Me + Technology

Two weeks ago I attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), my first conference as Idealware’s new Training Manager. While my background is in training, the technology side of the organization at first really intimidated me. Hey, not too long ago I took the plunge and bought a smartphone, which I primarily used to check Facebook, take pictures of the kids, and find the latest e-coupon to use at the mall. Needless to say, most of the phone’s features and apps are wasted on me.  

As I talked to people and attended sessions, the tech terminology and acronyms flew around me. By the end of my first day, I began to wonder if this world would ever make sense. 

Then I met this young, energetic woman, the kind of person that you can’t help but like immediately. She told me about the challenges she faced at her foundation when it came to discussing technology with her members. Most people who aren’t experts, she said, when they’re approached with the subject of technology, no matter what it is, take the “I don’t do technology” approach. She compared it to asking someone what 2 + 2 is and watching as they throw their hands up and say, “I don’t do math.”  I laughed at her comment but inside I was embarrassed. She was describing me.  

Technology isn’t just for IT directors, self-proclaimed techies, and everyone under the age of 25 (although, admittedly, both my three- and six-year-old know how to work my phone better than me). Technology is something we all need and we all use. I do technology much like most of you do technology. I have problems to solve and need the right tools to solve them.

Now the very thing that made me nervous has me excited. As the Training Manager for Idealware, I know how to listen to people and determine their needs. And when it comes to technology, I now have outstanding resources and a team beside me to get the job done.   

I have worked for nonprofits and state government. I understand tight or nonexistent budgets.   Many nonprofits have to pick and choose from a very long list of needs. I’m excited that I can help people like me learn about the technology they need and make smart decisions for their organizations. 


Welcome Karen Graham, Idealware's New Executive Director!

Karen Graham, Executive Director, IdealwareI'm thrilled to share some big news. Our Board of Directors has hired Idealware’s new Executive Director.  

As you may know, late last year I decided it was time to hand the reins of Idealware to a new Executive Director for the first time since I founded the organization nearly a decade ago. The Board set out to find someone with the right vision and experience to lead us through this next phase of Idealware’s evolution. 

We are delighted to announce that we’ve found that leader. Karen Graham, who many of you already know, will take over as Executive Director as of April 13. 

Karen is no stranger to Idealware, and brings a stellar reputation and strong connections in the field of nonprofit technology. She has experience leading an organization through its teenage years while staying true to the intentions and culture instilled by the founder. Karen most recently worked for the Minnesota-based capacity-building organization MAP for Nonprofits, where she led the technology consulting services and nonprofit technology learning and networking programs. Before that, she helped build the nonprofit CRM/database solution provider thedatabank from a startup to a thriving software company. Additionally, she has worked in Human Resources and holds an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the University of St. Thomas. Karen has written a number of publications, and we look forward to adding her voice and vision to our resources.

In Karen’s own words: 

“Helping nonprofits succeed with technology is my life’s work and it’s thrilling to lead an organization which does that on a national scale. Together we will expand Idealware’s impact and safeguard its reputation as the most trusted resource for nonprofit technology information.”

As for me, this shift allows me to focus on the strengths on which I founded Idealware, while adding Karen’s strengths to the mix. Karen will take the helm to guide Idealware’s continued work and growth, while I take on a role working with partners and guiding our content strategy. Like our mission, our goals are clear and shared by all of us, including the members of our remarkable board of directors, our dedicated staff, and our new Executive Director. We are all enthusiastic about the opportunities this transition brings to Idealware and the nonprofit sector.

We hope you are as excited as we are to welcome Karen. If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions as we chart our course for the next phase, please let us know. We look forward to continuing to provide the same impartial, thorough resources we always have while exploring new ways we can help nonprofits make smart technology decisions.

When Data Gets Personal is using data to make a difference.

A few weeks ago, as I was researching for an upcoming case study report on how various nonprofits measure and track their success, I decided to look up my old elementary school on the website.

At, any public school teacher in America can ask for funding for a particular classroom need and any individual can donate to support that project. The site is a revelation. Never before has it been so easy for anyone to jump in and make a difference in a school. Requests range from basic supplies to high-tech learning aids, but in every case the goal is the same—give every kid the tools and experiences needed for an excellent education.

