This is the second of a series of interviews with my fellow Idealware bloggers. Taking advantage of our proximity at the 2009 Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco recently, I had the good fortune to be able to interview each of them personally. See Part 1: Steve Backman
if you missed it. Laura is the founder of Idealware and I was already a big fan so it was fun to be surprised by some of her answers.
On Connecting Nonprofits & Technology
Even though Laura began with a degree in apparel management she didn't enjoy the related internships and ended up with Accenture, one of the big 5 consulting firms (at that time) specializing in accounting, technology, and business consulting for Fortune 500 companies. Two years into the position the tech bubble began and she moved into the internet consulting world, including a doomed one that focused on start-up nonprofit businesses. At the same time, Laura did a lot of volunteering and tech for nonprofits which Laura found fulfilling, so after the crash she used her skills as an internet architect and strategist to do web strategy for nonprofits on her own.On Blogging
Although Laura didn't really start blogging before Idealware (other than a personal blog of Nintendo game reviews with her husband) she was always writing. Even in the tech bubble she wrote articles and started writing a series called "Tech on Shoestring".The Magic Wand Question
One of the questions I asked in each interview was this: If you had a magic wand that could transform one aspect of nonprofit technology in an instant, what would it be and why?
Laura's answer was to fix the funding situation for technology in couple of different ways. She feels that right now there isn't a lot of understanding of technology or its role, so organizations need to hide it and pretend they’re not spending on technology in reports to funders. She sees capacity in general as underfunded. Its not that all foundations should fund specific technology projects, but that the technology budget is currently housed in administration and seen as overhead and not as part of the core mission work. So a stroke of the wand to educate funders as to why it's critical to fund tech as part of the mission would be her wish.The Next 5 Years
Asked what might be most exciting for nonprofit technology in the next five years, Laura responded that she is enthusiastic about the levels of integration coming into play.
More than fancy new technologies, its how we'll learn to integrate what we already have into the work we do. Along with the business sector, nonprofits will see the overlap and be able to take advantage of it. Looking back five years we were just starting to see organizations grasp the potential of having a web site, so in the next five the hope is that it becomes an integral part of how do they do business and is brought into full alignment with their overarching goals.Personal snapshotsFirst thing you launch on your computer when you boot/in the morning?
My time tracking program because I have trouble remembering that I’m support to be tracking time – and tracking helps me to be intentional.Is there a tech term or acronym that (still?) makes you giggle and why?
There is an acronym from the tech support field, PEBKAC - problem exists between keyboard and chair. It’s completely the opposite of my approach to technology (I have a background in usability and user research), but it still cracks me up.Favorite non-technology related thing or best non-techy skill?
Well, I juggle and I have been making sausage. My husband is a crazy chef currently making cheese. We realized that between us, we could be homesteaders - I garden, do carpentry, sew, spin, and weave. He’s making cheese and beer. All we need is some land and a cow.Which do you want first - Replicator, holodeck, transporter or warp drive?
Definitely the transporter if it can go far enough. But wait, can you use the replicator to make a transporter?