Nonprofit Boot Camp

As many of you know, I am one of the founding partners of the Palmetto Technology Hub, or PATHPATH’s mission is to provide technology support and resources to the South Carolina lowcountry not-for-profit community.

Non-Profit Boot Camp

Now, after a year of work, we are proud to invite you to join us at The Charleston Place Hotel on June 30, 2011, for a day of technology, learning, and solutions geared towards the unique needs of nonprofit organizations.  BOOT Camp will feature speakers from Google and local techies with helpful information for your nonprofit and introduction to free tools, with ideas on how to best utilize them.

Did I mention the delicious food?  How about the classic Charleston venue?  Or the wonderful networking experience?

We are still working on the details for the afternoon sessions based on your input. Planning to attend and have a specific topic you hope we’ll cover? Please fill out our survey here.  We’re accepting input until May 1st.

Registration is currently available for nonprofits. (Please limit registration to two staff per organization so the maximum number of nonprofits can benefit).  Space permitting, we will open it to the general public after May 20th.

Early Nonprofit Registration (before 5/20): $20
Late Nonprofit (after 5/20) and Open Registration: $30

Register Now!

 

You Do What You Can

Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf’s edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.

Starfish On The BeachThe man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.

As he came up to the person he said, “You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, “It sure made a difference to that one!”

Software and Hardware for Non-Profits

If you are involved with a not-for-profit or charity organization of any sort, from school or church to community outreach or civic charity, you know how tight funding can be and how hard it can be to get the computer equipment and software that you need. What you probably didn’t know is that companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec, and Intuit donate millions of dollars in software to organizations just like yours. The problem is just getting your hands on it. That is where TechSoup comes in.

TechSoupTechSoup is an organization dedicated to getting software and hardware to the not-for-profit organizations who need it. They process the requests, do most of the legwork, and get you what you need to get your mission accomplished. Think of this, Microsoft Office for the Mac is normally between $150 and $250. For the processing and licensing fee of $16, your non-profit can get a copy that was donated by Microsoft. Adobe Illustrator, the vector based graphics program, normally would cost you about $300 to $400. The administration fee for Adobe Illustrator is just $55.

And TechSoup can also help you get hardware and training. If you look on their site you will find everything from training material teaching you how to use the technology to discussion boards where other nonprofit organizations help each other. Recent posting have covered topics as diverse as electing the right accounting program for a church to how to reduce paper use to control costs and how to write a grant proposal to get new camera equipment for schools.

The resources are out there. If you are a non-profit, you can’t afford not to check them out. And while you are on the site, subscribe to their newsletter! It is stocked full of great tips, recent offerings, and the latest news.

Donating Your Old Computer Securely

Please remember that I will be more than happy to help you clean up those old PCs and Macs and make them available to charities and not-for-profits in the area at no charge. If you want to donate your old computer, I will securely erase all of your information from the hard drive, make sure the hardware is in good working order, install useful legitimate software such as anti-virus and office suites, and then pass those machines on to worthy causes in the Low Country. All of this is done at no charge to make sure good machines don’t end up contributing to hazard waste, to insure that those in need get the technology help they deserve, and also to make sure your sensitive information doesn’t leak into the wrong hands. If your not sure if your machine is up to the task, or if you have something other than a PC or Mac, just give a call or email. I am sure we can move Old Faithful along to a needy nonprofit correctly.

Your donations to charity really help!

Lent For Liberals

Right now is the time of Lent for many religions. For the liberals religions, like mine, we may not observe the rules of Lent, but it can still have value for us. So first we need to know what Lent is and a brief history of Lent. Lent for Liberals

According to that all knowing source, Wikipedia, “Lent, in most Christian denominations, is the forty-day liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where, according to the Bible, he endured temptation by Satan. Different churches will calculate the forty days differently.Later it goes on to say “There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance.

It is that fasting and abstinence, most often most associated with the Catholic religion here in the States, that we most often associate with Lent. There is much more to it, of course, and I don’t mean to take this holy time to lightly or casually, so no offense is meant to any of the pious reading this. I welcome your input.

Observed from the outside I see two important ways that lent affects me and may affect you. First is that, as with any self-imposed deprivation, this time of sacrifice can actually lead to over indulgence before and after. Consider Mardi Gras and Carnival for example. Both of these are direct anticipations of the austere time to come. People who are about to go on diets experience the exact same thing. Right before you got on that diet, you binge. Next week you can’t have that chocolate cake, so you are going to have even more of it now to make up for it. In many ways people use Lent as more of a time for recovering from the prior celebrations than as a time of penance.

The second thing though I think is the real importance. If we do not overreact before and after, if we can mediate our compulsive over-indulgence, then the time can be a great time of reflection and possibility. If you do chose to make an honest abstinence from something, then why not replace that with offerings to the less fortunate or to a worth cause. If you choose to not have your daily Starbucks injection, why not take that money and accumulate it and make a donation to your favorite charity such as Habitat for Humanity or Friends of New Orleans or the Red Cross?

Also, keep a diary or even a blog during this time to record your feelings. You may go through times of desire, temptation, self-doubt, and triumph. What is also very interesting is what happens when the time is over. Do you go back to your old habits? Have you broken a habit permanently? Or is it just back to business as usual. All of these are very personal questions with no right or wrong answer. They are questions that only you can answer and only if you take the time to place value in self-discovery.