My own public school education began about 30 years ago in Mrs. Olson’s first grade classroom at Washington Elementary in Mount Vernon, Washington. Tucked just inside city limits on a long straight road that runs like a furrow across the farmland, we were a mix of farm kids and townies on both sides of the Skagit River. The first fieldtrip I ever took was two miles down the road to a dairy farm where the bravest 5- and 6-year-olds got to milk a cow. As far as I was concerned, I went to the best school in Mount Vernon. Maybe the whole world.

It’s funny how much you can learn about the world in 30 years and how little of it seems to reach your kid self still running around on the ball fields and playgrounds of your mind. I found a listing for a project at my old school and the first thing I saw, before I read anything about the teacher or the project, was: “

Highest poverty school.” I was shocked and a little offended, although I’m not sure by what. I did a little more research and found that more than a quarter of the school received free or reduce-price lunch. Had my old school changed so much? 

Then I started thinking about my own school years. I rode the school bus with kids who lived in migrant farm camps. Our bus picked up kids who had no coats and lived in weathered houses low in the flood plain. In class, I sat next to kids who got teased for coming to school smelly. The house of one of my best friends was insulated with newspaper. Although I knew both of my parents grew up poor, I didn’t realize how close to the edge of poverty my own family was until my dad grew too sick to work. 

My old school probably has changed some, but probably not as much as I want to believe. Class and poverty in America are hard to talk about. They’re even harder to admit. Numerous studies confirm this bias. 

But data defies all that and has the potential to show us both what’s real and what works. tells all of us: Here’s the need and here’s what you can do about it. And it’s doing so much more. The organization has warehouses of data that have the potential to open our eyes to patterns that we’ve failed to see thus far and to show us how we can be our best selves.

Data is no panacea. Numbers aren’t answers. But that’s the genius of The numbers, added to a teacher’s reasoned and heartfelt plea, equal solutions in classrooms. It’s hard truths finding big hearts one school at a time.   

I didn’t give to my school that day. I hesitated, and by the time I had checked back again a few days later, the project was gone. But I gave to a school not far from where I live now. The need is just too obvious now. Maybe it always was.

Capitalizing on a Wealth of Data: The First Steps

This post was originally published on the Markets for Good blog. 
We all know a wealth of useful data exists online, in various publications, or hidden away in public archives. Initiatives—often local or focused on a particular sector—have emerged over time to collect and report that data and apply the findings to particular areas of interest. But there’s a bigger story this data can tell. What happens in Nebraska or New Mexico might make a difference in Nova Scotia or the Netherlands. 
The problem is, how do you find that information—or even know what exists? And who knows what else we can learn by seeing all of these initiatives side by side?
Last month we told you about an ongoing research project we were conducting with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Today we’re pleased to show you what we’ve been working on with the launch of our new microsite, Results Data Initiative: Charting the Known World
We’re especially pleased to unveil the site in partnership with our friends at Markets for Good, who have led a number of efforts to standardize and share data. We designed it to allow people to explore the various initiatives our research uncovered and to see the distribution across different sectors, data storage and sharing activities, attributes such as whether the information is public or represented in a dashboard, and geographic focus. You can also filter and compare the level of public awareness of each initiative among its peers, learn more about each initiative’s mission, and follow links to initiative websites. You can even download the data for your own use. 
Below is a snapshot of how the 309 initiatives we found fit together. To dig deeper, visit the full site at and take some time to explore. Questions? Email


Best of the Web: February 2015

The Idealware “Best of the Web” is a monthly roundup of the top nonprofit resources from the Idealware blog, our Facebook page, and our Twitter feed to help you make the right technology decisions. Please forward it along to anyone you think might benefit from it.

We Need More Data Talent (Markets for Good)

What organizations can learn from collecting and analyzing data is powerful. But nonprofits cannot offer the salaries or perks to compete with Silicon Valley. Andrew Means of Impact Lab thinks the only way for the nonprofit sector to gain the talent it needs is for organizations to develop it from within.

The Buzz About Tumblr (Mashable and Nonprofit Tech for Good)

There’s been a lot of talk about Tumblr lately. According to Mashable, its new tools and interface make it easier than ever to write and read long-form posts. For organizations considering using Tumblr, or if you just want to see what other nonprofits are doing on the web, check out these must-follow nonprofits collected by Nonprofit Tech for Good.

Would you Donate Data? (Markets for Good)

Your data is valuable. Social media IPOs have certainly proven that. But what can nonprofits do with personal data and what protections should be in place to protect their members and constituents? Anya Skatova and James Goulding of Nottingham University discuss the pros and cons.

