Best of the Web: June 2015

The Idealware “Best of the Web” is a monthly roundup of the top nonprofit resources from the Idealware blog, our Facebook page, and our Twitter feed to help you make the right technology decisions. Please forward it along to anyone you think might benefit from it.

How to Build Your Email List (Fast Company)
The reports of email’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. As it turns out, email is still a great way to communicate with constituents and members. Here’s how to reach out to more of the right people.

Exploding Myths About Learning Through Gaming (NPR)
How can what seems like escapist fun be a tool for learning? Researchers and gamers argue that the central principles of gaming—experimentation, persistence, working toward goals—are what make games effective teachers.

Why Social Listening is Key to Donor Retention (Epolitics)
“Social listening gives organizations unprecedented insight into their donors’ lives and an opportunity for richer engagement through personalization. Far beyond surveys, focus groups or feedback forms, nonprofits have the ability to analyze, in real time, what their donors think, feel, and care about—and can react with predetermined triggers or send personalized marketing messages.”

Social Advocacy and Politics: How We Use (Not Utilize) Social Media (Social Media Today)
Social media has grown into a complex ecosystem of different user experiences, but many nonprofits have been slow to adapt. It’s no longer enough to post just to post. To make a platform work, you have to understand why people go there and provide content that meets that need.

The Remote Office: Putting Free Video Conferencing Tools to the Test (Idealware)
At Idealware, we sometimes are the guinea pigs in our own experiments. Lately, we’ve been sorting out what it takes to be a low-budget organization with staff members in three time zones. To kick off our series on remote offices, we put the top free video conferencing tools to the test to figure out the pros and cons of each. Here are the results.

The Skills You Should Have to Be a Successful Remote Worker (Lifehacker)
Not everyone works well alone and at home. If you’re thinking about hiring someone to work from home or are considering a move to remote working yourself, this is a must-read.

Your Top 10 Topics (Tech Soup)
What’s been top of mind for nonprofit techies this year? Based on its blog engagement numbers, Tech Soup has compiled a list of the top ten topics over the past year and provides links to the stories.

From Paint to Pixels (The Atlantic)
We talk a lot about finding meaning in data, but artists seeking new forms of expression are turning to data and technology in search of whole new layers of meaning.

Texts From Teens Build Real-Time Maps of Crisis in America (Wired)
CTL, a crisis-intervention text message hotline, uses demographic data tied to keywords to give text responders some context for the conversation. The system also maps its data to help researchers and other nonprofits working on suicide prevention to see trends and where the need for help is greatest.

4 Ways You Are Putting Your Clients’ Information at Risk (Lawyerist)
Whether you’re a lawyer or any other kind of organization that collects a lot personal data, these tips can help you keep sensitive information safe.

Platforms Connect Talented Instagrammers with Good Causes (Springwise)
Social media has opened up avenues for people all over the world to contribute to a cause. In this case, visual artists and other talented users of Instagram are being teamed up with organizations to provide beautiful and impactful content.

Technologies and Practices for Managing Outcomes: Lessons from Large Nonprofits (Idealware)
How does your organization know it’s making a difference? What strategies and technologies help you find out? We asked these questions and more to some of the top nonprofits in the U.S. This report collects and analyzes what we learned.

Product Teams: The Next Wave of Digital for NGOs? (Mobilisation Lab)
We’ve known for more than a decade how important digital content and communications are to the success of nonprofits, but organizations of all sizes continue to struggle with implementing and managing those technologies. The Mob Lab asks whether a different organizational structure—one that looks at your digital technology the way a product manager might—could make a difference.

7 Things Your IT Department Wishes You Knew About Tech Support (Lifehacker)
Just a little something to discretely slip into your colleagues’ inbox or innocently post on Chatter. You’re welcome.

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