Revised as of September 23, 2013


 
Tips on Using Database Software & Other Tech Tools

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"If the users can't use it, it doesn't work
"If it doesn't work, the users can't use it"

This is my technology philosophy.

My advice regarding computer and Internet use is focused on mission-based organizations (nonprofits, non-governmental organizations or NGOs, public sector organizations, civil society organizations, etc.), including those working in and for developing countries. It is given in as much non-technical terminology as possible, and is focused more on the human-side of technology use, rather than the tech itself.

Employees and volunteers at mission-based organizations have to stretch existing resources a long, long way, and they may not have the resources to hire a full-time tech manager or even a short-term consultant, let alone purchase specialized database software or send employees to computer training. My tech-related advice is made with those organizations with extremely limited resources primarily in mind. And that means that some readers may find the information too basic. But based on the emails I regularly receive and my own first-hand experience working with nonprofit organizations, this basic tech-related information fills in a lot of gaps left by various software manuals and workshops -- I provide basic information that tech writers must think most people already understand.

This advice comes from the many years I have spent using computers and the Internet and working with volunteers in tech-related projects, as well as reading articles whenever I can, particularly on TechSoup. This advice is further enhanced by continued suggestions posted to various online discussion groups.

With all that said: success in using technology tools is driven by user attitude. Users who want to reach out, to make people feel informed and involved, who are committed to quality and timeliness, and who are ready to try something even at the risk of making a mistake are the people who flourish using technology. People who hate change, don't like sharing information freely and continually, and don' like involving others in their work are those that struggle with technology. What's your attitude?

 

 
If you don't find what you are looking for here regarding computer and Internet resources for mission-based organizations, visit TechSoup (formerly CompuMentor), a nonprofit organization and web site that offers an online discussion boards where you can ask tech-related questions.


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