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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Lynx

The first two links today are motivated through my participation in Emily's Non Profit Blog Exchange. For this round I've drawn two blogs - one new to me and one I commented on just last week.

Random Thoughts on Life and Work
I'd never run into this blog before - this is why the blog exchange is so useful! Random Thoughts is written by a non-profit development professional, so a lot of the material is fundraising and marketing oriented. But the writer, whose name is not given, seems to be quite astute technologically as well. Elegant template, too. Here's one I'll be adding to my blogroll.

Today's post shares a resource developed by Sally Funk at McConkey/Johnston International that discusses how to go about selecting donor management software in a rational way. It's a very nicely put together piece - I intend to get in touch with Sally immediately to see if I can share this with the prospects we meet who clearly need to sharpen the tools they take shopping with them.

Zen and the Art of Non-Profit Technology.
And here's the other blog I drew in this month's blog exchange. It's Michelle Murrain's nptech blog, subtitled "Conscious, minimalist, neo-luddite perspectives on nonprofit technology. " Her most recent post is a longish review of social media - blogging, podcasting, and videoblogging - vlogging, to the initiated - and what their implications are for non-profit managers. Michelle brings a great perspective to the discussion because while she obviously loves playing with - and philosphizing about - all this technology, she's quite clear that not every non-profit will serve its mission better by getting involved with every new gee-whiz approach.
So, now the question - should a nonprofit organization have a blog? Should staff of a nonprofit blog? Would this help: 1) gain donors? 2) communicate the message? 3) keep stakeholders informed? 4) provide collaborative opportunities within, and between organizations?
This bread and butter focus on mission is what should motivate all technological decisions in any organization.

More on Accessibility
I received an email about Wednesday's post on accessibility from Graeme Attkins, a U.K. based developer who writes a blog all about website accessibility issues. Take a look at this most recent post of his - on common myths about building accessible sites. He'd like us to be aware that there is more to designing an accessible site than using all the right technologies.

Activities versus Accomplishments
In the software world, we developers are always reminded by our marketing consultants not to try to sell features, but to sell benefits. The potential customer does not want to hear for example that you have a "communications log where each contact with a constituent can be tagged with concepts from a user-defined taxonomy". Instead, they want to know that they can "instantly put their hand on each conversation or email they had with a consitutent about a specific subject." I struggle to internalize this advice when touting our wares. Kivi Leroux Miller points out that non-profits can make the same mistake by selling their activites rather than their accomplishments - especially in annual reports.

And now for something completely different
Here's a site I'm afraid we'd have to give a big zero on the accessibility scale.



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