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TechSoup Battles

Turmoil within TechSoup Canada

Are you a nonprofit that wants to use technology effectively but finds it overwhelming to get started? Perhaps you’re curious about the cloud and eager to make the switch. Or maybe you’re looking to automate your operations but don’t want to disrupt your staff. You are not alone! There are many other charities, nonprofits and libraries in the same situation.

The team at TechSoup Canada is always thinking about how to make technology easier to embrace and adopt. When we’re helping nonprofits with tech, we noticed that the questions we get asked most often are: “What tool should I use to do X?” and ”How much does it cost?”

We believe these questions oversimplify the process of choosing the right tech tool for your nonprofit, and yet we recognize that in the end, you still need to pick a tool and use it. So if you’re working at a busy nonprofit or charity and are overwhelmed by the choices out there, here’s how you can get started!

Without further ado, we now introduce...

TechSoup Battles!

(previously known as Jane vs Tierney).

It's a little bit like Marvel’s Civil War, with less vigilantism and more focus on how tech can help your cause (Team Stark, anyone?).

The TechSoup Canada team will challenge ourselves to do day-to-day nonprofit tasks with free or low-cost tools. Sounds epic? It is. Not just because we used the word ‘epic’ in the title, but because you have a chance to get involved! We’ll get advice from you, share our experiences in this blog, and probably make a few mistakes and learn new things along the way. We'll each try out different tools and see how they work.

Have a suggestion on what we should review next? What questions would you like answered? Share your thoughts on Twitter (#TechSoupBattles), Facebook, below in the comments or send us an email. Thanks to everyone who has shared thoughts & ideas so far!

Previous challenges:

TechSoup Battles: Social Media Management Tools

You want to engage your supporters, volunteers and donors on social media, but juggling between each of your nonprofit’s accounts can be challenging. You’ve already committed to posting every hour on Twitter, every day on Facebook, daily pinning on Pinterest, posting weekly videos on YouTube and we haven’t even mentioned your Tumblr, Instagram and Vine accounts. Talk about a time management nightmare!

TechSoup Battles: Online Survey Tool Challenge

Your nonprofit wants you to find an online survey tool so they can send a survey. Sounds simple enough, but then it gets complicated. Should you use Survey Monkey, Wufoo or SurveyGizmo? What features make Key Survey different than Polldaddy? Is SoGoSurvey more user-friendly than KwikSurveys? In just three sentences, we named seven online survey tools ─ and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

TechSoup Battles: Cloud tools for Office Administration

These are everyday challenges faced by many nonprofits in Canada - and since email and documents are something you need to access a daily basis, not having good systems results in a lot of productivity loss over the long term. That’s why this edition of TechSoup Battles will focus on online productivity suites that will address these challenges: in particular, Google Apps for Business and Microsoft’s Office 365 for Nonprofits.

TechSoup Battles: The Team Project Management Challenge

Do you find that you’re wasting time when working with others - sending files back and forth, looking for buried emails that contained important information, keeping track of who’s working on what? Maybe this is happening internally, or with your board, or between branches. Since most nonprofits rely primarily on email (or paper), almost everyone has this problem. In this review, we’re going to take a look at software for team project management/collaboration that will help you out with these issues.

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.

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.

TechSoup Battles: The Newsletter Challenge

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for all week. TechSoup Battles are back, and ready for our first challenge! Our challenge this week was to send out an e-newsletter to let people know about our upcoming Net2 Toronto event. As we each tried to find the best tool for the challenge, we both ran into a similar problem: how do we pick which tool to try out?