The Non-Profit Technologist: From “Lone Wolf” to Community Support

Whatever your specific title, being “the IT person” in the nonprofit and social change space is a special type of challenge. There is always a need to do more with less and keep resources on the mission of the organization. As a result, you might find yourself wearing all the hats--developer, web manager, printer troubleshooter, PowerPoint whiz… if it’s technical, you’re doing your best with what you have.

There is a constant need to implement tech solutions to push forward change, yet with limited resources, nonprofit technologists need support too. Enter the CiviCRM User Summit, which brought together over a hundred activists, technologists and developers from nonprofits across the country to learn new tech strategies for their organizations. Much like its open-source product, the CiviCRM User Summit was a space for open-sourcing ideas through collaboration.

Summit attendees break out to talk about email writing strategy.
Attendees break out to talk about email writing strategy.

Ginkgo Street Labs was among the presenters sharing strategies to help nonprofits better leverage their open-source CRM. Michael talked about bulk emailing from both a technical and qualitative perspective, and gave attendees ample time to break-out into groups and discuss writing strategy. Valuable, targeted content rewards your supporters for their time, establishes your organization’s reputation, and ultimately drives click-throughs and conversions.



Frank talks about using custom fields to segment supporter lists
Frank talks about using custom fields to segment supporter lists.

Frank presented on the scary-sounding but actually intuitive segmentation strategy. Segmenting your supporters by key characteristics or information is crucial to improving your targeting--whether your goal is to fundraise or get people to an event. Segmenting is often easier said than done; text-only fields are tempting but don’t lead to better grouping and data may be tricky to collect from supporters.

 

 

While our focus was on strategy at the User Summit, afterwards Ginkgo Street Labs brought together a dozen developers with various levels of experience for a CiviCRM Developer Training. Attendees learned the basics of building out and customizing the CiviCRM platform for their organizations. They collaborated to produce test modules and support each other in the learning process.

Frank explains the benefits of developing on CiviCRM Buildkit during the developer training.
Frank explains the benefits of developing on CiviCRM Buildkit during the developer training.

So if you’re the all-around technologist for your nonprofit or community organization, remember: you don’t have to be that lone wolf. There is a community of open-source developers out there and ample opportunity to learn, collaborate and grow. You can learn more by joining the CiviCRM community or by participating in the CiviCRM forum. You can also drop us a line; we love to talk shop.