Introduction to Nonprofit Software

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Notes! Introduction Facilitators: Matt and Misty

CMS: Content Management System

  • Piece of software that facilitates website, collections of articles, content for some kind of goal/project
  • Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, Plone, Concrete 5, Expression Engine
  • We advocate for using an Open Source CMS- The code is open. Anyone can see it, modify it, fix a bug, add to the software. Most is freely available (you don't have to pay).
  • Open source puts the non-profit in a better situation for future use. Custom CMSs can marry you to a developer, like it or not.
  • Big open source CMSs: Drupal, Wordpress, Joomla, Plone
    • Wordpress can do a simple job easily. If you need a searchable database, etc: Drupal or Joomla. Plone is the most complicated.
  • Why do people go with non open source solutions?
    • They want something custom that's not available out of the box and the developer offers to custom code something for the organization.
  • In theory you can use a CMS to project manage things, manage a collection of articles or other content.
  • Hard coding: no CMS. Just files of HTML, CSS that talk to each other. CMS has a graphical interface that you can change, upload photos, etc.

CRM: Constituent Relationship Manager

  • Database of people that you interact with at your organization/business.
  • Those contacts can get plugged into other outreach, functions.
  • Email blast: You can pull out contacts that live in a particular region (for example) and then send an email.
  • All a database is is a collection of spreadsheets.
  • Salesforce, CiviCRM (open source), Democracy in Action (DIA)
  • Filemaker: customizable database that can be used as a CRM.
  • The big unsolved issue in non-profit world. There's no quick solution.
  • Cheap, fast, high quality: You can only get 2 of the 3. They're a big deal, cumbersome, ugly, expensive.
  • We advise against all in one solutions because if one thing breaks, everything's broken.
  • Different CRMs integrate with different CMSs well. CiviCRM is working on integrating with Wordpress, and already has compatability with Joomla and Drupal.
  • Why switch to a CRM? It's about integration with other tools. With a CRM, you can “call” subsets of data. Or if the spreadsheets get big enough that they're slowing things down.
    • It comes down to: What are you trying to get done? Don't think about tools, database, etc. Just say I want to be able to __________. Then look to see which tool best facilitates the need.

Social Media

  • How do you drive useful traffic to your Facebook page?
  • The first question is: What are you trying to do with your Facebook page?
  • Ideas: get our followers to take action, use it as a mobilizing center, more people seeing it, liking it
  • What's the best way of engaging Facebook followers?
  • Ask yourself: What does succes look like? What does it look like to have a successful Facebook page?
  • Facebook chats with experts and followers asking questions and getting them answered in a comment stream.
  • Hangouts on Google+ work! You can record hangouts and post them. You can listen to experts talk. It's like videochat. You can have a round table with a moderator and questions tweeted in.
  • It takes a lot of time to facilitate a community around anything on any social media space.
  • Twitter has a more public, open, sharing positive culture. Someone doesn't have to get approval to follow you, so there's more chance to get random people to follow you. And you can retweet in one click.
  • What you're doing on social media is connecting to what your organization is trying to get done in the world.
  • What we want: to be known as an expert, a resource for the community we serve. Once you are known as an expert or resource, then people will start coming to you.

General rules of thumb for where your goal is to build community, have a hub/city square for people to interact? Tools that help facilitate community involvement?

What are you using your website for vs what hole in the work that we're doing that Facebook is filling?

Facebook: It's easy to have your own presence without being a developer. The biggest barrier to participation with social networks is signing up. Who would use it? More importantly, who would use it again?

Your strategy/way of organizing people should be tool agnostic. Facebook will go away some day, Myspace could come back, Twitter fails.

The big question how can I engage people online.

Recommendation: Develop tool agnostic goals around communication.

Project Management Tools

  • Basecamp (proprietary): Can have shared calendars, to do lists, multiple users.
  • Open Atrium (open source). Awkward part: Some assembly required. You have to install it into your own server and then go from there.
  • When choosing a tool, think about the divorce strategy. The most important thing you have is your data (not the tool, your Facebook page, etc). What happens when Basecamp deletes your entire account? When a bomb hits the where house that's holding your servers?
  • Develop contingency plans, monthly back ups of online data, etc.
  • Data liberation: Way for you to export your google data out. Google makes sure all apps have easy export options.
  • Put in a process where your organization is locally storing and backing up your online data.

TOR: The Onion Router

An anonymity tool, that makes you anonymous on the web. It anonymizes your IP address so that people can see where you are. Gov't lockdowns on IP addresses can't work.