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.
TechSoup 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.
I am often asked what programs I use, so I thought it was about time that I just go public and list them all here. A couple of words of warning before the list. First, my normal machine of choice is the Macintosh. That means that the real workhorses of my stable are under the Mac category. That being said though, I work on Windows constantly, so I have a lot of tools there as well. Second, I am cheap. I tend to try to not spend too much money on software. I don’t mind paying for a quality product and will do it quite often, but if I can find a $60 tool that does the job of a $600 one, I will go for the former. And then again, if there is freeware out there, I am very likely to use that.
Ok, so now on to the list…
On the Macintosh
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for other programs to use please let me know!
Thanks to Twitter and a post by @timoreilly, I found a post by @al3x on “Rules for Computing Happiness.” There is some very good stuff in that post. And while a lot of it is aimed at the geekier among us, there are a few that stand out for everyone. The first three fall into that category…
- Use as little software as possible.
- Use software that does one thing well.
- Do not use software that does many things poorly.
Too many times I see people with tons of software on their computers and much of it interferes with some other piece of software. Or they buy Microsoft Office Enterprise Edition with Multimedia Extensions … because they need a word processor. If all you need is a word processor, then buy just that, and not everything else.
There are a bunch of other good ideas on that list. Again, it is aimed at the geekier among us and at Mac users, but I really believe all computer users can take something away from it.
Do you have any more rules or ideas for computing happiness? Please share with us and hopefully we can all be a bit happier in our digital relations.