Boosting Facebook Success (Idealware, Fast Company, Frogloop)

Facebook can feel like a rabbit hole. You can spend a lot of time posting content and chasing followers only to find yourself in the dark. Here are a few ways to keep your Facebook page delivering results. From Idealware, a blog post that looks at how to maximize your opportunity to be seen without paying for impressions. Fast Company looks at a little-known tool that can teach you a lot about what works on Facebook and what doesn’t. And Frogloop considers whether Facebook is surpassing YouTube in video.

Timing is Everything in Social Media (Social Media Today and Lifehacker)

If a tweet is sent, but no one is online to read it, does it exist? A couple of articles this month can help you make sure your tweets, and other social media, have a chance. Social Media Today shows in an infographic how often you should post content on various social media channels. And Lifehacker recommends—based on user data—the best times to post videos to YouTube.

Meet Ross, the IBM Watson-Powered Lawyer (PSFK)

Legal aid organizations will be interested in learning that a new Watson-powered supercomputer can help them find laws and precedents to use in the defense of their clients. But any sector that is complex and data rich may be able to benefit from a similar innovation.

Lifehacker Faceoff: The Best Password Managers, Compared (Lifehacker)

If you have too many passwords to remember, you may need a password manager. With all your passwords all in one place, all you need to remember is one password to unlock them.

All CRM Systems Still Need a Database Manager (IT for Charities)

Systems such as Salesforce have made many nonprofits more efficient and better at fundraising. But without someone watching over the CRM system, Ivan Wainewright warns that headaches may be ahead.

Technology Planning and Capacity Building (Idealware and Idealware)

As the northeast digs out of yet another storm, Laura Quinn contemplates the importance of planning your technology moves (or risk getting stuck later). And Kyle Andrei passes on what foundations have told him that they’re looking for in a technology grant.

Connecting with the Dots (Source)

Points on a graph or numbers in a chart can feel dehumanizing—both for the people who work with them and those who are presented data as proof of impact. Jake Harris examines the problem and offers his take on how to design empathy into your data.

Nonprofit Communication Trends to Expect in 2015 (Frogloop)

“According to the 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, by, nonprofits are becoming more confident and more intentional about reaching out to target audiences, raising money, and retaining donors through engagement.”

Bill Gates Is About To Unveil The Most Powerful Tool In The History of Social Activism (Forbes)

Gates is at work creating a massive database to match up socially conscious individuals to organizations where they can do the most good.

DIY Health Care Through Your Phone (NPR and Engadget)

NPR reports on new apps that give teens easier access to mental health help. And Engadget shows how a dongle created by Columbia University researchers can allow anyone to test for HIV in 15 minutes. These are just two of the latest examples of how apps are bringing expertise and data to everyone, often at a much lower cost than traditional service models.

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Tips and Techniques for Making Good Webinars: Engaging Your Audience

Unlike in a live training, where you have a (mostly) captive audience, it’s easier for participants in a webinar to wander off. Most people who have attended a webinar are guilty of at least checking their email or Facebook during the presentation. It’s very easy to get distracted when you aren’t physically in the same room as the presenter. The key then, is to make webinars that the audience wants to pay attention to. A tall order. 

So, how do you make a more engaging webinar?
  1. Get them interacting. The more your participants participate in a webinar, the more engaged they’ll be. Asking people to share their personal experiences, asking questions, taking polls, or showing a little bit of humor can help “break the ice” so your audience will jump in and stay involved.

  2. Have interesting slides. Powerpoint has gotten a bad reputation over the years, which is understandable to anyone who’s had to sit through countless presentations and lectures with wordy, ugly slides. With a webinar, slides are pretty much your only option, so you have to learn to make them better and more compelling. While you should use a set template for presentations, avoid having every slide look the same. The audience needs a visual cue that the slide has changed so that they know there's something new to pay attention to. Use images generously, but make sure that they support the text, rather than distract from it. A splash of color can brighten your slides as long as they're still readable on all displays (high contrast helps a lot here). Most importantly, use less text. Limit yourself to only one concept or point per slide.

  3. Increase the number of slides. For people accustomed to live presentations, this can be a shock when moving to a webinar. In a live seminar, the audience can rely on your body language and activity to stay engaged, which lets you spend several minutes per slide. But with a webinar, more slides (which, as in #2, should be shorter) are better. The rule Idealware follows is to have a new slide every one to two minutes, which averages out to about 60 slides for a 90-minute webinar. This will probably feel like more slides than you think you should use, but with practice, this faster pace will feel more natural and comfortable.

