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Technology Planning for River Groups

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Technology Planning for River Groups

  1. 1. TECHNOLOGY PLANNINGAND FUNDING FOR RIVER GROUPS Sean Larkin, Partner ThinkShout, Inc. sean@thinkshout.com 760.223.0589
  2. 2. AGENDAWhy technology planning stinks...And why youshould get over it, and do a tech plan anyway.9 Steps to successful tech planning, fundraisingand implementation.
  3. 3. GOALSTo help you...• Pulltogether the right people to implement successful services.• Focus and remember what the heck you’re trying to do.• Create a compelling story when going after funding.
  4. 4. WHY TECHNOLOGY PLANNING STINKS• It takes time.• It costs $$.• You can’t do it while standing in a stream.• It requires pulling together stakeholders who’d rather not talk about boring topics like technology. Still.....
  5. 5. YOU CREATE A TECH PLAN BECAUSE....• Technology changes faster than your goals do.• Teams change faster than your goals do.• Tech plan = basis for RFPs.• Thinking in terms of services - not tools.• Funders like to see “plans”.
  6. 6. GENERAL CONCEPTS & TERMS• Open Source• SaaS (Software as a Service)• Mash-ups• Content Management System (CMS)• Contact Relationship Management (CRM)
  7. 7. 9 TECH PLANNING STEPS1. Identify stakeholders and build a leadership team.2. Identify needs (both met and unmet).3. Catalog assets.4. Explore solutions.5. Create a living document.6. Create a budget.7. Develop fundraising strategy.8. Set timelines.9. Iterate, iterate, iterate!
  8. 8. IDENTIFYING STAKEHOLDERS & BUILDING A LEADERSHIP TEAMPotential Stakeholders: Potential• Board members Leadership Team:• Executive leadership • Board member• Field staff • Executive leadership• Volunteers and supporters • Field staff• Donors • A software provider• Media
  9. 9. INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FORPOTENTIAL SOFTWARE PROVIDERS• What are your software quality assurance and testing practices?• What are your redundancy & source control methods?• How you do secure websites from hackers?• What is your specific experience with nonprofits?• What is your previous experience with the recommended platform?• Do all your developers work under the same roof?• What is your development process? Agile? Waterfall?• How do you track and address client requests?• How do I know youre working on my project?• What happens if your developer goes on vacation?
  10. 10. IDENTIFYING NEEDSTechnical and “cultural” requirements:• Accessibility issues.• Bandwidth considerations.• Ease of use (ease of training).
  11. 11. IDENTIFYING NEEDSTools-based Approach: Services-based• Desktop computers Approach:• Spreadsheet & Word • Need ability to do processing research and analyze data• Email • Need ability to• Website communicate amongst team• Donor database • Need ability to broadcast• e-Newsletter message to funders/• Wiki supporters• Financial management
  12. 12. CATALOGING ASSETS• Physical assets (computers, monitors, desks, etc).• Software licenses.• Domain names, hosting accounts, other 3rd-party online tools.• In-house and volunteer technical expertise.• Logos, imagery, existing content.
  13. 13. EXPLORING SOLUTIONS• Off-the-shelf solutions (paid, usually proprietary).• SaaS options.• Contractors vs internal staff. (Note: Get these options down on paper.)
  14. 14. CREATING A LIVING DOCUMENT• Don’t procrastinate - it doesn’t have to be beautiful.• Use a wiki or Google document for revision management.• Schedule reviews of this living document.
  15. 15. CREATING A BUDGET 70% training and people30% software and hardware
  16. 16. TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP (TOC)• Platform licenses• Training • Implementation• Supporting software • Data migration• Hardware procurement • Training• Software licenses • Anticipated life of software• Maintenance • Anticipated life of hardware• Security and bug fixes • Hosting• Feature upgrades
  17. 17. DEVELOPING A FUNDRAISING STRATEGY• It’s easier to fund solutions/services than tools...• Talkabout the problems you are trying to solve - not just technology.• Consider asking your existing base – don’t just apply for grants.• Your technology plan can become your proposal(s).
  18. 18. TIPS TO WRITING A SUCCESSFUL RFP• Dont write an RFP :)• Work with a trusted technical advisor to clearly scope your project.• Include project objective in scope.• Specify a deadline, criteria for acceptance, and decision date.• Include budget.• Request a specific proposal format.• Identify partners.• Identify stakeholders.• Identify assets (brand, logo, existing content).• Identify potential scaling needs.• Identify specific qualifications.• Identify requirements for usability, data sharing, and integration.
  19. 19. SETTING TIMELINES• Set internal timelines.• Identify outside project manager.• Document your release schedule on a share wiki/calendar.• Routine/scheduled service releases.• Frequent pushes (test server, staging server, production server).
  20. 20. TAKING AN ITERATIVE APPROACH• Implement in stages.• Dont wait, iterate.• Build what you need today by distilling your requirements.• Reserve funds for training, support and extension.• Review your technology plan.
  21. 21. ADDITIONAL RESOURCESTechnology Plans:• Technology budgeting basics• Benefits of a technology plan.• Review of total cost of ownershipSelecting a Vendor:• Sample RFP• Vender selection criteria• If, If, If...your ready to hire IT staff, things to considerTechnology Funding Resources:• List of 40 nonprofit technology resources• List of 30 nonprofit technology grant opportunities
  22. 22. ADDITIONAL RESOURCESInteresting Products and Projects (in no particular order):• Drupal.org• CiviCRM.org• WordPress.org• MailChimp.com• WildApricot.com• Salesforce.com• Google Apps for Your DomainInteresting Other Good Resources:• NTEN.org• TechSoup.org• Groundspring.com• WaterWordsThatWork.com
  23. 23. THANK YOU! And stay in touch - The ThinkShout Team http://thinkshout.com/contact(Additional thanks to OpenSourcery, which provided support and ideasfor the initial development of this presentation.)

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