Through an arrangement with TechSoup, PND is pleased to offer a series of articles about the effective use of technology by nonprofits.

Upgrading Your Computer Components

Kevin Lo January 21, 2009

Upgrading your computer's RAM, hard drive, network card, or other hardware can be a cost-effective way to improve the technology available to your organization and increase productivity when your budget is tight. Here are some guidelines for deciding when to upgrade.

When To Use Consultants: Effectively Staffing Your Organization

Kevin Lo December 19, 2008

Technical volunteers can be a source of substantial help for nonprofits. Before you hire a consultant, it might be fruitful to consider if all or part of the project could be accomplished by a volunteer. Can you limit the scope of work to one or more definable, short-term projects? The Volunteers section has articles that will help you figure out what's best for you. Another reason to bring in a volunteer may simply be that you have no budget for a consultant. However, in many cases, nonprofits give up before they have explored their funding options.

Technology Triage for Your Nonprofit

Kevin Lo November 18, 2008

Kevin Lo, a technology analyst for TechSoup, advises nonprofits on how to be flexible and innovative with technology resources, and identify which fixes and replacements are needed most....

Use Online Surveys to Get the Feedback You Need

Yann Toledano October 22, 2008

What do your constituents think about your programs and services? What kinds of activities are your donors likely to fund? Should your organization initiate a new program? Rather than resort to using telepathic powers or mind reading, an online survey is a powerful research tool that can deliver the feedback you need. Paper-based surveys are often too costly and time-consuming to administer, but online surveys make it easy for any organization to get feedback on the cheap....

Networks 101: An Introduction to Server Applications

Russ King, Tom Jelen September 12, 2008

Computer networks can range from a simple peer-to-peer network to a more complex client-server network. While a complicated network can generally perform more advanced functions, it requires more involved planning, particularly in regard to the server applications used. The following is just a brief introduction to the most common types of server applications....

Tips for Buying Refurbished Computers

Chris Peters August 19, 2008

While nonprofits may hold on to hardware equipment until the last bit of life has been squeezed out of it, many corporations abandon working computers in good condition after just three or four years of use. While this equipment may be outdated for the bleeding-edge needs of a large enterprise, that doesn't mean that it doesn't have years of life that it can offer your organization — especially when its components have been examined and updated by a professional refurbisher....

A Few Good Mapping and GIS Tools

Eric Leland July 22, 2008

Imagine that you want to show your constituents where they can buy fair-trade coffee, or represent to decision-makers the lack of doctors in a particular region of town. Perhaps you want to communicate the disparities of housing levels and heath indicators across different counties, or show the impact of polluted rivers on the surrounding environment. These things are hard to effectively convey in writing, but a map can be worth a thousand words....

Is Your Nonprofit a Hummer?

Jim Lynch, Willow Cook July 1, 2008

While no one would ever refer to their computer, printer, or other office equipment as gas guzzlers, the truth is that a lot of the technologies we use every day consume large amounts of power. And while we may only see an outlet on the wall and a bill at the end of the month, by using energy inefficiently at our offices, many of us are operating as though we are driving around in a giant SUV....

Is Your Organization Prepared for a Disaster?

Rohish Lal June 10, 2008

While your organization may not be able to control or prevent catastrophes, drafting an organized and detailed disaster plan can help minimize the loss of valuable data or equipment. In turn, your nonprofit can recover from an emergency more quickly and begin helping your constituents get through the crisis....

10 Steps to Being Found on Search Engines

Laura S. Quinn May 21, 2008

You don't have complete control over where and how your Web site shows up in search engines, but you have more power than you might think. The process of site tweaking and outreach that's used to enhance your search engine placement is called search engine optimization (or SEO for short). While SEO is often described in ways that make it seem like a mystical art form, in fact none of the key steps are particularly hard to understand. They are often, however, time consuming, and most require at least the ability to update your site's text, if not basic HTML skills.

How Nonprofits Can Get the Most out of Flickr

Beth Kanter May 2, 2008

Flickr is a popular online photo-sharing community that allows anyone to share and organize their digital photos with friends, family, colleagues, and the rest of the world. While many people use Flickr recreationally, it can also be a powerful tool for organizations, including nonprofits.

The True Costs of Free and Low-Cost Software

Michelle Murrain April 10, 2008

Acquiring software for very little money — or even getting it for free! — can feel great. Everybody loves a bargain. But as in other aspects of life, you often get what you pay for. How do you figure out whether that bargain is really a bargain? This article will help....

Vistas of Equal Access

Jennifer Anthony March 20, 2008

AmeriCorps, known for its volunteer work, including building affordable housing, tutoring and mentoring disadvantaged youth, and teaching computer skills, is now providing at-risk and low-income communities with information and communication technologies.

Determining Your Social Network Needs

Beth Kanter February 26, 2008

We'll discuss what it means to maintain a presence on one or more online social networks, and help you evaluate what sort of presence makes sense for your organization. We'll also show you a few tips for selecting the tools that can give you the most return on your investment and ensure a successful online presence for years to come.

A Few Good Tools: Low-Cost Constituent Databases

Laura Quinn January 31, 2008

Many small organizations are looking for an inexpensive way to manage constituent data. They want to consolidate information into a central place so they can find people, understand what contact they've had with them, run mailing and email lists, and keep on top of who is doing what.

A Beginner's Guide to Facebook

Soha El-Borno January 9, 2008

Facebook is not just for individuals looking to keep in touch with friends; it's a very effective networking tool for nonprofits to create awareness and connect with their community, and here's a guide to getting the most out of your organization's listing.

Shared Wisdom: Recruiting and Managing Volunteers

Brian Satterfield December 5, 2007

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the nonprofit sector; without them, most budget-conscious, understaffed organizations would lack the resources to do their work. Whether your nonprofit is looking for new volunteers or just needs a more efficient way to manage and contact your current ones, technology can play an important role. Of course, the last thing you want to do is waste valuable time and money implementing a system that doesn't produce the desired results.

A Few Good Event-Registration Tools

Laura S. Quinn October 10, 2007

To understand more about the types of software that might be useful in accepting online registrations for paid events, we asked eleven nonprofit technology professionals what tools have worked well for them. We then combined their thoughts to come up with a set of solid tools that might also work for you....