  4. Break up the class into digestible sections. It can be hard to follow along for an hour and a half and retain all the information. It’s helpful to break up your webinar into sections—about 10 to 15 minutes each—that focus on one concept or topic at a time. In addition to making it easier to follow along, breaking up the session lets you take time for a Q&A session or other interaction in between, giving your audience more opportunities to discuss the content or otherwise participate.

  5. Call for questions often. If a participant comes in with his or her One Big Question, but they have to wait 90 minutes for a Q&A session at the end, they’re spending that time thinking about their question, rather than the lesson. Or, as people have grown accustomed to these long webinars where they must hold their questions until the end, it’s easy for them to drift off or start doing other things—eating lunch, checking email, updating Facebook—instead of paying attention. However, if they know and expect the presenter to be calling on them for questions throughout, they’re more likely to pay attention to what’s being said.

For a more in-depth discussion about how to make your webinars more engaging, consider joining How to Build a Better WebinarA Toolkit For Nonprofits. This four-week course takes place every Tuesday from February 17 to March 10 and each session last 90 minutes. Sign up here to get started developing webinars that your audience will value and remember.



Tips and Techniques for Making Good Webinars: Transitioning From Live Sessions to Leading Webinars

Running a webinar isn’t like giving a live presentation—it’s an entirely different beast. A speaker who is normally wonderful at leading in-person seminars may struggle to lead a webinar. It takes a lot of practice to transition between the two. Here are a few tips to help you lead better webinars.

  1. Get used to the deafening silence. When you’re presenting in front of a live audience, you’re constantly getting feedback from participants' body language. But in a webinar you only have a screen to work with. The best webinar presenters are able to put aside their need  for visual cues and find other opportunities for engagement.
  2. Learn to call for questions more often. Because you can no longer rely on reading the audience’s body language, you have to actively call for feedback. As we've mentioned in previous posts, you need to ask questions more often than you would for a live presentation. In addition to getting feedback from participants, you’ll also be fostering a more engaging and ultimately more valuable discussion in the process.
  3. Check for comprehension through the chat feature. In a webinar where 40 or more people can listen in, it’s difficult to let everyone actually speak up. That’s why it’s important to make use of the chat feature. The process of asking a question, then someone deciding to unmute the phone, respond, try to talk at the same time as someone else, then mute again—it can take a lot of time out of your presentation. By having everyone respond in the chat, or through a poll, you can save a lot of time and get feedback from more participants. To make best use of the chat, train yourself to glance at it while presenting and scan for any questions or signs of confusion from the audience.
  4. Use your slides to draw people into the conversation. As we talked about in this previous post, the slides you use are an important part of keeping your audience engaged. Slides that are dynamic, are visually interesting, or make people laugh can help keep your audience tuned in. The takeaway here is to make your webinar stand out by showing the audience that you relate to the fact that, yes, webinars are hard to pay attention to because they are not live sessions.
  5. The slides need to be the centerpiece. It bears repeating that webinars are not like live trainings. In a live presentation, you, the presenter, are the centerpiece, the focus of everyone’s attention. You’re standing up, talking, moving around, gesturing wildly…well, not wildly, but certainly you’re animated. In a webinar though, people can only hear you. But not everyone is good at learning only by listening. You need to stimulate them at multiple different levels—visually, aurally, and cognitively. Just one approach won’t be effective for every participant. you need to use all three together.
  6. You need to find voice cues to replace the visual ones. The cues and expressions you normally rely on your body language and gestures to convey are useless in a webinar. And, if we're being honest, it’s a little disconcerting to hear a disembodied voice speaking to you from your computer. So, try to humanize yourself. This can be as simple as putting up your headshot at the beginning of the presentation so that the audience can put a face to your voice. Ideally though, you want to practice conveying emotions through your voice, rather than through body language. Practice leading a webinar to an empty phone line, record it, and listen to the recording. How can your voice sound more natural? What does excitement sound like? How can you make your questions and prompts more engaging?
Webinars shouldn’t be scary, and everyone takes a while to find his or her voice. With practice and patience, you too can become a master presenter.

For an in-depth discussion about how to make your webinars more engaging, consider joining How to Build a Better Webinar: A Toolkit For Nonprofits. This four-week course takes place every Tuesday from February 17 to March 10 and each session last 90 minutes. Sign up here to get started developing webinars that your audience will value and remember.


