Best of the Web: December 2016

Searching for Security in an Insecure World

For a lot of people, the world feels a little less secure today than it did five weeks ago. We’ll see if many of our “horrible imaginings” come to pass, but one incident that should make everyone uncomfortable is the recent CIA revelations that Russia was behind the Podesta and DNC email hacks.

As the Atlantic pointed out in a recent article, everyone is a target, but there’s increasing evidence that nonprofit organizations are being targeted more aggressively by state hackers with political—rather than financial—objectives. Even in the U.S., NSA surveillance has been normalized and recent court rulings open up more opportunities for government hacking and surveillance.

Now, more than ever, nonprofits need to take steps to protect themselves. If you make New Year’s resolutions, security should be at the top of your list this year. Take a look at your passwords and make sure they’re strong, encrypt your devices, put some clear data security policies in place—do whatever makes sense for you, just don’t put it off any longer.

Enjoy this week’s links and stay safe out there. You’re needed in 2017 more than ever.

All Best,

Best of the Web: December 2016

Fake Or Real? How To Self-Check The News And Get The Facts (NPR)

By far, this post got the biggest response on social media. The article teaches you how to read news like a fact checker to see the tell-tale signs of a fabrication. My personal favorite is URLs that are very close to major media organizations. For example, “” versus “”—that one missing letter makes all the difference.

MailChimp Accounts Hacked to Spam Out Malicious Emails (WeLiveSecurity)

The headline was “MailChimp got hacked!” But as Graham Cluley points out, it’s most likely that the individual users are the ones who were breached thanks to weak passwords.

The Inevitability of Being Hacked (Atlantic)

Think your small nonprofit can’t be hacked? This “toaster” experiment reveals just how impossible it is to hide on the internet these days. No matter how small or obscure your organization (or device) is, the bots will find you and take advantage of an opportunity.

How to Write Email with Military Precision (Harvard Business Review)

Email is often used to communicate important information or hand off work. However, many people are not specific enough in their emails or bury important information where it can be overlooked. The military way may not be for everyone or every email, but if it’s important for you to communicate information clearly and economically, then this article deserves a read.

5 Nonprofit Technology Trends to Watch in 2017 (Nonprofit Tech for Good)

The most surprising trend for me was #5: “The Nonprofit Sector Embraces the Internet of Things.” There are probably a lot of social innovation opportunities, but will the cost of such devices and the security concerns raised by recent incidents (such as the massive DDoS attack that was fueled by an IoT botnet) dampen enthusiasm?

7 Video Marketing Trends for 2017 (and What They Mean for You) (Social Media Today)

It is definitely trends season. If you’re looking to incorporate video into your communications, take a look at how people are watching and using videos these days.

Information Overload? Not Everybody Is Feeling It, Pew Study Says (NPR)

I’m a lot like the author—I have dozens of tabs open at one time and view hundreds of individual web pages per day. Having the information just a click away is a kind of comfort that I’m sure a lot of other people feel. Yes, it’s nice to flip the laptop closed and retreat from the noise, but when your work is about collecting and sharing information, I think you need everything you can get.

Finding and Using Images for Your Nonprofit (TechSoup)

This article contains a treasure trove of sites that offer free images for download. Follow the links and begin using more images on your website, in your emails, and on social media.

7 Things You’re Doing Wrong on Social Media (Inc.)

A lot of organizations are very antisocial on social media. Followers notice when you don’t Tweet back or try to fake your connection to a major social event.

3 Social Media Design Tools That Create Stunning Images (Social Media Examiner)

If you’re ever stuck trying to design a social media or website image and don’t have a graphic design background, these tools can be lifesavers.

Why Are There So Few Nonprofit CRM Admins? (Idealware)

The biggest risk you can take with your CRM system is to implement it and then have no one to keep it running its best. Nonprofits that don’t have a dedicated CRM admin often suffer from inconsistent data and frustrated users. In the most extreme cases, users even give up on the system and devise their own workarounds. That can be an expensive (and messy) mistake.

How One University Used Big Data To Boost Graduation Rates (NPR)

We often hear about the promise of big data, but not a lot about the success stories. This article shows how, by using the data to recognize patterns in student behavior, schools can step in and offer the help they need just in time.

When We Go with Accessible Content, Everybody Wins (Idealware)

Designing your website and its content with accessibility in mind is good for everyone. Besides, it’s just the kind of thing nonprofits should do.

Updated: Resources Boost Your Nonprofit’s Blogging Strategy (Tech4Good Southwest Florida)

You’ll find great slides and videos here to help you be a better blogger, including how to: find ideas, make the time, plan for future content, and manage the logistics to get your post live.

Data Sanity for Nonprofits: Three Crucial Points (Idealware)

Deb Finn and Robert Penna recently collaborated on an insightful guest post for us. In it, they pump the breaks on the data craze and offer a practical perspective on what’s worth knowing and what will only create unnecessary distractions and anxiety.

Have technology questions or want to learn more about how Tech Impact can help your nonprofit?