Robert Weiner

Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Our friends at Idealware and NTEN have released their Consumers Guide to Low Cost Donor Management Systems. The guide presents detailed comparisons of 33 donor databases that cost less than $4,250 in the first year. It includes a high-level overview of common features, comparisons and summaries of the systems they reviewed, recommendations for which systems might be suited to a variety of nonprofit scenarios, and a directory of consultants who can help you select a database.

Lame spams of the day: confirmation from [insert social network name]

Robert Weiner

In the past 2 days I've received spams in the form of confirmations from MySpace, Habbo, Tagged, and Foursquare. Sender: Tagged (Tagged@taggedmail.com). Is it a trend or just me?

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Phishing scam of the day: U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change lottery

Robert Weiner

Here's what it looks like: Tags: Phishing Spam It's not unusual to get phishing scams in the form of lottery "winnings" or that appear to come from legitimate businesses or nonprofits (see the Habitat for Humanity job offer scam ). But this scam is more creative than most.

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Roundup of 2009 Online Giving Stats

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup I t's the season for a slew of reports analyzing last year's online giving results. Convio released their 2010 Online Nonprofit Benchmark Study in March, based on results from nearly 500 clients. Its findings included: 14% growth in online giving overall.

ROI for a donor database

Robert Weiner

Many other important issues are hard to put a price tag, like. My colleague Charlie Hunsaker posted the following question on the FUNDSVCS Advancement Services listserve: I have two clients who are looking for new systems and want a “cost justification” for their acquisition to share with their management. Probably an issue that we should all be looking at. So with some background, I’ve got some questions.

What’s in Your Data Ecosystem?

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Our friends at NTEN have launched a survey to examine nonprofits' data ecosystems. Your first question is probably "what is a data ecosystem?"

Email Bounce Codes Decoded

Robert Weiner

Tags: Email Marketing TechSoup If you send mass email messages, you probably see a lot of bouncebacks that look like this: Remote host said: 550 SC-004 Mail rejected by Windows Live Hotmail for policy reasons. So what the heck does bounce code "550 SC-004" mean?

Taking Advantage of a Crisis

Robert Weiner

Tags: Fundraising Nonprofit Management TechSoup Although some recent news stories have reported postive economic signs, the outlook for the nonprofit sector still looks bleak. Target Analytics' Index of National Fundraising Performance for the first quarter of 2009 had nothing but bad news.

Creating Strong Passwords

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup The recent theft of confidential documents from Twitter's Google Docs account points out the dangers of insecure passwords. NTEN's blog discusses the details of the break-in and lessons we should learn from it. The chief lesson: good passwords are key to good security. .

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Anatomy of My Web Site

Robert Weiner

Tags: Web Add new tag wordpress Several friends who have decided to explore WordPress have asked how I built my site. Here are the steps I went through: 1) I hired a designer, Robyn Smith ( [link] ). Robyn installed WP on my existing web host ( dotable.com ). Fortunately, they offered support for WP, since I was paid up for the year. I decided to install WP rather than use their hosting because it seemed like that gave me more control over the design and plug-ins.

Twitter Hacking and Cloud Security

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup The front-page headlines read " Hacker steals Twitter's confidential documents ," but the real story isn't about Twitter — it's that the stolen documents were stored online, "in the cloud." This could happen to any nonprofit or company storing data this way.

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Nonprofit Technology 601

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Heather Carpenter’s Nonprofit Leadership 601 blog posted a list of resources for people who are new to the field of nonprofit technolology.

Optimize Your Web Pages

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Do you know about Google's Website Optimizer ? It's a free tool that allows you to test how different versions of the same web page perform.

GivingUSA Reports a Drop in 2008 Giving

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup The good news from the annual GivingUSA report (PDF) on U.S. philanthropy is that total giving for 2008 was estimated to have exceeded $300 billion for the second year in a row, for a total of $307.65 billion. But, unfortunately, most of the news was bad.

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Do New Online Donors Give Again?

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup A new study released by Blackbaud’s Target Analytics division suggests that first-time online donors do not become recurring donors.

Cn U Raise $ Via Txt?

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Following up on Elliot’s blog post, How Important Is Mobile Giving? ,

Downadup Worm on the Rampage

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Internet security firm F-Secure has estimated that more than 3.5 million computers have been infected with the Downadup worm , a malicious program.

