I moved…

01/26/2011

Hey, I moved this blog to another address.

http://www.cloud4good.com/Announcements

I hope that you will join me there!
Tal

Here at Cloud for Good we are using many cool and exiting online tools to manage our relationships with clients, partners, and staff. We are always amazed by the amount of free tools that can make our clients work – individuals, nonprofits, and businesses – more productive and effective.

Therefore, I started a new tradition on Cloud for Good’s Facebook page. I shared 10 tools that we not only like but also, I find quite useful. Here they are:

1. Rapportive – Check it out if you haven’t done so already. Rapportive is a little browser plugin that provides you with information about the people you talk to via email.

2. Dropbox – Dropbx might make you want to get rid of your USB!  It is the easiest way to store, sync, and, share files online. It makes online storage and sharing of files dead simple — as simple as dragging files into specially market local folders.

3. Skype Screen Sharing – Many people are not aware of this… Skype has a screen sharing feature. Once you are logged in to your Skype account, you simply click the share screen button and then will be able to see either the whole screen of the person with whom you are talking or the portion of the screen that they select. An incredibly simple yet highly effective tool that cuts down on messy feedback. It makes you far more efficient especially if your business is online.

Skype scree share

4. Tungle.me – The hardest part of making meetings happen is knowing when is the best time. Tungle.me makes it simple for everyone to know when is best for you! You control your availability and remove all the guessing games. Check it out and if you want to schedule a call/meeting to talk about your organization’s technology needs… Tungle.me/talfrankfurt


5. MyStickies – This is simple but brilliant little app that essentially lets you place little stickies all over the web to remind you of stuff when you get back there at a later date. You can write messages for yourself and they’ll appear next time you navigate back to that page.

6. Mozy – All the important information in your life/business is now stored on a computer. Whether it is photos and music or business documents and financial records, everything is digital – Mozy offers a great backup to the cloud service that will help you sleep at night knowing that your digital life will always be there when you need it.

7. Remember the Milk is a great task manager. It allows you to create “to-do” lists in the easiest manner possible as well as being able to access those lists from pretty much anywhere.

8. Google Apps – I know, this one is so obvious and many people already know it …However, if you have not checked it out yet, you really should-immediately (FREE for nonprofits). It is great for collaboration, email, shared calendars and tons of other online features. It is one of, if not the most essential tool that I am use today. Contact us for help with implementation, migration, and training!

Google Apps


9. Soluto – Frustrated by your sluggish and unresponsive PC? Soluto’s goal is to bring an end to the frustrations PC users encounter. Soluto’s technology detects when you’re frustrated by your PC and tells you which application is causing it.

10. PDF Unlock – PDF files can have restrictions that prevent you from being able to do many things with them, such as copying text from them or editing, printing or merging them. PDFUnlock! can remove these restrictions.

Techsoup

TechSoup.org is itself a nonprofit making software donations exclusively to other nonprofits from 42 major technology providers, including Microsoft, Cisco, Symantec, Intuit, Adobe and Sun (for an administrative fee which is usually 5% of retail cost). They have enabled nonprofits to save more than $1.8 billion in IT expenses since 2001!

To qualify, organizations must be a 501(c)3 or a library.

Here are some helpful links:

· How to Join, Register, Quality and Use TechSoup

· Archive of Recorded Webinars – Outreach and Marketing, Technology Planning, Using the Internet, Advocacy, Constituent Management, Fundraising, Digital Divide, GreenTech, Organizational Management.

· Refurbished Computer Initiative – Low-cost, high-quality computers with a new operating system and up-to-date software (covered by a 90-day warranty).

NetSquared

Additionally, Techsoup has founded NetSquared which is working on and offline to connect the global community at the intersection of technology and social change. I have recently opened a NetSquared local group in Memphis. If you are looking to connect, share ideas, and collaborate with other nonprofit professionals offline, your place is with us. Join here.

Date: November 4th

Time: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM

Location: Alliance For Nonprofit Excellence, 5100 Poplar Ave #502, Memphis, TN

Agenda: The first meeting will offer an opportunity to share about your work and learn about others in the area. Come tell us about your effort, your concerns, and what you need and want from a collective of like-minded individuals and organizations. Future meetings will also provide presentations on web tools that better enable communities and organizations to mobilize for change.


 

 

I would like to share with you all this short video about my company’s new education solution on the force.com platform. The video includes a short demo of the student admission solution we created for the Technion’s International School of Engineering.   Please share your comments and suggestions!

