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ICT E-Bulletin - August 2011

By Lasa Information Systems Team

A source of technology news, resources and advice for small to medium sized third sector organisations.

Lasa news

Does your chief executive speak geek?

Lasa wants to know how charities and their chief executives are using newer technology like social media and other tools. We want to hear from all charity workers, whatever your job title - and you could win a £25 Amazon voucher.

The survey is supported by sounddelivery, a specialist digital media training, production and consultancy company. It will take you five minutes to complete, and everything you tell us will be anonymous, so please be as honest as you can.

This survey, which runs until 31 August, will help us build a clearer picture of how charities are using technology, particularly in a strategic way.

Computanews 161 out now!

Lasa is pleased to announce the August 2011 issue of Computanews, the first to be published exclusively online. As detailed in our editorial in the last issue of Computanews this will mean that we’re able to easily archive articles which will be searchable and that readers will have the opportunity to comment. We'll also be able to embed more online content and make it easier to link to related sources.

In the new issue of Computanews

  • What Is Customer Relationship Management In The Third Sector?
  • Technology Leadership Academy - An Online Learning Experience
  • Opening Up To Open Data
  • Clouds Of Confusion
  • Keeping Your Data Secure: 101 Tips You Must Know
  • Cloud computing - Data Protection And Other Legal Issues
  • Ubuntu – A Trial – And Some Tribulations...


Microsoft expands charity software donation programme

Microsoft has expanded its software donations programme, widening the types of charities that can apply and allowing them to order more products.

Donate via Twitter

Twitter users can now donate to charity via JustGiving using a new app called  However, charities need to be registered with and JustGiving.

High-level cyber attacks on the increase, says McAfee

The Washington Post reports that McAfee have monitored attacks using logs produced by a single server to trace the hacking of over 70 corporations and governmental organisations. Whilst emailed links to viruses are still a significant method of accessing systems, hacking of remote access keys is also rife.

Making Open Data Real: A Public Consultation

The Open Data consultation paper sets out Government’s proposed approach for Transparency and Open Data Strategy, which is aimed at establishing a culture of openness and transparency in public services. The Government want to hear from everyone – citizens, businesses, public services themselves, and other interest groups – on how we can best embed a culture of openness and transparency in our public services. The deadline for responses is 27 October 2011.

Events, training & learning

London Events Calendar

For London technology events please see our Events Calendar. This month's events include CiviCon 2011 and Civi CRM training (see below).

Affordable e-learning for charities, community organisations and volunteers

My Learning Pool is the new on-line training resource for volunteers, people working in community groups and staff in small charities and social enterprises.  It provides access to cost effective training resources for those who offer their time to their community and who seek to grow their knowledge and therefore the impact they make. My Learning Pool contains a growing list of 28 modules on topics which includes using social media and understanding today’s technology.

The cost for an individual, for all modules, per year is £25. There are bulk discounts for over 25 people. There is also an affiliate scheme where your organisation would receive a 20% share of any sales of My Learning Pool licences through an affiliate banner from your own website.

CiviCRM training - 31 August - 1 September

The London CiviCRM community is running 2 trainings: one for developers and implementers and one for users and administrators. The user and administrator training takes you through everything you can do with the CiviCRM user interface: how to install and configure CiviCRM for daily use at your organisation, and how to get the most out of the core and component functionality.  The developer and implementer training is for people that want to start doing things that you can't do with out of the box CiviCRM. The two day training costs £400.

Small Charities Coalition and IBM skills workshops

As in 2010, IBM staff will be running 4 skills workshops (Project Management, Impact Measurement, Web Design and Technology Planning) but this year they are being held in more locations across the UK. The workshops will be held throughout September and October and will cost just £10 per delegate. Attendees are encouraged to work on real projects and there is support throughout the day from IBM staff.

NCVO take over KnowHow NonProfit

NCVO and City University have announced that the staff working on  learning site KnowHow NonProfit,  will transfer to NCVO at the end of their Big Lottery funding.

New MA/MSc In Creating Social Media

This new unique theory/practice programme combines computing and cultural studies to provide people with the practical and critical skills to shape the future of social media. The MA/MSc is a collaborative theory/practice programme across the Department of Computing and the Centre for Cultural Studies at Goldsmith’s University, and is part of the newly launched Centre for Creative and Social Technologies.

New KnowHow NonProfit training courses

KHNP have introduced 2 new technology courses ‘How to make a web video to promote your cause’ and ‘Fundraising from your database: how to turn contacts into supporters’. Both courses consist of 4 online training videos, downloadable resources and forum discussion and are £8.99 each.