NY Times says text donations system is flawed

Robert Weiner

Tags: Fundraising Mobile Communications Online Fundraising One of the presentations at last month’s Association of Advancement Services Professionals conference dealt with mobile giving. I’m still skeptical about its suitability for most nonprofits, and the NY Times said the same yesterday.

Jay Love leaving Blackbaud

Robert Weiner

Tags: Donor Databases Jay Love, the founder and CEO of eTapestry (and before that, of Master Software), is leaving Blackbaud to become CEO of Social Solutions: [link]. I spoke with Jay yesterday and he says that Blackbaud is committed to etapestry and will continue to invest in the product. Time will tell.

Cities Acting Like Nonprofits

Robert Weiner

Tags: Fundraising I just spoke on a fundraising panel at Compasspoint's Silicon Valley/Peninsula Nonprofit Forum. One takeaway: some California cities are finding that they need to raise private funds to make up for cuts in State and local funding. This means thinking and acting like nonprofits. The city department in question has no board and no staff who know how to solicit donations.

Prizes for Paperless Fundraising

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Have you successfully moved from paper-based direct mail fundraising to digital tools (email, websites, video, social media, widgets, and/or mobile)? Want to gloat about your successes and possibly make some (more) money as well? The Paperless Choice Challenge is rewarding successful, creative, replicable campaigns that use electronic fundraising tools by giving away eight prizes totalling over $20,000. Entries can be submitted between June 15 and September 15, 2010.

Chosing a donor database

Robert Weiner

Tags: Advancement Services Donor Databases Nonprofit Technology Software I get a lot of emails like the following from small nonprofits: We desperately need to get a new donor database and most of them are totally unaffordable!! Looking at the Idealware Low Cost Database report , I find that there are so many considerations that it is quite complicated to make a choice. I am tending towards (system x) because it would seem to match what we need right away, and we could afford it.

The Nonprofit Guide to Going Green: Book Release Parties!

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup The website for the new book, The Nonprofit Guide to Going Green describes it as "a comprehensive learning tool to guide nonprofits and NGOs towards becoming greener. The definitive, practical, go-to resource guide on helping all charities become more green.". The authors are on a brief North American book tour, with stops in Toronto, Berkeley, and DC over the next few weeks: Toronto, Ontario : April 22. read more.

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The Limits of “Free” Software

Robert Weiner

Tags: Cloud Computing Databases Donor Databases IT Management Nonprofit Management Nonprofit Technology I received an email newsletter today with the following pitch for a web-based donor database (perhaps you can guess which one): The Cloud offers you constituent relationship management (CRM) software that's less expensive, easier to maintain, more accessible, more intuitive, and with greater flexibility and capacity than you've ever seen before. How much would you pay for such a system?

Separating Personal and Professional Lives on Social Media

Robert Weiner

" Tags: Social Media Do you "friend" your co-workers, clients, or service recipients on Facebook? What about LinkedIn? Are your tweets appropriate for all audiences? Andrew Heller discussed the risks of oversharing in his NTEN blog post Social Media and Privacy: Best Practices for Managing Your Personal and Professional Identities. His basic advice: "Be Prepared. Be mindful of your online presence. Think thrice before acting."

Getting RSS Feeds Via Email

Robert Weiner

Tags: Email Web There are a few RSS feeds I don't want to miss. I have an RSS feed reader but I often go for days without looking at it. The surest way for me to be sure see new items is to have them delivered as email messages. Some RSS feeds offer email subscriptions, but most don't. However, I found a way to do this even for feeds that don't offer email delivery by playing with these instructions for setting up a Google FeedBurner subscription for one's own web site: [link].

Texting for $$: The Definitive Guide

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup In the wake of the huge number of donations given to Haiti earthquake relief via text mesage, MobileActive has published Texting for Charitable Dollars: The Definitive Guide. It describes the process of raising funds via SMS from the donors' and the nonprofits' perspectives, including costs and tips for getting started. The guide is available for free at [link]. read more.

Thoughts on Software RFPs

Robert Weiner

Tags: Databases Donor Databases IT Management Nonprofit Technology Software I received the following email from Keith Heller , a database consultant who works with Raiser's Edge and Common Ground clients: We’ve been involved with responding to many RFPs over the years and I have a general inquiry that is in your bailiwick.

Nominations Closing Soon for $10,000 Pizzigati Prize

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup The Tides Foundation is accepting nominations for the annual Antonio Pizzigati Prize for Software in the Public Interest. The prize will award $10,000 to an open-source software developer whose work is helping nonprofits succeed. Nominations will be accepted through February 1, 2010. The winner will be announced this April at NTEN's 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Atlanta. From the announcement: read more.

