Craig Fisher

Welcome to my first blog entry for Lumity.  I am the Director of Technology Services here and I will be writing about technology problems faced by non-profits, focusing in particular on the medium and small non-profit organizations. Today I’m focusing on the smaller non-profits.  Yes, those of you who keep your membership list on file cards or on an Excel spreadsheet.  My advice to you: upgrade and get with the program (pun intended). In the last several years, two trends have made technology so much easier for non-profits:
  • A move to the cloud.  Instead of finding or buying hardware and software, the cloud gives us both in one easy-to-use package.  You probably already use the cloud for email, right?  Well, just about anything else you need is out there as well.
  • Free to non-profits.  That cloud-based email you’re using is free, right?  Yahoo and Google aren’t sending you a monthly bill for your email.  Well, free email is just the start, particularly if you’re a non-profit organization.
Here are some examples of free, cloud-based software that you can start using tonight: File sharing Do you use your email to distribute files, for example, to your Board of Directors?  Email distribution can be effective, but you start running into problems if the files are too large or if you have to update a file after you sent it or if the receiving party’s email system blocks your email (etc).  And the larger the email list, the more headaches you have keeping it all together. One free cloud-based solution is Dropbox.  Dropbox is a secure common set of cloud-based folders that can be accessed by any authorized user from anywhere at all.  You just save your files to the Dropbox folder instead of a My Documents folder and your Board (or committee or whomever you want) can pull them down at their leisure.  Moreover, being in the cloud, the contents of your Dropbox are automatically and instantly backed up, so you’ll never lose a Dropbox-stored file to a hard drive crash. Like many firms, Dropbox offers additional features (e.g. more storage) for a fee, but the basic service is free.