Excel is not a database

Before I founded Cloud for Good I worked for a small nonprofit organization that loved to collect information. When I joined the organization, as a director of resource development, I inherited the organization’s most kept treasure. An Excel spreadsheet with all the donors and foundations we contacted in the past six or seven years, their social interests, who contacted them, when, how much money we asked, how much we received etc… This was (by far!) the largest spreadsheet I have ever seen in my life.

Overall, it seems like spreadsheets can be ideal for manage the organization’s knowledge. The Microsoft Office package is installed on most computers. Additionally, it is a very simple to use tool that we are all familiar with – we can easily create new columns and save. However, do not be tempted.  Excel is not a tool to manage and cultivate relationships!

 Excel is great with numbers but it is very limited. As a resource developer I could not efficiently track year to year donations or identify that one of our graduates could have been a potential donor. It was a great tool to analyze quantitative information, but it did not enable me to manage relationships between the information I tracked – it is “flat”.

  • Yes, you can add more columns to manage the information; however, how many columns will you need to track all the phone calls, emails, and meetings with your donor, volunteer, or student? Not to mention tracking all their donations, preferred days and time to volunteer, and program attendance. This is important information – if you wish to form a relationship with the constituent (or the foundation).
  • When your organization collects all the information (just like in my previous organization) the spreadsheet could include thousands of values and become very difficult to manage.
  • Your spreadsheet will not support your business process nor will it include workflows and automatic reminders. For example: Excel will not remind you to send a thank you letter every time you receive a donation.
  • Reporting in Excel can be very challenging. How would you know who gave last year but not this year and attended one of your programs’ graduation ceremonies?
  • And what about security? Everyone who has access to the spreadsheet can make changes and delete anything. You cannot determine who can see all of the information and who can edit specific columns.

 

Your database is one of the most valuable assets for your organization.  A good database is necessary to help you grow and provide better services to the community. It should support the organization’s mission and should be adopted by your entire organization and not only one team. It should be easy to use (you don’t want a system that only one person within your organization can use), flexible (it should evolve with your strategy) and it should support the type of work you do.

iphone-june

This month’s round-up includes tips for improving your organization’s Facebook page, measuring your social networks effectiveness, an introduction to Salesfroce Chatter, and a few good tips for writing an email. I am also including good tools from Google that may help you consider moving to the “cloud”. And there is a fun surprise at the end 🙂

  1. Everybody is on Facebook (did you Join Cloud for Good on Facebook?), but how do you create a Facebook presence? Debra Askanase, Community Organizer 2.0, has five good tips. Her bottom line is: get creative, collaborate, and be aggressive.
  2. However, attracting new fans is not enough. What Does Your Facebook Funnel Look Like? Here are a few good ways to measure the effectiveness of your online communications?
  3. Salesforce.com’s Chatter is here and everybody is talking (and writing) about it. It is definitely number 1 in my Top 5 Salesforce.com Summer ’10 Release Features.
  4. Here is a post that I would really like to forward to a few colleagues (and family members), it’s called “I don’t have time to read your email”. We all know that this is a very painful issue! She has a few good tips to help improve your organization’s newsletter.
  5. Google released many new features this month, however, my favorite one is the ability to try Google Docs without a Google Apps account. They made my life easier! Explaining Google Docs can be a challenging task: they have great video tutorials but people need to “play” with it in order to really understand “real time collaboration” and “the cloud”. Google launched a new site that allows users to try full-fledged versions of its word processor, spreadsheet, and drawing tool without a Google account.
  6. Still not sure why you should move to the cloud? Google created the Go Google cloud calculator that lets you explore your potential savings in an easy-to-understand way. I love it!
  7. With your extra time you can play some vintage video games online, like Supper Mario and the King’s Quest.

Action Plans is a new, free add-on for Salesforce.com (from the Force.com Labs) that in a nutshell puts best practices into reusable “task templates”. Task templates can help you create automatic follow ups when your organization receives new donations and normalize the staff’s task generations on new leads.

 Force.com Labs

For example, when I served as the director of resource development of a NPO we had a very organized procedure to follow up on the president’s leads from conferences (you know what I am talking about, all these big stacks of business cards…). Seven days after the conference, the president sends a follow up email to the lead in which he introduces me. Then, I send an introduction email and 14 days after the conference we usually met to discuss all leads.

Action Plans allow your organization to create multiple tasks (independent and/or dependent) for a lead (or other Salesforce.com objects), assign tasks to a specific user, and supports the creation of up to 20 action plans at a time.

I would love to hear your comments on this great add-on!

Here is a video that shows how it works: