What I Can Do for You
I specialize in researching, evaluating, and implementing technologies for non-profits and charitable organizations. Whatever project or new technology or software you are interested in using, I can evaluate it, research it, and help you get the best value for your money.
I can also act as a technology consultant and liaison between you and software sales reps or programming and design firms. Enterprise-level software companies often provide little to no support for their product, relying on a secondary market of programming and design firms to implement and support their products. Meanwhile, programming and design firms will often charge well over $100 per hour to setup new software or systems for you, and the cost doesn't end there if you want any further work done.
As Technology Consultant and Liaison for Carolinian Canada Coalition, I have been helping them save a lot of money working between them and their enterprise software. Once I learn the software myself, having me on-staff allows Carolinian Canada access to professional support and development at a fraction of the cost.
Enterprise-Level Solutions for Your Non-Profit, Charity, or Small Business
Here is a short list of software I have worked with that I would immediately recommend for any group looking to modernize their process:
- Tech Soup: While Tech Soup is not a software its self, it does offer a dizzying array of free software to non-profits and charities. If you are a registered Charity and you are not using Tech Soup yet, the only question you should be asking yourself is how to get registered!
- Office 365: Did you know that Microsoft's new cloud-based Office is more than just a word processor? Office 365 can also act as an enterprise file-server, an email server, and even a social intranet! With multiple free and extremely discounted non-profit offerings, you can easily equip your entire charitable organization with the office experience that works for you.
- Drupal: you've probably heard of Content Management Systems before and why you need one, and Drupal is one of the most powerful and flexible offering available. The Whitehouse website and the Government of Canada are two notable organizations that work with Drupal. And the best part? Drupal is 100% open-source, which means the only money you have to spend is on the developer who sets it up for you. Drupal is one of my areas of speciality.
- CiviCRM: CRM stands for Contact Management System, a term you most likely have heard of if you have ever worked with a business. Contact management is essential for converting leads (people who MIGHT be interested in you) into clients. CiviCRM. CiviCRM, much like Drupal, is open source and one of my areas of speciality.
- GoToMeeting: GoToMeeting is one of many teleconferencing software, but it is also one of the best - especially for non-profits. GoToMeeting is available free through Tech Soup, and includes GoToWebinar for hosting training sessions online for up to 1000 participants. If you work in a distributed environment of home offices, or if you pay for an expensive teleconferencing line, it pays to look into GoToMeeting!
Content Management with Drupal
Drupal is a software package that puts the power of content creation in YOUR hands. Traditional websites require a programmer to post all of your updates. With Drupal, you and your staff can post updates, pictures, add new sections, menus and more. Drupal helps you get in control and engage your audience, all through a rich-media interface that is as easy to use as your word processor.
Carolinian Canada Coalition was looking for an update to their old website, which had been created almost a decade ago. They wanted a clean, functional homepage in order to introduce their exciting new programs, and one that could grow with their cause. With this project, I stepped into the world of Contact Management Systems. Drupal CMS is a powerful software designed to create a unified web experience across a series of web pages. Carolinian Canada's interest in the software was that it allows for staff members to post new material without any technical or programming experience, but keeps the theme and styling consistent.
The power of Drupal is in its modules. Driven by a massive developer community, modules can be plugged into the software to allow for almost any functionality, from web-forms to calendars, or even a fully functional web-store.
This was my first primary design project. All graphics are custom and hand drawn, finished in Adobe illustrator and Photoshop.
This project was started as a Brave New Machine project, but due to distance we were unable to keep our collaboration going. Gary provided initial design choices for the project, but the final design was developed by my work with Carolinian Canada.
Sharing Files Across Southwestern Ontario with Box.com
Graphic property of Box.com
The Carolinian Canada Coalition is a distributed work environment. Employees, board members and volunteers live and work in villages, towns and cities across Southwestern Ontario. This gives Carolinian Canada a unique perspective as stewards of the ecological richness of the region, but also presents unique challenges. One of the key hurdles for the group was the difficulty of passing files back and forth between employees.
Carolinian Canada's tool for passing data up until this point was primarily through email - an unsustainable practice for a growing organization. What they needed was a software to allow for files to be simultaneously accessed by all stakeholders in an organized and secure fashion.
The project involved three stages: research, testing, and implementation. During the research phase, I investigated multiple enterprise file-sharing solutions. Each was judged on feature set, usability, and security. The features Carolinian Canada was most interested in was a desktop sync and file version security. This was especially important as they were worried about the possibility of changes to a shared file being overwritten. Finally, an analysis of all candidate software was submitted with a price comparison.
The final software decision was box.com. Box.com is a cloud based file sharing solution geared towards enterprise customers. The features of box included all of the requirements as well as a few innovative extras. Box syncs with the desktop environment, as well as with mobile devices. The software also effortlessly preserves and controls multiple file versions, allowing the user to view older versions, and even lock a file for editing. Sharing with outside stakeholders is easy through multiple tools including email links and website sharing windows. The box interface is also easy to use, fairly quick and pleasant to look at. Testing of the software went smoothly with a free trial month.
Carolinian Canada is currently making good use of box.com, which has taken their distributed work environment to the next level.
Contact Relationship Management with CiviCRM
CRM stands for Contact Relationship Management. But what does that mean? Think of Contact Relationship Management as a structured journal and address-book, combined with a statistician who will analyse the big picture of everything you have entered in it. At its most basic, and when used properly, a CRM will keep track of and organize every interaction you have with every contact of your organization, and will analyse your combined total interactions.
Civi CRM is a Free and Open-Source software that is uniquely geared towards the non-profit and civic sectors. Contact Relationship Management programs often come with a suite of other software that can make them more appealing, like event registration, email marketing, program management, etc. Civi CRM pulls its weight in all of these areas and also come fully equipped with a suite of donation, membership, and pledge management tools that truly set Civi above the competition. Being open source also means that new features are developed quickly and custom builds can be created.
For Carolinian Canada Coalition, implementing a CRM was a foregone conclusion. Through a thorough research process where I investigated many different CRMs, the flexibility of Civi CRM made it the easy choice. Civi CRM is a complicated piece of software that is meant to hold on to our most sensitive data, so it was important to work with experts in the field. Freeform solutions have been working with Civi CRM for years, and their prices are highly competitive as they are themselves a non-profit organization.
My role as facilitator and administrator of the new software has allowed Carolinian Canada to implement a highly complex and innovative system at a fraction of the cost that they would otherwise pay in working solely with an outside contractor.
Patrick needed a website to help him advertise his unique skill set, so we built him a digital resume. Simple yet sumptuous design that gets right to the point and is visually appealing, Patrick's website can be navigated with ease. Each area of speciality receives its own personalized treatment, providing enough information to be informative without being overbearing, and Patrick's contact information is always accessible.
This is the second project I worked on with design partner Gary Crosby as Brave New Machine.
Finishing Touch needed an online portfolio to display some of there amazing home renovations. Gary and I put together a personalized and professional web design that highlighted the client's work through clean and classy adobe flash image galleries.
This was the first website I put together with design partner Gary Crosby. Design work provided by Gary, all programming provided by me.