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ICT E-Bulletin - June 2011

By Lasa Information Systems Team

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

Lasa news

Which CRM is right for you?

Choosing a database can be just about the most complex, time consuming and expensive technology project undertaken by charities. And yet the decision-making process is often heavily influenced by the sales presentation and how the database looks. To address these concerns, Lasa held a CRM Summit on 7 June at Charity Technology Trust, to give people a chance to compare and contrast three popular CRM databases - Salesforce, CiviCRM and Microsoft Dynamics. Lasa's CRM "ScoreCard" comparison tool, launched at the event, has now also been made available.

Lasa Technology Handbook updated

Our 62 page Technology Handbook has been revised and issued as version 1.0 following a trial period. The Handbook is a central repository of all information relevant to the configuration and management of the technology services within an organisation - from your ISP’s login details to where licence keys are stored. It is aimed at third sector technology staff who have responsibility for supporting, developing, managing and securing ICT systems be they an accidental techie, ICT manager, trustee or volunteer.

In this revised version, there are new Configuration sub-sections on accessibility, social media and  cloud services and Policy sub-sections covering social media and training. There is also a Summary of Recommendations for use after working through the Handbook following a Healthcheck, more knowledgebase links and icons to make them stand out. The colour scheme has been revised to make it easier to navigate. It is currently only available as a PDF for filling in with low-tech pencil.

Read all about IT!

The latest issue of Computanews, our quarterly technology magazine for the third sector, can be downloaded now (PDF 1.68 MB). In issue 160, May 2011:

  • Moving your office phone system to the cloud - Tim Watkins-Idle explains the stages involved in Lasa's recent move to VoIP
  • Editorial - we analyse the recent Computanews survey and reveal changes that are afoot...
  • Helping hand for helplines - Mark McLean at The Helplines Association looks at how their City Bridge Trust funded programme has helped organisations make better use of helpline-type services
  • The Circuit Rider journey - hang up your spurs? - Sarah Lord Soares at Lasa assesses and ponders on a recent survey of the UK Riders community
  • Tips 160 - Switching to VoIP
  • 101 Tips on how to buy fundraising software and charity CRM systems - Simon Davey reviews Ivan Wainwright's new publication
  • Archiving emails - the UKRiders discuss the best ways of storing your electronic communications for legal purposes
  • Our regular data protection, open source and green technology columns fromn Paul Ticher, Paula Graham and Adam Clamp

News

100,000 ‘Digital Champions’ to get Britain online

The Cabinet Office has recently announced the recruitment of 100,000 Big Society ‘Digital Champions’ by UK Digital Champion, Martha Lane Fox.

YouthNet’s mobile phone app to locate volunteering opportunities

Third Sector reports that the volunteering charity’s new app called +U (plus you) will match users with opportunities at 28,000 organisations on the Do-it volunteering database.

Charities escape fines over unencrypted data

The Information Commissioner’s Office has concluded that two charities breached data protection rules by storing unencrypted data about children or young people on laptops that were later stolen, Third Sector reports.

iCloud floats into existence

Apple announces its cloud offering so you can access your iTunes and data anywhere from any connected device. But it has limitations says Indiewire.

Cisco predicts internet device boom

The number of internet connected devices is set to explode in the next four years to over 15 billion - twice the world's population by 2015. Maggie Shiels, Technology reporter at BBC News writes that Cisco predicts the proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, connected appliances and other smart machines will drive this growth.

Prototype portal for Government information and transactions launched

eGov monitor reports that  The government has launched alpha.gov.uk  - a prototype website that could eventually replace the directgov website which is not well liked by the users. The aim is to bring all government information and transactions into one place aimed at delivering citizen centric public services online. Cabinet office representatives reiterated that this is a prototype and is intended to serve to prove the concept over the next couple of months.

Do you need an IT volunteer?

Already this year over 350 willing and skilled IT people have signed up to give their time and skills to non profit projects, this joins our existing over 5,000 strong community. Fifty percent are in London but they can often help remotely and we have people across UK. iT4Communities (iT4C) is looking for more projects for them. Main skills offered are: technical support, database & consultancy but they can also help with other technical dilemmas. The joining fee of £85+VAT gives a year of access to highly professional and skilled IT volunteers and iT4C staff support. Case studies for inspiration, a map of volunteers and testimonials on iT4C’s website. Contact  Anne Stafford iT4Communities Programme Manager for AbilityNet on 020 7796 2144

Events, training & learning

London ICT Events

For London technology events please see our Events Calendar.  This month's events include the Third Annual Cloud Computing World Forum, e-Access 2011, IT Decisions 2011 and Activate London 2011.

Strategic social media training at KnowHow NonProfit

Make the most of your campaign or brand by using the right social media tools in a strategic, results-oriented way. Social media consultant Sylwia Presley from leading digital agency Voice explains how to be strategic about your social media presence whether you’ve just started your social media journey or you’re already well on your way. Only £8.99 for four online training videos, downloadable resources and forum discussion moderated by the trainer.

Function at the AppsJunction

AppsJunction is a mobile apps Meetup in London where developers meet clients. The events are free and give members a chance of two minute pitches. AppsJunction is open to all regardless of technical knowledge or professional background.