Funding and awards

Nominet Trust funding for community IT projects

Community IT projects in England are being invited to apply for grants of up to £5,000 to get more people online, as a result of a partnership between the Nominet Trust and UK Online Centres. Be quick, as applications close on 19 August.

BT Community Connections

The deadline for applications for the current round of this established programme  is  5.30 pm on Thursday September 15th 2011.   The award is for a year’s free Internet connection.

Resources, legal and accessibility

What is the best way to backup the information at our small nonprofit organization?

Deborah Finn and Gavin Clabaugh talk online backups in this 5 minute podcast over on CommunityTechKnowledge.

Working in virtual teams

TechSoup rounds up advice from a tweetchat on homeworking.

Remote access demystified

Remote access allows staff to work from any location without being tied to a specific physical location. With the amount of consolidation, decentralization of offices, and home or travel-based positions, being able to offer solid remote access technology to your staff, board, and volunteers is critical for your success. In the first of a two part series, TechSoup examines the issues in this adaptation of a whitepaper from finance software vendor Sage.

Assistive and Accessible ICT resources

A reminder that AbilityNet have a comprehensive range of factsheets, skillsheets and a list of useful low cost programs.

Practical tips

11 Websites designed for the social web

NonProfitOrgs says that, with the growth of social media, nonprofits would be wise to consider the effect of the Social Web when launching or re-designing their websites.

6 Dos and don’ts of email marketing

A MarketingProfs article in which you'll learn how to increase subscriber engagement via email design. 3 design pitfalls to avoid and 3 design steps you can't afford to miss.

19 ways non-profits can use social media to connect with donors

A (US) 50 minute presentation by Tim Bete of St Mary Development Corporation, Dayton, a housing not-for profit on using social media for fundraising.

Cloud file storage - help from Idealware

In this video, Idealware's senior researcher Jay Leslie talks about the advantages of cloud-based file storage systems, something he recently put into practice for our own back-office needs.

Tools and applications

Apple release Lion OSX 10.7 update

The Guardian has an extensive review of the updates and changes in Apple’s update to Snow Leopard.

New version of Chrome released with predictive links

Google have released version 13 of its Chrome browser which addresses security issues and includes support for the company's Instant Pages technology. The new feature predicts what links a user is likely to click and automatically downloading and pre-rendering them, causing pages to appear to load much faster.

Costs in the Cloud - Renting Software vs. Buying

Jim Lynch over on TechSoup looks at the pros and cons of ongoing monthly costs against outright purchase.


NFP Techno reports on a new donations analysis package from itforcharities. Just RFM allows organisations to perform Recency, Frequency and Monetary value calculations. There is a 30 day trial version and a special offer purchase price.

New social impact database

Social Impact Tracker from Illuminate is a secure on-line output and outcomes database designed to provide a solution for front line organisations. The whitepaper The Guide to Social Impact Monitoring is now available from Illuminate.

Zoho Creator

If you need to create an online database or link a current database to your website - take a look at Zoho Creator one of Zoho’s range of collaboration & business apps.  You can build a database from scratch or upload an existing Excel spreadsheet or Access database.  You can then embed forms or reports with filtering functionality into your web pages.  There is a free version, with a pricing plan for additional users / features.


Cloud - a charitable act

Mark Young from The Cloud Circle talks to Lasa CEO Terry Stokes, about how the Cloud can help charities and non-profit organisations focus on the things that they do best. It could be the saviour of ‘big society’ too…

Facebook’s MySQL database growing pains

Derrick Harris looks into what goes on behind Facebook’s site on its 2,600 (and counting) servers.

Hearing (and reading) voices

Deborah Elizabeth Finn looks at how Google’s new Voice phone and voicemail transcription service could work for non-profits.

Cloud computing in the public sector

Dan Elron at Accenture over on eGovmonitor asserts that the public sector can benefit from economies of scale via cloud computing far in excess of many private sector organisations. However it needs a coherent strategy...

And finally

Quote of the month

“I often tell people that scanning may not have the results you expect – it’s a bit like a Polaroid* of your grandmother. It may look like your grandmother, but it won’t bake cookies.” Gavin Clabaugh, Mott Foundation, on the NTEN Discuss list in response to a query about scanning documents and using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

* Polaroid - ye olde fashioned instant photographic print

About the author

Lasa Information Systems Team
Lasa's Information Systems Team provides a range of services to third sector organisations including ICT Health Checks and consulting on the best application of technology in your organisation. Lasa IST maintains the knowledgebase. Follow us on Twitter @LasaICT


Backup, Blog, Browser, Cloud Computing, Cookies, Database, Forum, ICT, Internet, Line, MAC, MySQL, Podcast, Software, Spreadsheet, Storage, Voicemail, Website

Published: 11th August 2011

Copyright © 2011 Lasa Information Systems Team

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