Tag Archives: computer

Results of survey re volunteer management software

At last! The results of the survey of volunteer management software launched by Rob Jackson (robjacksonconsulting.com) and Jayne Cravens (coyotecommunications.com) — ME — are compiled and ready for release!

In March and April 2012, Rob and I drafted and circulated a survey regarding software used to manage volunteer information. The purpose of the survey was to gather some basic data that might help organizations that involve volunteers to make better-informed decisions when choosing software, and to help software designers to understand the needs of those organizations. We also wanted to get a sense of what organizations were thinking about volunteer management software.

At long last, we’re publishing the results of the survey here (in PDF). It includes an executive summary of our findings, as well as the complete responses to questions and our analysis of such. Rob and I did not have time to analyze all of the comments made in answer to some questions; for all questions, we listed the comments made, but we did not always offer any observations about such, or group the responses into categories.

We welcome the efforts of other researchers to offer their own analysis of the data provided.

Software companies and designers: you can learn a LOT from this report to improve your products and your communications with customers!

Have a comment about the survey? Offer it below, or via UKVPMs.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the survey!


Using a Cell Phone or Feature Phone as a Smart Phone

Happy New Year!

I’m a big believer in NOT upgrading your computer hardware, cell phone, etc. every year. Such a practice is bad for the environment (creating a ridiculous amount of e-waste), the upgrade is not always an improvement over previous tech, and not everyone can afford the latest and greatest technology. 

My latest web page representing this philosophy:

Using a Cell Phone or Feature Phone as a Smart Phone

Though it may be hard for those of you have smart phones to believe, not everyone has a smart phone. Millions of people simply cannot afford a smart phone. Some of them use a simple cell phone, with very limited capabilities: the ability to make and receive phone calls and text messages. Some people have something that’s more than a cell phone but less than a smart phone: they have a feature phone, which has some web browsing capabilities.

Can you use a simple cell phone or a feature phone as a smart phone? Yes! There are several free online tools that can help you use whatever phone you have interact with various Internet tools, and I’ve tried to outline them on this page. Additional suggestions are always welcomed (as are first-hand accounts by cell phone and feature phone users).

I hope to update my page on Resources For Users of Older Computers in 2012 as well. This has, at times, been one of the most popular pages on my web site, along with my page on using an iBook still running OS9 (yup – you can still use such).

On a bit of a related note, I also spent the holidays researching and creating a page for people that travel, regarding Using the Internet to Share Your Adventure During Your Adventure. It has advice on blogging, photo-sharing, tweeting, etc. while you are traveling. It’s part of a growing section of my web site on advice for women travelers.

Also see: Electronic Waste is EVERYONE’S Responsibility
When computers, stereos, VCRs, iPods, walkmans, video games, software, and cell phones are put into land fills, they leak poisons and heavy metals into the ground, endangering our lives and the health of our planet. With 48.5 million computers discarded each year, the USA is a particularly poor recycler and global citizen, exporting its hazardous electronic waste to developing countries, often illegally, and with horrific impacts on human health and the environment in these countries. This page will help your organization dispose of its electronic waste in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Cell phones & activism: not a new idea, still a good one

10 years ago, I published this on the United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS) web site:

Cell phones, beepers and text messaging are used by a growing number of demonstrators and grass roots activists to stay connected and facilitate activities on-the-spot. Wireless technology can allow widely separated participants to coordinate activities in real time, and communicate emerging information quickly.

That’s the introduction to chapter four of Handheld computer technologies in community service/volunteering/advocacy, a paper I wrote for the UNITeS initiative. It presents examples of volunteers/citizens/grass roots advocates using what we then called handheld computer/personal digital assistants (PDAs) or phone devices as part of community service/volunteering/advocacy, or examples that could be applied to volunteer settings (the term smart phone wasn’t one I knew back in 2001).

Yes, that’s right: activists were using text messaging and cell phones as a part of their organizing more than a decade ago; the earliest example I can find is the 1999 Seattle demonstrations against the World Trade Organization (archived versions of the web site for the Ruckus Society at archive.org is a good place to learn more). The debate in our office about whether or not this was online volunteering were quite lively back then (I came down firmly in the yes camp).

I also got major cool points for quoting Jello Biafra on a UN web site, but I digress…

The grass roots organizing that’s lead to the Occupy Wall Street protests is fascinating to watch, per its use of so-called social media, but let’s remember it’s not new – this has been done before, and I hope the organizers are using lessons from those previous expereinces, as well looking into how rumors and urban myths could interfere and even derail their activities (and how to prevent or address such).

Oh, and, indeed, this is also a volunteer movement. A DIY volunteer movement. Wish that got talked about more as well.