Nonprofits Online! 2.0
Mark Goldstein, CFRE
Presented as part of the Duke University Nonprofit Management Program on 10/22/10 in conjunction with Nonprofit Pathways.
Thanks are due to the Fund for Investigative Reporting and Editing, which proposed the first Nonprofits Online! class; to the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, for funded the free presentation of the first-ever classes; to Nonprofit Pathways and to Duke University Continuing Studies / Nonprofit Management Program for offering the current class; to Mountain Xpress for encouraging the use, study and promotion of some Freedom of Information Act data to be discussed today; and the Health Assessment Resource Center for allowing me to share their data with the class. Please think fondly of these folks at any time that you think to yourself “WOW, This is SO cool”!
This course, and this site, is essentially a walking tour of the Web for nonprofit organizations. It is not all-encompassing. Rather, it is meant to help you learn some basics, use the Internet more efficiently, familiarize yourself with some great resources and to enjoy your computer, regardless of your skill level. It is a primer to help nonprofit professionals gain a better sense of what is possible, so that life is a little easier and less expensive. It is hoped that you will return to this page often, to “play in the sandbox,” as the late co-presenter of Nonprofits Online! Evan Mahaney used to say.
Find a broken link? Please email me and I will fix it.
CONTENTS FOR THIS PAGE
- PART 1: Search Me! • Some Browser Basics • How to Find Anything in the World
- PART 2: The Government, Its Data and What to Do with It • Case Study 1: Gathering Data to Supporting the Need for Health Research in Riverside County, CA • Case Study 2: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) • Local, State and Federal Government Sites
- PART 3: The Answers to All of Your Problems Are Online (most of them, at least) • General and Fundraising Resources • Blogs • Online Training • Focused on Western North Carolina
- PART 4: Using the Internet for Fame and Fortune • Practical Online Office Tools and Deep Discounts • Marketing and Social Media
PART ONE: Search Me!
Boilerplate: History of a Victorian Era Robot—A prime example of why you should always be cautious about what you learn on the Internet. It might not be true (even if it is entertaining!).
Internet Explorer Keyboard Shortcuts
Find in page = Control + F for PC, Command + F for Mac
Google Chrome Shortcuts
Note the different tabs on the left side for Windows, Mac and Linux users.
How to Find Anything in the World
Search Engine Features and Key Commands—What top sites do and how to use them
Choose the Best Search for Your Information Need—Specific resource sites. What, there’s more to life than Googling? Get OUT!
Search Basics—remember to keep it simple, limit terms, use terms likely to be on the page
Advanced Search—Some terms to try: “” or +term, site:, -subtract, *, link: (www.cfwnc.org), OR (AND is default), lucky?, cached, similar
Directory Search—Challenge: What the heck was that early Atari game that I played on an early system that started with a “G” and had cadets in it?
Now, you try!: What was the group ABC’s top UK hit?
Google for Nonprofits
Google Language Tools
Good Search—”What if we could raise money for our favorite charities and schools by doing something we do every day — searching the Internet?”
PART 2: The Government, Its Data and What to Do with It
Now, a couple of case studies.
Case Study 1: Gathering Data to Supporting the Need for Health Research in Riverside County, CA
The Spreadsheet Page
Spreadsheet Jokes— “Your browser is now pointed to the world’s largest collection of spreadsheet humor on the Web. It’s also pointed to the only collection of spreadsheet humor on the Web.”
The first case study traces the steps taken to compile data needed for grant proposals for HARC, Inc. (Health Assessment Resource Center). HARC provides comprehensive health data on the population of eastern Riverside County, CA. Because the county is home to communities that are wealthy (Palm Springs) and impoverished (Coachella Valley, home to many migrants), and because only the eastern part of the very populous county is served, a simple data report from the US Census or its American FactFinder page would not suffice.
First, we needed to determine definable borders for eastern Riverside County. This was not as simple as drawing a line around a few cities and towns, because much of the county is unincorporated. We needed to consult maps. We were able to consider Reference Maps and determine that we could use zip codes (such as 92225 at 185 mi. view) to designate the area served. We could get the zip codes to show up by changing Boundaries and Features, and selecting 2000 Census maps / 5-digit zip codes—more recent Census projections lacked this level of detail. Another option would be to download PDFs of County Block Maps and consider Census Tracts. That would involve navigating to the correct county maps, downloading the master map, then looking at each area of that map that we would need.
Once we had the list of zip codes that we needed, we could search for data available for those zip codes. The foundations we wanted to approach wanted to know whether the area we served was diverse. One of the foundations had its own measure of “low income”—the percentage of the population at or below 80% of the service area’s median household income. To get all of this, we would need to consult detailed tables of Census 2000 data (since we needed data at the zip code level). So, we returned to American FactFinder page to get Decennial Census data. Once we got there, we needed to select Census 2000 Summary File 3, then Detailed Tables, to get income data for small areas.
On the Detailed Tables, we could have chosen a few different geography types (e.g., nation or state) in order to draw comparisons between those areas and eastern Riverside, but that wasn’t really necessary as part of this project. So, we simply chose the 5-digit zip codes for the Geography. We perused the Tables and found that P6, P7 and P8 had what we needed to get information on basic demographics for the service area, including data on population, age, gender, race and ethnicity. For figuring income, we selected P1, P52 and P53.
