused on recruiting and placing volunteers in nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to help with tech issues. The TechSoup online forum is an evolution of that service – join in! You don’t have to ask, or answer, right away: just lurk for a while!

And don’t miss TechSoup’s many free online events, to help build the capacities of volunteers and paid staff at nonprofit organizations to use technology to support its work. Subscribe to the TechSoup email newsletter By The Cup to know when those free online events are happening.

Also see:

    • Finding a Computer/Network Consultant
      What mission-based organizations can do to recruit the “right” consultant for tech related issues, one that will not make them feel out-of-the-loop or out-of-control when it comes to tech-related discussions.