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tierneysmith's blog

TechSoup Battles: Collaborating in real time with Google Docs

Imagine this: you write up a draft of a grant proposal, and save it. Your finger twitches towards your email so you can send it to your colleague Bob for review, but instead you stop yourself and share the file instead. Bob gets an automatic email notification and opens up the document...

TechSoup Battles: the Document Collaboration Challenge

Are you tired of sharing files back and forth with “track changes” and file names that just keep getting longer and longer? In the past, sending documents back and forth with edits was the main way to collaborate on a document with someone else - unless you had a document management tool like SharePoint, or could sit together in the same room.

Data analysis is for everyone! A short intro to pivot tables


There are a lot of fancy tools out there for data analysis - some of which are extremely complex, and some of which are actually fairly simple to use and set up. If you are looking to take the next baby step along the road to using your data to make better decisions, a good place to start might be to take a second look at the good old spreadsheet. Spreadsheet programs have a lot of data analysis tools built right in, and today I want to discuss a lesser-known (in my experience) but extremely powerful feature: pivot tables! 

TechSoup Battles: Simple event registration with Guestlist

When I'm planning an event, my needs are pretty typical - so for our second challenge, I decided to choose an event registration tool that was simple and easy to use. After some research and thinking about what I'm looking for, I settled on Guestlist.

TechSoup Battles: The Event Registration Challenge

Do you organize events as part of your work? Whether it be fundraisers, programming, training, conferences or volunteer appreciation parties, there’s many types of events that nonprofits and charities run. Having a good event registration tool can go a long way to keeping things organized and creating a smooth registration process for your attendees. But which tool to use? There’s so many out there that Jane and I decided to tackle this for our second challenge.

4 Key Questions to Ask when Redesigning your Nonprofit/Charity Website

The one step in redesigning your website that’s easiest to skip is also the most important: start out with a clear vision of your needs and goals for the website. And by “your needs” I really mean your visitors’ needs, since it's all about your audience after all!

TechSoup Battles: Tierney tries out MailChimp

These days, it feels like most nonprofits/charities send out email newsletters to your supporters. There’s a lot that can be said (and has been said) on why you should have a e-newsletter (or not), what things you should think about, how often you should send emails, what you should talk about, etc.

Friday Feed on April 13, 2012: Data visualization, everyday innovation and more

Things have been exciting recently at TechSoup Canada, as I just got back from a trip to San Francisco where I got to meet colleagues from TechSoup and attend the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) hosted annually by NTEN. Back in the office, it was all hands on deck as we worked to make sure all of you could get your orders in and processed by the end of March (end of fiscal year for many nonprofits in Canada). 

Telling a compelling story - the Canadian way

When you have such a good handle on the ways in which you are saving the world and why your cause is important, it can be hard to remember that other people might not see it the same way. This is why storytelling has always been such a key skill for nonprofits, because to really be effective we need to engage with a network of donors, volunteers and other types of supporters.

So much to do, so little time: A simple framework for identifying technology priorities

As nonprofit leaders and staff, it seems that there’s always more to do and never enough time to do it. So looking after your organization’s technology - an area that might be out of your comfort zone - is one more thing that might slide down the priority list.

On the other had, technology is extremely important for any organization, no matter what your mission. Good technology helps you to be more efficient - to save time and reduce duplication. It also helps you to be more effective - to increase the impact of your work.