I got an email in my in-box last week from Schipul’s own Ms. Katie Laird with a quick note letting me know the up-coming NetSquared Houston Meet-Up might be of interest to meâ€¦ let’s just say, long story shortâ€¦ HappyKatie knows me well indeed.
For those who have not heard of NetSquared before:
NetSquared is focused on the intersection of technology and social impact. We create opportunities for all those involved in creating change to connect: whether you are a nonprofit or a foundation, a designer or a developer, a changemaker or an entrepreneur.
The Houston NetSquared Meetup is focused on â€œSocial changemakers and technological forerunners coming together at Net Tuesday events to mix, swap stories and ideas, build new relationships, and reinforce the online NetSquared community.â€
This past Tuesday’s meeting was titled â€œBeating Childhood Cancer with Layla Grace Foundation.â€ That was enough to get me to RSVP â€œYesâ€â€¦ and then the description really grabbed meâ€¦
Ryan (Ryan Marsh, president of the Layla Grace Foundation) speaks geek and can talk to the more technical challenges facing online non-profit organizations from a technology and a human perspective.
Having spent a lot of time over the last 15 years involved with Non-Profits, I can say the way they function has changed substantially over the last 3-5 years with society’s rapid adoption of new technology and the introduction of Social Media into the mix. In order for a NPO to stay viable, I believe they have to passionately embrace technology and the social-sphere in order to overcome challenges, meet goals, and, most importantly in today’s economy, do more with a LOT less.
The Layla Grace Foundation was founded by Ryan and Shanna Marsh in April 2010 in honor of their daughter Layla Grace Marsh who gained her eternal wings on March 9, 2010. You can learn more about the foundation at their site: http://laylagrace.org/ . With more than 16 thousand Facebook Fans, I was keen to hear what a very successful and VERY young Non-Profit had to say about the technology choices they had made.
Ryan did a wonderful job of balancing the very tender topic of childhood cancer with talking about the tech tools the Layla Grace Foundation has used to serve their mission:
“The Layla Grace Children’s Cancer Research Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on the discovery of new treatment options for children with high-risk cancer. We empower parents with the tools to become effective advocates for their children and raise public consciousness about our cause.”
In fact, Ryan offered up such a phenomenal top 10 list for Non-Profit Technology choices’ I was taking notes like a mad woman in order to be able to share them here. What I really like about this list is that it came from someone who has a history in the Tech Industry and has also tested, evaluated, tried and failed fast with a lot of the technology options out there today. This is a tried and true list of options that have floated to the top of the list for a functioning Non-Profit Organization and it can save other organization out there a lot of time and money.
So, without further ado, here is the Non-Profit Top 10 Tech Tools Recommended by the Layla Grace Foundation:
10. Area: Hardware, Tool: Apple
- You can find great deals on softly used items
- They work out of the box
- Office 2011 release makes integration with other Office users seemless
9. Area: eCommerce & Donations, Tool: PayPal
- Yes, there are horror story’ Layla Grace Foundation has not experienced any of their own
- It integrates with most of the other choices on this list, it’s easy to set-up and use
- Mailchimp is easy to use for sending mass communication out to your audience base
- Offers up powerful analytics
7. Area: Infrastructure, Tool: (MT) MediaTemple
- Cost Effective, Scalable hosting options’ it grows as you grow
6. Area: Productivity, Tool: Google Apps
- They’re Free
- You can work collaboratively, in real time, on the same document
- If only person will work on it’ use office. If more than one person needs to work on it’ use a Google App
5. Area: Collaboration, Tool: Basecamp
- Get everyone, even your Board of Directors using it
4. Area: Analytics, Tool(s):
- Google Analytics‘ for tracking over time
- ChartBeat ‘ for analytics by the moment
- GeckoBoard‘ Tracking board for your statistics
3. Area: Blogging, Tool: WordPress
- I totally agree!
2. Area: Social Media, Tool: Facebook
- Bet the farm on Facebook’ it’s not a site, it’s a platform. Not since Microsoft has there been this vast or fast an adoption of a platform.
- It integrates everywhere
1. Area: Influencers, Tool: Flowtown
- Gathers and stores audience information from everywhere
- Want to know who you are talking to? Check them out in Flowtown.
My biggest take-away from the evening was not actually one of the items on Ryan’s list. It was a suggestion for what Ryan referred to as essential reading for any organization looking to raise funds online (who is not?!)â€¦ I will be ordering and consuming Jakob Nielsen’s â€œDonation Usability: Increasing Online Giving to Non-Profits and Charitiesâ€
For any Non-Profit out there looking to hone their technology skills or wade through the over-whelming optionsâ€¦ the above list is great way to getcha started.
Looking for more helpful tech tips and tricks to help your Non-Profit succeed? Well, come on and join us at Net Tuesday!