The first Tuesday of every month, Philly Netsquared hosts a great technology networking event at the American Friends Society in Center City Philadeplhia. The purpose of the meeting is to share information and solutions about technology throughout the non-profit business community of Philadelphia.
The line up for the meeting "Free Stuff for Nonprofits and Good Causes!" on Tuesday, September 2nd was:
Community Magic's Stan Pokras discussed Freecycle as a resource for free stuff and a way to help keep reusable goods out of landfills. (Source: www.freecycle.org)
Azavea's Tyler Dahlberg shared insights on his firm's annual Summer of Maps http://www.summerofmaps.com/ fellowship which pairs student data analysts with nonprofits to produce high-impact maps for free.
Briana Morgan from the Office of HIV Planning spoke on Google for Nonprofits, which includes a $10,000/month advertising grant for noncommercial purposes and free access to Google Apps. (Source: www.google.com/nonprofits)
David Mosenkis presented TIBCO Spotfire, a visual analytics platform non-profits can license at no cost to explore and share insights from large data sets without programming. (Source: www.spotfire.tibco.com/tsc/donate)
Thomas Taylor from roundCorner shared his experience using donated & discounted CRM licenses from the Salesforce Foundation http://www.salesforcefoundation.org/, along with free Salesforce apps like the Nonprofit Starter Pack, