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I've been doing a lot of research seeking information on securing discounted internet for 501.c.3 nonprofit organizations, and I want to share with you some of the information I've found. Most notably is the advice from Northwest Justice Project's very own Sue Encherman, Director of Administration Management. This August, The Northwest Justice Project's Yakima office relocated to a new building. Sue, who was working hard to ensure the transition between the offices went smoothly, contacted the Public Utilities Department (PUD) in Yakima to ask about discounted high-speed fiber optic internet. Although the first contact Sue spoke to didn't have any idea that the PUD could help, she informed the contact that some of the other counties in Washington provide discounted broadband to nonprofits. Shortly thereafter, the PUD contacted Sue and let her know that the Northwest Justice Project's Yakima office did indeed qualify for discounted broadband!
I'm not saying "Don't take no for an answer," but be sure to do your research so you have a leg up when you contact your PUD. Here are some more tips to help you secure discounted broadband for your nonprofit:
Like I mentioned before, your local PUD, may not even know they are allowed to provide high speed internet to nonprofits, so do your research! I've noticed that a lot of PUD websites are a little bit outdated and hard to navigate, so you might have to dig. Take your time to thoroughly search, and there is a chance that you will be able to find unintentionally hidden information on your PUD's website. It also helps to look at the Public Utilities Departments for neighboring cities.
Be a Comparative Shopper
If your PUD gives you a deal, make sure it's the best deal you can get. Know who all the internet providers in the area are, and that sometimes commercial is the way to go. If the PUD offers you a 50% discount, but charges $6,000 to install fiber, it is probably not going to be the best deal if you only have 4 people in your office.
Look for Grants
Right to internet access or right to broadband movements are growing, and a lot of them provide grants to non profits. Look for Last Mile grants and grants specific to your state or city. BroadbandUSA, committed to connected America's communities, is a good place to start.
What's the deal with Fiber
Fiber is up to 100 times faster than the average broadband speeds. According to the Washington Post, the average internet speed in America is 18.2Mbps. Fiber provides speeds up to 1,000mbps or 1 gigabyte/sec!
I've been going through old blog posts to make sure our information is all up to date. Here are some popular posts that have been updated. I made sure all the links are working, added some more relevant information, and removed outdated information. I will continue to go through the posts and update everyone accordingling. If you ever find an outdated article or an aritcle with broken links, please let me know. You can either comment on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back to School with 50 Tech Tips 9/10/2014
A perennial favorite, join us as we present 50 new technology tips! From new tools to new hacks, start the school season off right with this fast-paced session. Pulling from a broad range of presenters -- from technologists, website administrators, attorneys, to tips from the community -- the hour will fly by
Spritz: If you have too much to read or want to read faster, check out Spritz. Do a quick test to find out how many words per minute you read, and start using Spritz to read faster. Spritz is incorporated by the next tip, Readsy.
Readsy: Readsy incorporates a Spritz widget and allows you to upload a file, copy text, or a URL onto the site and read the text using Spritz technology. There is also a Readsy bookmark tool which automatically copies URLs for you.
StayFocused: A productivity tool that allows you to block sites from distracting you. You can set time limits and fully customize which sites you want to block. The site helps limit how much time can spend on time-wasting websites by allowing you to set a number of minutes that you will be allowed to look at certain sites on your blocked sites list. Here is a list of suggested blocked sites!
Zotero: A free tool which helps you collect, organize, cite, sync, and share your research. Download Zotero, and start building your research library that you can access from any computer! Here is a short video that will help you get started.
EasyBib: Generates citation in MLA, APA, & Chicago for your bibliography. Cite a URL, Book, Journal, database, or 50+ other types of documents with easy using this handy tool.
Duolingo: A language learning tool that understands how people learn languages. Choose from Spanish, Danish, Irish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Dutch. The site is free and can be used on a mobile device! Beginners start at Basics 1, and advanced learners take a placement test.
Wordmark.it: A font selecting tool. Simply type in the word you are trying to styalize, and wordmark.it will use all of your fonts and show you your text as the sample. Excellent for graphic design projects!
OneLook: OneLook is a reference site that allows you to use commands to search for words and definition. Ie: search “bl????rd” which will find words that start with bl and end in rd with 4 letters between. Comes in handy when you just can’t remember the word you are looking for.
Tip of My Tongue: Helps you find a word that you can’t remember. Has an unscrambling tool, allows you to enter partial words, and offers definitions.
Microsoft Word Alternatives: Free open source software. They have the ability to open word documents:
My Fridge Food: Generates recipes and meal ideas based on the ingredients that you have in your kitchen. Go through a quick check list and populate recipes!
More Tips: Xander Karsten (Moderator)
Coffitivity: Perfect for those who like to work in coffee shops. Coffitivity has a library of background noises including “Morning Murmur” and “University Undertones” to boost your creativity. Download the app for on the go sounds.
- Outlook: copy and paste attachments from one email to another
- Show a second time zone
- Gmail: boomberanggmail.com: schedule emails and reminders, so you can write an email when you have time, and send it the next day
- Map it out early & often
- Where each piece fits. Organize.
- The homepage/main sub pages
- Think through each part
- Sit Checklists
- Think through all the pieces
- Hero shots/pictures
- Responsive design
- Color schemes
- Embedding videos
- Think through all the pieces
- Learn Enough to be dangerous
- Understand enough about how to run the website
- What the limitations are
- How to embed videos
- Have a photo party
- Find a photographer
- Get great pictures
- Plan out accessibility from the start
- Target your Audience
- What is your audience looking for?
- Involve your audience in planning and thinking through
- Build Partnerships for Content & Promoting
- Great publicity
- Helps with SEO
- Accessibility Audit Before/After Launch
- Used Interactive Accessibility to ensure ADA compliance
- Time Launce with and Event, Anniversary, etc
- Kick off at an event to get the word out
- Get people excited about your website
- Keep it Fresh
- Plan/Schedule to edit and refresh it
- Sell it!
- Respond to audience interests/needs
- Social media
- Get assistance to keep the website going
More Tips: Xander Karsten (Moderator)
Moqups: Wireframe your website, create mock-ups and prototypes at moqups.com.
Trello: Collaborative project management tool. Very helpful for visually organizing projects and tasks. Create boards and tasks. Easily collaborate with others. Assign tasks, leave comments, and set due dates on each task.
Aero Snap: In Windows, drag a window to the left or right of the screen, and the window “snap” to fit half of your screen. Great for comparing two documents or webpages.
Better Snap Tool: For Mac, download this app to manage your windows. Simply drag windows to the screen corners or sides of the screen to compare side by side.
MindMeister: Collaborate with others, brainstorm, organize data, plan your vacation and develop with MindMeister a mapping tool that organizes vast amount of information in an organized and presentable way.
Coggle: Free and easy to use mind mapping software. Easily drag and drop to organize data. Create color coded maps, and easily organize data.
Mindnode: (Mac iOS) create visual representations of your thoughts. Brianstorm and stay organized.
Mindjet: (Windows, Mac, iOS) Visualize projects and help people pinpoint what needs to be done, and who is responsible for each task. Uses: Brainstorming, Meeting Management, and Project Management.
Noisli: Background noise and color generator for work or relaxation. Listen to a coffee shop, white noice, or a light breeze. You can layer different sounds to get things just right. Rain+Thunder is a pretty good combo to try!
Simply Noise: Another sound generator. Listen to white, pink, or brown noise. Extension packs are available. Set up a sleep timer or start oscillation to get the sound just right.
Sunrise Calendar (Web, Android, iOS) and Fantastical (Mac, iOS) are plain-language calendaring tools. Type “dinner with Brian next Thursday at 7pm” and the apps create the event without fields and dropdowns!
Google Authenticator: Two-step authentication using text message or voice call for many services including: Google apps, Facebook, Dropbox, LastPass, Bitcoin, Tumblr, and more. Install Google Authenticator and find more info at Google Support.
The Wire Cutter: A great site for gadget reviews. Very well researched product reviews on a broad range of topics.
Instapaper: Save articles, videos, recipes, and more while browsing. This app let you save & read things that you find online on any of your devices. Read anything you save on or offline across platforms.
Pocket: Another app that allows you to save information you find online. Put it in your virtual pocket and access it from any of your devices on or offline. .
Chromecast: A small $35 device that you connect to your HDTV (HDMI port). Connect it to your wifi network, and control it with your phone, laptop, or tablet. This is perfect for travelling or for casting videos from your phone. Cast Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, and more Apps!
Normal: Battery Analytics: Normal is an iOS app that diagnoses and suggests actions you can take to extend your battery life. It shows you which apps on your device are hogging your battery. Cost: 99 cents in the app store!
More Tips: Xander Karsten (Moderator)
Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com: A website that provides tips and training for nonprofits. They offer weekly webinars and blog posts Monday-Friday about nonprofit marketing, communications, and fundraising.
Hootsuite Syndicator: Provides you with a library of content for you social media accounts by streamlining RSS feeds. Subscribe to RSS feeds and see them in the HootSuite Dashboard. Once subscribed, sharing content from your curated library is really simple!
School of Data: A free online resource which seeks to empower people and organizations by teaching the data use skills. Their goal is to enable people to work with data and to drive social change. Check out their course list, and learn the skills you need in the data age!
Tuva Labs: An online tool for students and teachers which seeks a brighter future through teaching/learning data literacy skills. Tuva labs allows teachers to choose datasets, assign activities, and evaluate work.
SQL (Structured Query Language) School: A plain-English guide to SQL data analysis. Simply create an account, and work your way through the lessons. You’ll be a data analyst before you know it!
Anne Emery Tutorials: Anne Emery’s website is full of useful information about data visualization and data analysis. Her 2-5 minute long Excel tutorials are awesome and reach out to trying to analyze research data and evaluation projects.
Clarify: a $30 program that allows you to create visual communications easily without fussing with multiple applications. Create an instruction manual, tutorial, or presentation with this easy to use program which makes it easy to create, export, and share!
Web Scraper: A free chrome extension that allows you to easily get data off of a website and into a spreadsheet without coding.
Awesome Screenshot: A free browser extension that allows you to capture screenshots. After capture, the app allows you to edit, crop, blur, annotate, and manipulate your capture. You can easily copy it to the clipboard or save the capture.
OneTab: A free browser extension that keeps you organized. Download the free extension, and click the icon to convert all of your open tabs into a list. When you need the tabs again, you can restore them all, or individual. OneTab saves 95% of memory by reducing the number of open tabs!
HTTPS Everywhere: A web browser extension that automatically makes websites use the more secure HTTPS connection instead of HTTP.
LastPass: A secure password manager. Add passwords to your LastPass Vault, and the next time you need to login to a site, LastPass does it for you! The data is encrypted and decrypted locally to ensure that your information is safe. Use on your desktop, phone, tablet, or even a friend’s computer.
More Tips: Xander Karsten (Moderator)
Stop Breath Think: A free guided mediation iOS app that seeks to foster compassion, kindness, and mindfulness to all people through a process called Stop, Breath, and Think.
OneNote is Microsoft's best new organizational and collaborative tool. It can be used across multiple platforms (i.e. computer, phone, kindle, iPad, etc.). If you aren't using OneNote yet, you should learn how it can be one of the most useful tools Microsoft has to offer. This training covers the basics and beyond. You will learn how to use OneNote to organize information in both your professional and personal life
OneNote is an amazing note taking tool that allows you to easily search all of your information. It is great for reference and collaboration.
The OneNote Web App allows you to access all of your notes from any computer anywhere (as long as your notebooks are saved to the web)
In OneNote, you create notebooks which function like binders. You can create tabs within your binders, and then add individual pages.
Create a Notebook:
3 choices for storage. If you choose web, you will be able to access on your phone, tablet, web app, kindle, etc.
- In order to save on the web you will have to create a Microsoft OneDrive account. (easy)
- Once you've created several notebooks you can easily edit the order of them by dragging and dropping
- The green circle next to your notebooks indicates that is synced.
- Right click to rename tabs within your notebooks
- Click anywhere to create a placeholder for text on the page. It is very similar to a notebook. You can write anywhere!
- From the home screen you can easily number items on your page
- Create a table by typing and using the Tab key or Insert table
- Password protect your notebooks
Tag your notes to keep organized
- Point to the text that you would like to add a tag to
- On the home tab, choose a tag: i.e.: to-do, important, question, or customize a tag.
- This allows you to organize your notes. Example, make a customized tag called "Sue" for everything you need Sue to look over.
- Searching for Tags
- To see all items you marked with the Sue tag), do the following:
- On the Home tab, in the Tags group, click Find Tags.
- In the Task Summary task pane, click a tag to find the relevant note
Insert a Screen Clip
- From the Insert Tab at the top, you can add a screen clipping or screenshot to your notebook.
- To add a screen clipping, the page you would like to clip from must be the last thing you viewed before adding the clip!
- Then simply drag the cross hairs to customize the screen clip.
Insert a Link
- Link to an a website address or Link to another Notebook within OneNote
Insert an Attachment
- When you attach a file, you get a file icon. In order for the file to be opened, the folder must be accessible
Insert File Printout
- OneNote will try to open the program/document and "print" it onto your notebook page as a picture
Insert Audio or Video
- Record Audio or Video
- If you type while you record, the recording will generate chapters so you can quickly access parts of your recording later
- Share/collaborate with others on your notebooks.
- Save notebook on the web to share
- Use recent edits to find changes made in the last week, day, 6 mo, etc. to see changes made on documents
- Search by author
- Draw with the mouse, or with a stylus
- Use the ink to text option to change your handwritten words to text
- OneNote can search handwritten text, and text from images!
Add content from the web
- Right click and "send to OneNote"
- Screen clippings
- Chrome Clipper tool
Sandy's Book on OneNote 2010 is available to you for non-commercial, non-profit use only. Copyright Sandy Rylander. She suggests either reading it on your screen, or printing a copy out for office use.
- Back to School with 50 Tech Tips from Legal Services National Technology Assistance Project (LSNTAP)
- Please join us this Wednesday, September 10th for our Tech Tips training. Check out LSNTAP's trainings for more information on how to join.
- Talley Wells, Disability Integration Project Director, Atlanta Legal Aid Society
- Tony Lu, Citizenship Works Project Coordinator, Pro Bono Net
- Kim Marshall, Content Developer and Project Manager, Arkansas Legal Services Partnership
- Jessie Posilkin, Training and Implementation Specialist, Legal Services Corporation
- Xander Karsten, LawHelp Program Coordinator, Pro Bono Net