Facebook Success: Tips for Boosting Organic Reach

Many organizations have noticed that their Facebook engagement is declining. Being any type of brand on Facebook is challenging, and it always has been, but for nonprofit organizations that don't have the resources to sponsor posts or advertise on social media, it's especially hard to get noticed. So how do you make the most out of your organization's organic (unpaid) social media posts? 

Here are a few things you can try:

  • Post timing – Facebook Insights provides interesting data about when your fans are online. You can take a look at your own statistics by going to your page’s insights and clicking on the “posts” tab. You might be surprised to find that even though you post when you are at work, most of your fans like to log on just before bed, or vice-versa. Your audience’s time zone can also have a big impact on when they pull up Facebook.  Remember that you can always schedule posts ahead of time if your schedules do not match up.

  • Post frequency – If you are in the habit of posting multiple times per-day (a common thing to do on Twitter, for example), try scaling back to once or twice per day and see if your results improve. A few unique and well thought out posts will almost certainly be better than a string of average posts. If you are only posting once per week, consider developing a content calendar and scheduling more frequent posts. Our workbook, A Practical Guide to Integrated Communications, can help.

  • Photos – Photos don’t have to be memes or infographics to catch people’s eyes as they scroll down their news feed. A simple shot of your office, some volunteers out in the field, or people at your event can increase performance drastically. Thanks to the quality of phone cameras these days, anyone can take social media ready shots at a moment’s notice.

  • Videos – Videos are a bit more time-consuming than photos, but the results are often worth it. Whether you use YouTube or Facebook Videos to post them doesn’t seem to make a tremendous difference in viewership. With Facebook Pages’ new redesign, previous videos and photos show up more prominently, so it may be worth uploading a video just to Facebook to test the results for yourself.

  • News and Timely Posts – You may have noticed a “trending topics” feed on the side of your Facebook page lately. If you can tie one of your posts to these topics, it will be given a slightly higher ranking on your followers’ feeds. Starting a timely discussion around something important to your community is another sure-fire way to get your fans talking to each other, which is the best way of all to increase engagement.

  • Lists and Mysterious Headlines – You may roll your eyes whenever you see an “Upworthy” headline, but they work in getting people to click. Buzzfeed style lists work similarly. They both give the audience enough information to be tantalized, but not enough to actually know what the content is. Naturally, they want to find out, so they click. The only rule with these is to follow through with your promise. If you say that your article is the most “amazing, incredible, jaw dropping revelation ever,” it had better be a pretty astounding discovery or you won’t get those clicks when you try it again.

  • Contests and Freebies – Who doesn’t love free stuff? Consider trying a photo contest to boost your page visits and increase your roster of photos at once. The rules around what types of contests you can run on Facebook are always changing, so do your research before jumping in.

  • Tell your audience to like and share – It might feel weird at first, but ending a post with “please share” really can get you more shares. Again, this is a power you shouldn’t abuse. Save it for your most important posts. If you are trying to boost your number of page likes, consider asking your current fans to spread the word about how great your page is. You can also ask your fans to opt-in to receive notifications every time you post, but only your most hardcore fans are likely to do it.

What have your experiences been? Any tips to add? Let us know in the comments.

For more social media tips, especially if you're a beginner or looking to reboot your social media efforts, join our free webinar: 10 #Social Media Tactics to Do More With Less.

Lessons from Foundations on Technology Capacity Building

Idealware has written extensively about funding technology projects—see A Funders Guide to Supporting Technology and Funding Technology Projects for proof of that. Technology in and of itself won’t save lives or end world hunger, but the right technology can build an organization’s overall effectiveness and efficiency, multiplying the impact of its work.

However, many foundations are still reluctant to support technology projects. We spoke to a few foundations that award grants for technology capacity building to find out what lessons they’ve learned on what makes technology projects succeed or fail. 

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

One family foundation inquired with a current grantee about funding its social media efforts. In addition to a grant, the foundation offered several resources and examples to help the grantee, the producers of a documentary film series, determine what sort of social media capacity-building project would further its mission—to help viewers take action in their communities. The details of the project were left up to the grantee, which was asked to provide up to five ideas it might want to explore. 

However, the grantee never replied to the foundation with its ideas and the social media capacity-building funds ultimately fell through. Perhaps social media wasn’t as important to the organization as the foundation hoped. Or maybe it just wasn’t interested enough in capacity-building to put in the work that the foundation expected of them. The point is, the granting foundation doesn't know why the organization never pursued this opportunity. The grantee never communicated how this idea fell short and what might work better. As a result, it may have missed a big opportunity. 