Keeping appointment times from moving around

Robert Weiner

Tags: Consulting Mobile Communications I've been trying to find a way to keep my appointment times from moving around on my calendar as I change time zones. Here's a description of the problem from Microsoft (edited to match my situation): You are traveling through multiple time zones and need the calendar to display the local time for each appointment. For example, imagine you are in New York and have a breakfast meeting at 8:00 A.M., then fly to Chicago for a 1:00 P.M.

C3 Announces 2010 In-Kind Donation and Grant Program for Nonprofits

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Applications are being accepted for $2,500 in-kind donations of audio, video, and web conferencing services from C3 Conferencing. C3 will also provide complimentary training as needed. In addition to the in-kind donation, C3 will provide a $2,500 cash grant to be used for the purposes of enhancing communication.

Phishing Scam: Habitat for Humanity fundraising

Robert Weiner

Tags: Phishing Spam I received the following phishing email today. It's a variation on the "your email inbox is too large" scam I posted in June. It plays Habitat's name, Haiti relief, and pure greed -- it claims you can earn big tax-free commissions as a fundraiser. There are so many things wrong with this pitch. Fundraising (at least in the U.S.) doesn't work this way -- commissions violate the Association of Fundraising Professionals' code of ethics.

A Month with the Palm Pre

Robert Weiner

Tags: Mobile Communications I've had my Palm Pre Plus for a little over a month now. I wrote up my initial impressions after having it for a week. Overall, I love it except for Outlook sync. My major problem with the Pre is due to its lack of a built-in sync with a standalone/desktop copy of Outlook. If you don't use Outlook, or use it on an Exchange server, you might not have these problems.

Digital Wallet Helps Prevent Phishing

Robert Weiner

Tags: Security Spam I've use a digital wallet for years to keep track of my passwords (I use. Roboform. ). Recently I found that it serves a purpose that hadn't occured to me: phishing prevention. Here's the deal: I got a message from a friend with a link. Without thinking too much about it, I clicked on the URL and was taken to a fake Twitter homepage asking me to log in. Roboform knew this wasn't a real Twitter page, and so wouldn't log me in.

Win $5K for Charity Through Creative Pitching

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup The Chronicle of Philanthropy isn't known for giving away money, but for talking about how to get it. They've come up with a contest to benefit a few lucky nonprofits. Here's the deal: read more.

The Idealware Research Fund

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup Our friends at Idealware (a nonprofit technology resource provider) have created a new fund to support their research. Many of Idealware's reports have been funded by foundations and some have had corporate sponsorship (and some are commissioned by TechSoup.org too). As you probably know, neither foundation nor corporate support is a reliable funding source these days.

Setting up my new Thinkpad T400S

Robert Weiner

Tags: Hardware IT Management Personal I recently received my new Lenovo Thinkpad T400S -- thinner, faster, and lighter than my current T400. But getting it set up has been a bear. A few of the lowlights, after 6 days of work: 1) I used Laplink to transfer my data, apps, and settings. I've been using Laplink products for at least 15 years with good results. This time, not so good. The big problem turned out to be that I had encrypted my data on my current computer.

The continuing saga of the new T400S

Robert Weiner

Tags: Hardware Software The continuing story of my new Thinkpad T400S laptop. I finally feel like it's starting to come together, particularly the upgrade to Windows 7. Here's the story so far. Maybe my experience will help someone else. After transferring my data and software using Laplink (and after figuring out that I had to decrypt my files first) I found that everything was owned by some mystery account. I couldn't access my files or apps from my account or the Administrator account.

Editable List of Donor Databases

Robert Weiner

Once I posted the list I started getting requests to add links to vendor websites, tags, and comments. Tags: TechSoup Over the past few years I've been compiling what turned out to be a huge list of donor databases. The entries came from a variety of other lists and from customer satisfaction surveys done by Campbell Research, NTEN, and Idealware. Now the good folks at Aspiration have taken my list and put it into the Social Source Commons wiki. read more.

Using Facebook Causes to Promote Your Nonprofit: October 13 Online

Robert Weiner

Tags: TechSoup What: Another in The Chronicle of Philanthropy 's series of online discussions: How to Use Facebook Causes to Promote Your Nonprofit Group. When: Tuesday, October 13, at 12 noon, Eastern time. Where: [link]. How Much: Free. Description: read more.