Now, we could download the results. We chose to transpose some of the results so that the rows and columns were switched, since there were so many zip codes. It’s a good thing that the Census allows downloads of Excel and .csv (comma-separated values) and not .txt files!
Finally, the moment of truth…we analyzed the data and began to make our calculations—easy to do in Excel. Would it give us any ammunition for our proposal? Here is what we found regarding the demographics and income.
During the past two years, substantial statistics such as these have helped us as we have worked with this small nonprofit organization to raise over $800,000 toward county health research.
Case Study 2: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Several years ago, I decided to do a FOIA request to access the database lists and form fields for all databases belonging to the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, in order to test their reaction to the requests, their readiness to provide the information and to explore the content of the information. This experiment generated a lot of interest from several local reporters, some of whom decided to download property records and other data, which came in handy for numerous stories. The data and associated training helped reporters obtain unlisted information needed for crime stories and other reporting, and one even located his stolen van using public record searches.
Local, State and Federal Government Sites
FedStats—The place to start when you are unsure where to look for data on any given topic.
Capitol Impact—Similar to the above site, but includes links to media outlets and more
NC Legislature — Everything about it, including access to all state statutes. Plus — North Carolina General Assembly and Information.
Grants.gov—Search, apply for, and receive alerts about federal grants.
Louisiana State University Federal Government Directory —All U.S. Agencies or Offices, including links to websites
PART 3: The Answers to All of Your Problems Are Online (most of them, at least)
General and Fundraising Resources
“Practical, provocative and fun food-for-thought for nonprofits.”
I’ll see you at the forum! This site is no longer free, but the cost is very reasonable. Answers, and a supportive community of your peers, are just an email and perhaps an hour away.
The Bridgespan Group
Founded in 2000, the Bridgespan Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that helps nonprofit and philanthropic leaders in the hard work of developing strategies and building organizations that inspire and accelerate social change.
A sample article…The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle — the cost of skimping on overhead.
Foundation Center’s free Fact Finder, to look up foundation information, 990s and financial trends at large foundations.
Law for Change—”This site combines in one place a broad menu of legal information prepared by leading law firms and lawyers specifically tailored to the needs of social entrepreneurs and innovators, social enterprises, charities, community organizations, philanthropies, faith-based organizations and all manner of nonprofit organizations.”
AtoZ Grantwriting with Linda Vallejo
Newsletter and links to funding opportunities.
Free Microsoft Office Training Classes
http://www.baycongroup.com/tutorials.htm – This site also has a few free tutorials for other software and links to some popular online training (for-fee) providers.
iTunes U—350,000 free lectures, videos, films, recordings and other resources. Download iTunes for free on this page.
IRS Site with Exemption Information and Courses.
Revising Word Documents Using Track Changes and Comments
Focused on Western North Carolina
North Carolina Center for Nonprofits’ “FAQ” page — Resources on a wide variety of topics.
United Way’s 2-1-1 of WNC
A community service information site and phone line that links people to health and human services in Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties.
PART 4: Using the Internet for Fame and Fortune
Practical Online Office Tools and Deep Discounts
PDF Download—Convert Web Content to PDFs, Plus Other Free Conversion Tools
AVG—Free, downloadable anti-virus software and link scanners for Windows and Mac
Monitor a page for changes
Skype—Free domestic online calling and videoconferencing, and free or cheap calls with others worldwide.
FreeConferenceCall.com—Get a free number that you can share for conferences with peers throughout the world (only regular phone charges apply).
Over 500 donated and discounted products — typically at only 4% to 20% of the product’s retail price.
For example: Office Standard 2010 for $31, as compared to about $280 retail for similar Office suite.
Links to all sorts of how-to articles on tech topics, including many on more sophisticated questions about networking, hardware planning and budgeting, etc.
Microsoft Viewers and Converters enable anyone with a PC (and a Mac, in at least some cases) to read Microsoft files without the software.
The two above tools are a work in progress, in my opinion, but are handy for scheduling meetings with large groups—at least to the scheduler, if not others. They are likely to improve over time.
Schedulicity.com—For scheduling appointments with clients. Free trial available for this nifty for-fee scheduler. As of October 2010, only $19 per month or $39 (for 2-20 users) to schedule all appointments. No charge to users.
Survey Monkey—Free and low-cost online surveys, automatically tabulated and beautifully presented
You can download Adobe Acrobat for free to read files ending with “.pdf”. For free Adobe Reader and free commonly needed Adobe plug-ins for the Internet (see “Readers and Players”).
Over 23,000 (!) calculators and spreadsheets, for measuring and converting everything you can possibly think of, including numbers, currency, travel, moving costs, weight loss and much more.
Shorten that link!
Marketing and Social Media
WordPress—Create a free blog or website.
Yola—Free website builder, free hosting, other services at low cost.
Google Sites—Yet another Google feature. This one helps you build a website.
GreatNonprofits develops tools that allow people to find, review, and share information about great — and perhaps not yet great — nonprofits.
Nonprofit Tech 2.0: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits
How-tos, the basics, best apps for iPhones and much more!
Foursquare—Localized social media. Helps you to know if friends are nearby and keep up with local trends.
Snopes—Before you forward it or post it on Facebook—true story or hoax?
Are blondes really going extinct??? That is just one of many burning questions answered on this site. If you remember past hoaxes, like the one telling people to delete a file that was really a necessary component of Windows, you will understand why this site is so helpful.
Find a broken link? Please email me and I will fix it.
Most Recent Page Update: June 16, 2011