Category Archives: Uncategorized

Mobile Payments

New startup called Square–you may have seen these iPhone (also works on other phones) plug-ins at food trucks–becomes an option for off-site payments via card. At 2.75% fee, this seems like a competitive option for non-profit events.

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Web-Based Meeting & Presentation Glom

Over the past six months, I’ve experiemented with a number of tools for both web presentations and virtual meetings (and even learned to think about the difference between the two!). I’ve used ReadyTalk, GoToMeeting, AdobeConnect and Skype (with a plug-in).

GoToMeeting was dismissed in one instance in favor of ReadyTalk’s larger capacity, recording capability, and integrated voice and presentation link. In another instance, the audio only connected via phone and not online.

ReadyTalk has a great low-cost subscription on TechSoup (and a free trial online). Plus, they have free webinars available to anyone, awesome customer service, and they are a Colorado-based company. What more can you ask for?

Being the Luddite I am, though, I’m going to hang with Skype for the time being.

Mostly, I need an online meeting tool, but since those can drag on, it’s nice to be able to share screens and chat. Unyte is a plug-in for Skype that does just that. So does Mikogo, apparently. I haven’t tried either, but as a comfortable Skype user, they are next on my list. This dual-solution is not going to be the best for formal presenations like trainings, or recordings.

My other favorite tool for sharing info online, though it doesn’t really count as a presentation tool per se and it doesn’t have audio, is the free, recordable ‘chat’ function of CoverItLive.

Other tools I’ll try:

  • Wiggio 10 participants, dial in only via long-distance #. Good ongoing collaboration tool, as it calendars dates, has a chat and a message function, and allows file upload and management. No cost (September 2009)
  • Jing is a lot more hip–it’s more into instant sharing, and you can also record a training on your computer via screen shots, e.g. going through a PowerPoint. It’s currently free and the site says it plays well with other upgrade plug-ins.
  • Vyew has options for both phone and VoIP audio, and lots of control feature like hand-raising and polling.
  • Plus–I’ve heard these are worth investigating: dimdim, vimeo, moodle, yugma, audacity, google moderator, and glance…
  • Idealware covers some of the web conferencing tools out there. Today, many are full-featured enough to fulfill needs for online meetings. So, if you’re holding meetings rather than conducting trainings online, check out some of the free online conferencing tools–they may just meet your needs and are overlooked when you think about webinars and online training.

    Lastly, TechSoup is the best resource for any kind of tech comparison or reference for non-profits seeking software solutions–and they recently held a webinar on producing webinars. Listen to the recording and find lots of helpful ‘how-to’ info here.

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    Free Knowledge

    Well, yes, free knowledge IS what the Internet brings us, but here are some free online learning opportunities:

  • MIT OpenCourseWare publishes all of their course materials. For free. Special section for high school instruction and subject index available.
  • iTunes U offers If you’re an iTunes user, you’ve probably seen the mortarboard icon that links to free iTunesU content online.
  • although the search feature wasn’t immediately apparent to me–still trying to figure this out as a non-avid iTunes user.

  • WorldLectureProject indexs video of mostly professors’ lectures atworld lecture project; among the other CreativeCommons learning resources is the searchable index of
  • DiscoverEd–showing an example of curriculum and teaching resources tagged with poverty, although I found this site to not be limited to adult learning.
  • GOOD Magazine recently ran a list of sources for free class materials including ccLearn’s index, and WildApricot publishes a monthly list of non-profit webinars.

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    Serenity Now

    I’m headed off to the Midwest–a place I think of as verdant green with bucolic farm scenery. I wonder if I’ll find any unexpected uses of technology there….

    Where have you found unexpected tech?
    As libraries reinvent themselves for the new century, that’s one place you might find it. Some libraries are even lending e-book readers, and providing downloads of books (and movies!) for your own device–all from the comfort of your own computer–be it in the arid West or the spa-like humidity of the Midwest.

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    Non-profit Techies Unite

    Do you know about local non-profit tech groups? They’re springing up, and you can find the local meetings of NTEN 501 Tech Clubs via the national organization for technology in non-profits, NTEN.

    Although not an NTEN affiliate, CNTC is a Colorado group of both hardcore techies and non-profit newbies.

    July’s CNTC topic was measuring social media.
    Here are some of the highlights:

  • Trackle is like a search robot–it goes out to the web and searches for bits of text you specify. It’s like an RSS feed that searches more than just specified sites. A great idea for ‘listening’ to what’s being said about your organization.
  • Qwitter tells you who’s stopped following you on Twitter.
  • Steve shared his glossaries, linked to the left for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Here’s the invite to next Tuesday’s Colorado Nonprofit Technology and Communications (CNTC) meetup on “Open Government Data”:

      Much recent work been done in our nation’s capital, around open data and transparency. The city of Washington DC made lots of municipal data available in real time, and the Apps for Democracy program saw some real successes building on that. Similar efforts are underway in other cities across the nation, and at the federal level as well.
      What are some of the promises and pitfalls of this movement? What does it mean for Colorado?
      Tuesday, August 4th, 6-8pm, The Alliance Center (1536 Wynkoop Street, Denver, 80202) Snacks & parking available. RSVP here.

    It’s great to know there’s others out there! Anyone been to a similar meetup or signed up for a group like this?

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    A new verb: Wolfram (or Alpha?)

    This is a little outside of my usual ‘Web 2.0 for non-profits’ post, but as alerted this morning by the Fischbowl–and I love that a high school teacher is not only on the cutting edge for his students, but also keeps me posted!!,

    THERE’S A NEW SEARCH ENGINE

    Wolfram Alpha
    Watch this. If you like data, or new innovations, you’ll be amazed.

    But it’s not your typical search engine.

    Ever wonder how the fish production in Poland compares to New York City’s trash rate? (Okay, probably not, but I know a few walking encyclopedias who rattle off information just such as this.)
    Nutrition information.
    Demographics. Local weather (without having to jump through silly hoops like specifying your zip code.) Math problems, geography….it’s all at your fingertips with Wolfram Alpha’s computational database search.


    I can’t wait to “Wolfram” demographic data for grant requests and annual reports.

    Isn’t leveraging this computational power the whole POINT of computers?!
    And then that begs the question, why is Stephen Wolfram’s innovation just now occuring??

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    Step 1: Listening

    One thing you can resolve to do in the new year is observe what others are talking about and doing with nonprofit social media. Just knowing what’s going on in the wide world of nonprofit social media makes you want to get on the bandwagon.

    Here’s a list of tools to help you find out what others are saying about your brand, your organization, keywords….

    Try these:
    GoogleAlerts See what others are saying! Set up a GoogleAlert to search for stories and posts that reference you, your organization, or topics you’re interested. For example, you can type in “Colorado Association of School Libraries” colorado+library+diversity, and you’ll receive a list of links that include either the organization name or that include all of the words colorado, library, and diversity. This will send you published news stories or blog posts, so if someone is blogging about the great volunteer experience they had with your organization, you’ll know about it!

    RSS Combine the webpages you visit into one! RSS is a way to aggregate various blogs and webpages so you don’t have to visit them individually. You’ll look at your reader and get a bird’s-eye view of what’s happening at the news sites or topical blogs that you’ve asked it to check on.

    To find blogs to read, search for keywords at Google BlogSearch or see Technorati‘s topic list.

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    Filed under Making the Case, Tool, Uncategorized