New BCS green certifications

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, has a growing number of green initiatives, In addition to its Green IT Foundation Certificate and Certified Energy Efficiency Data Centre Award (CEEDA) there are two new certifications: EU Code of Conduct Certificate for Data Centres and Certificate in Energy and Cost Management.

Funding and awards

BT Community Connections

If you are, or know of, a community group which helps, or wants to help, people access the internet and improve their ICT skills, they could be eligible to receive 12 months' free broadband from BT. Silver surfers, after school and youth clubs, even 'IT for the Terrified' groups have benefitted from an award in the past and are now encouraging even more people to get online. Applying for an award is easy - there is an online application form but note to read the full rules and guidance notes. The closing date for applications is Thursday 15th September at 5.30pm.

Resources, legal and accessibility

How charities could save money by getting on 'the cloud'

Cloud computing could potentially save organisations money, says Aba Maison, Head of Technology Services at Lasa on the Guardian’s Voluntary Sector Network - but make sure you know what you're doing...

NTEN Change - new issue out now

The free online quarterly journal, "NTEN: Change" focuses on serving the needs of nonprofit decision-makers. Once you subscribe, a link to the journal will be emailed to you.

Idealware’s Facebook survey results out now

Earlier this year, Idealware surveyed 505 nonprofit organizations using Facebook as part of their communications mix about their practices on the site. This report sums up the survey results and also provides case studies and quotes from interviews with nonprofits to help define what success means on Facebook.

Information Commissioner provides guidance on new cookie law

NFP Techno reports that advice on how UK businesses and organisations can comply with a new EU law on the use of cookies technology, which came into force on 27 May, has been published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). ICO is giving website operators a year to comply with the law.

Connect and give to good causes

Good Connection is a new online social network that is dedicated to charitable giving, with a pledge to convert up to 20% of all its advertising revenue into money for worthy causes. Currently in beta, charities supported include cancer Research UK and Marie Curie Cancer Care. You can follow Good Connection @Good_Connection on Twitter.

Standardised cloud computing terms on the EU agenda

The European Commission may establish standard terms and conditions for the use of cloud computing services. The proposal is contained in a consultation on cloud computing published by the Commission, Out-Law.com reports

New report on volunteer management software

Idealware has issued another of their excellent free (upon registration) software comparison guides. They designed the report as an introduction to volunteer management software: what’s out there, what to expect, and how the different solutions compare. It covers the basic features and functions that might be desirable, and discusses the pros and cons of standalone systems  versus those that track volunteers alongside donors or other constituents. Finally, it compares the strengths and weaknesses of three standalone volunteer management systems and three consolidated constituent management systems, with contextual information about 21 additional systems.

ICO to probe Facebook about its use of facial recognition technology

Out-Law.com reports that Facebook will be asked to explain whether it considered the impact new technology that recognises faces in photos would have on users' privacy before introducing the feature, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has said.

Practical tips

What social media tools do we need?

For a social enterprise, charity or a not-for-profit organisation the answer ought to be obvious – yet it remains a matter of constant discussion Lawrence Clarke over on SIFT Groups looks at what social media tools and processes are appororaite for your organisation.

Databases can be fun...

Louise Brown attends the aforementioned Lasa CRM summit, confesses her love for databases and passes on some helpful advice.

Just signed up to Twitter and not sure who to follow?

Here’s a few suggestions of  technology and non-profit resource tweeters:

and, of course,  @LasaICT

Tools and applications

Apple release OSX Lion

Following on from Snow Leopard, Apple have unleashed the latest version of their operating system which they say has 250 new features...

Social Media Dashboards

For those of you just embarking in the social media sphere or for those already fully up and running - there are a range of tools that can save you time by enabling you to manage and maintain a number of social media broadcasts from one place. Socialbrite has rounded up its top ten tools - for example, Twitterfeed can be used to automatically send out  Twitter and Facebook messages from your blog’s rss feed and Hootsuite allows broadcast to multiple social media networks from one screen, scheduling of messages, tracking and analytics, team collaboration and is available as a mobile app.

Opinion

Making the most of retired IT staff as volunteers

Helen Simmon of the Diocese of London says that retired volunteers have more time than others and are much more IT literate than a few years previously.

Does my organisation need a server?

An interesting debate on TechSoup’s forum which looks at the various alternative approaches to replacing a clapped out server.

Can online work save the environment?

Jim Lynch over at TechSoup looks at how “microwork” from home can help save time and energy.

Skype - from marginal to mainstream

John Tate examines the potential, and the pitfalls, of Skype, the fast-growing (and now Microsoft owned) communications phenomenon over on the Civil Society IT blog (requires free registration).

And finally

Tech cat - Patrick shuts down a laptop

 


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

Glossary

Accidental Techie, Blog, Broadband, Circuit Rider, Cloud Computing, Cookies, Database, Feed, Forum, ICT, Internet, ISP, Mobile, Mobile phone, Monitor, Network, Operating System, PDF, RSS, Software, Standalone, VoIP, Website

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Published: 15th June 2011

Copyright © 2011 Lasa Information Systems Team

 

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