Make the Most of Feedback  

When a large organization had trouble reporting effectively on key indicators for a policy program, one of its foundation funders grew concerned. The foundation raised the issue with the organization's leadership, which prompted an in-depth tech assessment.

The findings were troubling. IT was failing the organization. In addition to limiting the grantee’s ability to effectively report on metrics for this particular program, the study uncovered IT issues that affected other departments. As a result of the assessment, the organization developed an extensive and detailed tech road map, which included the creation of a new VP of IT. 

While the grantee organization was already well-funded and prepared to carry on with the IT plan independently, the foundation decided to expand its grant to include support for this capacity-building project. This gesture was a powerful statement about the importance of technology systems to relationships between grantors and grantees. Not only was the foundation willing to fund capacity building, it was eager to do so because it meant solving problems that affected the success of both organizations.

Start by Building Capacity Where It’s Needed Most

Sometimes it can be difficult for organizations to identify the real cause of their technology capacity issues. One foundation learned this first-hand when one of its grantees, a citizen science group, had trouble with volunteer recruitment and retention. 

This organization was rebuilding its volunteer recruitment and training program after staff turnover left gaps in its volunteer coordination efforts. At the time, its volunteer outreach and scheduling was done through an older chat group, which was separate from the system used to track volunteers. Instead, it wanted to move those efforts to social media. The organization contacted the foundation for help identifying what platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) made the most sense for its needs. 

However, when a representative from the foundation took stock of the organization’s existing technology, the real issue became clear—the old, custom-built database serving as a volunteer management system was clearly not meeting the organization’s needs.

Know Your Limits

While we want to help all organizations build their technology capacity, the fact is that not all technology projects will be successful. Ultimately, foundations need to evaluate how ready a grantee is for capacity building.

A foundation focused on funding environmental and conservation efforts told us about a well-informed, well-prepared proposal sent by a grantee that wanted to use technology for the monitoring and enforcement of a vast protected area. This organization had clearly spent a great deal of thought researching the technology available and had developed strong relationships with community leaders who could help implement the plan.

However, while the expense to develop the plan was reasonable, the cost to implement the technology was much larger—nearly twice the organization's entire budget. The foundation was willing to consider the proposal and took an in-depth look at the long-term sustainability of the organization and its plan, but ultimately had to decide that this organization just wasn’t ready for a project of this cost and scope.

Don’t Get Trapped In Technology Ice Dunes

Associated PressLiving in Portland, Maine, means you spend a lot of time shoveling snow. It’s not a job I look forward to, but I’ve learned to appreciate bundling up and heading out into a quiet morning with a shovel in hand because it gives me time to think.
I spent much of yesterday morning digging out from the latest blizzard. And as I excavated around my car it occurred to me how much shoveling snow is like technology planning.
While you're shoveling out your driveway, you plan how much room you'll leave for cars. Maybe you're feeling lazy and you shovel out a passageway with just an inch or two to spare. Or maybe it's an easy job and you shovel out a wide berth on both sides.
It doesn't feel like an important decision at the time, but this is January. These snow dunes you’ve created or left behind aren’t going anywhere for a while. They may thaw a little, but then they’ll freeze again. Maybe more snow falls and they get bigger. Maybe it rains a little one day and then freezes again turning everything into ice as hard as rock. Within a few days your casually shoveled banks of snow could become nearly impenetrable until spring.
There are a lot of technology decisions that we as nonprofits approach just as casually. But those decisions can often be with us for much longer than we thought and create many unforeseen problems. For example, you may decide to throw up a temporary website without a lot of thought about the structure, but then years later you’re still using it—frustrating your constituents, volunteers, and staff. Or, maybe you decide to use a particular piece of software because you need a quick solution, but once your staff is comfortable with it and well-versed in its features, they resist your efforts to upgrade to something better.
Change is hard, whether it's chipping through the ice to widen your driveway or trying to improve a system that’s been in place for a while. It's worth giving a little extra thought when you're making those "temporary" decisions to consider whether they're likely to make life a misery for you down the road. You Californians or Mississippians might not have experienced this, but most Mainers know that if you don’t shovel out wide enough in the morning and throw your snow far from the driveway, when you come home at night you can find yourself trapped in the ice you’ve piled up around yourself.


Photo credit: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

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