VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism


Tech Tips

Georgean's Tech Tips will be a monthly feature at Volunteer Today. You can learn about a variety of technical and electronic means for working with volunteers. It is by no means limited to the computer. Some volunteer programs are providing on-call volunteers with cell phones. Visit this page monthly for helpful articles.

"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal"
~Albert Einstein

Albert, what do you really think? In this month's Technology Tips we discover a number of web sites that equip us with a wealth of knowledge.

Technology is a two-edged sword. But, when we equip ourselves with knowledge, instead of an axe wheeling crazy person, we become skilled surgeons.

Who Are You Calling a Dummy?


Most of you are probably familiar with the "Dummies" books. These are books on a wide variety of topics that are written for the beginner. They started with Computer books, but have expanded to a lot of other topics. The books are well written and very helpful.

They have a web site that you can go to and sign up for "tips" to be sent to you via e-mail. There are a wide variety of topics, but again, they have a lot of computer stuff for Windows, Office 97, Office 2000, etc.

The web site is: http://www.dummiesdaily.com.

There you can sign up for the topics you want. It is free. There is a lot of good information, especially for those of you who might not be quite as knowledgeable about Word, or Excel or whatever as you might want to be.

Resources for Nonprofits
A Web Site Designed to Assist Nonprofits

Resources for Nonprofits http://www.helping.org/nonprofit is designed to help nonprofits think strategically about using the Internet in their programs and daily work. I contacted Monica Williams, Project Associate with the Benton Foundation which supports the site for additional information.

Ms. Williams shared that the site is a gateway to the wealth of tools and information that have already been created by experts in the nonprofit technology assistance field. We aggregate these existing resources and put them in context helping nonprofits understand how to use the Internet more effectively.

For several years, the Benton Foundation has been working to help nonprofits understand and use online technology. Resources for Nonprofits has its roots in Benton's Best Practices work http://www.benton.org/Practice. Because of a mutual commitment to strengthening the nonprofit sector's use of communications technology, the AOL Foundation and Benton partnered to create Resources for Nonprofits in 1999.

In creating Helping.org, the AOL Foundation sought to use the power of the Internet to bring more resources (online donations and volunteers) to the nonprofit sector. AOL Foundation and Benton also recognize that in today's economy, nonprofits simply must have a better grasp on using the Internet in their day-to-day operations. Therefore, the section on Resources for Nonprofits was created to address just that.

The Web has great potential for community building, advocacy, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment. Managers can also use the Web to stay on top of issues that affect their organization and their field. Email discussion groups and listservs are a great way to share ideas and ask questions of other managers who may be facing similar issues. This kind of real-time information flow can save managers from "reinventing the wheel" every time they have problem.

Resources for Nonprofits tries to lay out the site in a way that helps an organization think through the process of using the Internet. We start out with the day-to-day operations, then point to resources for finding help (financial and technical), and then to resources for "working the web" -- building, evaluating, and promoting a Web site.

A Site with Almost All

Would you like to greet a volunteer in Serbian or Chinese? Are you looking for an acronym? Do you need Biographical information on Mother Theresa? When you attend the AVA conference next year in Toronto, do you need to know the Canadian and US dollar exchange rate? Did a potential volunteer neglect to put her zip code in her application, and you really need to know it? How much will it cost to ship a recognition gift to a volunteer?

The answers to all of these questions and much, much more can be found on the Research-it site: http://WWW.ITOOLS.COM/research-it . This is a great one-stop site for many of your research needs!

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Georgean C. Johnson-Coffey

Georgean is a trainer and consultant in the areas of nonprofit management and volunteer involvement. She holds a Master's degree in Education/Staff Training and Development and a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Indiana University.

Georgean is an Adjunct Faculty member of Ivy Tech State College with the Business and Industry Training Department. Her articles have been published in the Florida Libraries Journal and The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances.

Georgean conducts national and regional workshops on Train-the-Trainer, Customer Service, Conflict Management, Staff/ Volunteer Relations, Fundamentals of Volunteer Management, Family Volunteering, Trends in Volunteerism, and other aspects of Volunteer Management.

Georgean is immediate Past Chairperson of the National Government Volunteer Coordinator Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Foundation in Washington, DC. She is Past Chairperson and Founding Officer of Northeast Indiana Association of Volunteer Administration, a professional membership organization representing 60 nonprofit/voluntary organizations. She is a member of the Association for Volunteer Administration, the Points of Light Foundation, and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

Prior to starting her training and consulting company she served for several years as the Manager of Volunteer Services in healthcare, library, and social service organizations, leading programs of 500 volunteers.

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Georgean C. Johnson-Coffey, M. Ed.
Nonprofit Management & Volunteer Involvement Consulting
P.O. Box 15118
Fort Wayne, IN 46885-5118
Phone: (219)-485-9081
Fax: (219)-485-5847
E-mail: georgeanjc@aol.com

Copyright 2000 by Nancy Macduff.

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