TECH TIPS
with
Michael Lee Stills

Learn tips and hints to use a variety of electronic and technical equipment to enhance work with volunteers.

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~ September 2002~ Topics
  • HAVE NO FEAR, FAX MACHINE IS HERE
  • MAKE YOUR ORIENTATION AN INTERACTIVE CD
  • TIME TO CLEAN UP YOUR OFFICE? DON'T FORGET YOUR COMPUTER

HAVE NO FEAR, FAX MACHINE IS HERE

It's ten minutes before quitting time and your ED wants five copies of your annual report for the board meeting tonight. Suddenly you discover that both your printer and copier have gone on strike. Have no fear; your fax machine is near.

Many computers today come with fax software so that you can send and receive faxes from your computer. However, most offices still have stand-alone fax machines. In a jam, you can use your fax machine as a printer or copier. Add your office fax machine phone number to your computers faxing program. Your office fax is now a backup printer and most fax machines now allow you to make copies so you also have a backup copier.

Here's another fax machine tip I learned from an odd situation as a Coordinator of Volunteers. My office had multiple phone lines. If a phone call came in I could send it to another phone if necessary. One time my voice line was mistakenly given out as our fax number. Our volunteers started sending faxes to the voice line. Many times they were sending in time sheets and I did not want to risk losing them.

Solution: Upon hearing that annoying fax tone, I quickly transferred the call to our fax line.

Result: No lost time sheets. I set our fax number as a preset button to aid in a quick transfer.


MAKE YOUR ORIENTATION AN INTERACTIVE CD

Orientation for volunteers is important to the success of your organization. Unfortunately, the amount of time spent on orientation often takes time away from needed training. As a result, many volunteer programs either dramatically shorten their orientation or set up separate orientation nights. The former can adversely affect volunteer support and the latter is more time consuming and difficult to arrange for today's busy volunteer.

Enter the multi-media compact disk (CD).

You can now create your own CD with the new CD Burners. Most people are using it to store large amounts of documents and are missing out on a great opportunity to present information on the volunteer program. Perhaps you have created a Power Point presentation about the history and mission of your program. Maybe you have created a digital video of your Executive Director welcoming your volunteers. How many documents have you created for the new volunteer?

Now imagine combining all these into an interactive session on CD that you can hand to each new volunteer. They take the CD home and run it on their computer. The first person they see is you ED welcoming them to the program, your Power Point presentation informs them visually and musically about the wonders of your organization. And they now have access to the documents necessary to complete before training begins. In fact, you are so creative that you have provided a quiz for them to complete with the answers to be found on the CD. Maybe you made it a game and upon completing the quiz correctly, flashing pictures and sounds congratulate them and then a Certificate of Orientation Completion gets printed out.

With their Orientation Certificate in hand, they arrive for your newly redesigned training session. You have been able to provide them with a thorough, fun, and detailed Orientation without taking time away from your training program. With some creative thinking you can find many uses for the new CD Burners beyond document storage. In fact, you may want to recruit your own Multi-media volunteer committee that has the knowledge, skills, and abilities to produce these CD's on your behalf.

Send me a copy of your CD if you follow through. Good luck and have fun.


TIME TO CLEAN UP YOUR OFFICE?
DON'T FORGET YOUR COMPUTER

Windows Computers come with tools to make your computer perform more efficiently. Look under your Accessories / System Tools menus for something that says Disk Cleanup, Scan Disk and Disk Defragmenter. Disk Clean up examines your hard drive to find more space. Scan Disk looks for problems on your hard drive. Disk Defragmenter looks for and reorganizes information that has been fragmented and placed in various locations on your hard drive. Using all three of these will clean up your computer and help it operate faster and with fewer problems.

I am not aware of how Apple Computers manage this; please send me a note if you do. But then Apple apparently doesn't have the problems that are all too common in Windows.


Have a question or Tech Tip your dying to share. Drop me a note at: Michael@MichaelStills.com.

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