Best of the Web: February 2016

One thing that stands out to me as I look at the top posts this past month is how big a role mobile now plays in the nonprofit world. Your website needs to be mobile device optimized (something we’re slowly working on ourselves). Staff members need productivity and collaboration apps on their phones. Mobile video is a huge part of social media now. And very few people still need convincing that Cloud-based software is a good idea.

Where will this increasingly mobile world take us? I don’t know, but it’s clear that many of us have a lot of catching up to do.

Enjoy these links to the most popular #nptech posts in our network and hop over to Twitter or Facebook to tell us about the stories that grab your attention.

All best,

Seize the Opportunity for Mobile Engagement in 2016 (TechSoup)
We’ve known it was coming for a while, but now we’re seeing concrete evidence of it. Mobile is where a big percentage of your audience is, so to reach them, you’re going to have to design your outreach with them in mind. This article from Michael Stein offers a few tips to help you think differently about what mobile users need and how to engage them.

The 25 Best Free iPhone Apps For Business (Fast Company)
These apps aren’t just for businesses. Many of them are about productivity or collaboration—universal needs for anyone with a job.

Don’t Just Hand Over the Plans (NTEN)
If you can’t code, programming can seem like magic. Unfortunately, it isn’t. If you want a website that really works the way you need it to, you can’t just hand over a site map and a bunch of content. You have to collaborate with your coder. For nonprofits, that means taking them in and not only explaining your mission, but also how you create change in your community.

5 Social Media Advancements Every Nonprofit Should Prepare For (Tech Impact)
Mobile video and image-rich content top this snapshot of where social media is right now.

An 11-Step Program to Cure Shiny Object Syndrome (NTEN)
We’ve all done it. You see something new and it looks really cool and you decide that you’ve got to have it. Or worse, what you have seems old and lame and you think that all your problems will be solved if you just get that shiny object. But that’s no way to manage technology at a nonprofit. This article is brought to you by some of the best minds in nonprofit technology—Robert Weiner, Dahna Goldstein, Tracy Kronzak, and Marc Baizman. They’ll help you break the cycle of chasing the new to fix very old, persistent problems.

Five Ways the Cloud Works for Your Nonprofit (Tech Impact)
If you have been uncomfortable about getting into Cloud software or storage, this blog post very succinctly shows that there are just too many benefits to ignore.

Getting to Know Your (User) Personas (ILAO Builds!)
Illinois Legal Aid takes us behind the scenes as it considered the user experience of its online services and how to make it better. A central part of that process was creating user personas—fictional characters that represent the tendencies and needs of real people. As the post shows, going through the process forces you to learn a lot about who you’re trying to reach and can help you imagine yourself in their shoes as they navigate your website or software.

How to Excel at Everything (or at Least Make Better Spreadsheets) (TechSoup)
Notwithstanding the pun, there are a lot of useful tips and shortcuts here to help you tap into the power of spreadsheets.

This Hidden PowerPoint Feature Made Me Weep Tears of Joy (Idealware)
It’s a simple little trick, but it can save you a lot of time and frustration.

The Tech That Will Change 2016 (TechSoup)
TechSoup laid out a lot of interesting trends for 2016 in this article. The piece ranges from social media and marketing to digital inclusion and a renewed focus on GenXers. What’s real and what’s wishful thinking? We’ll know next year at about this time.

Successful IT Volunteer Management (Idealware)
As Lauren Chasanoff from Common Impact points out, “A successful IT volunteer program can open up incredible opportunities to increase your operating capacity.” This post makes the case for IT volunteers and offers a few tips to help organizations get started.


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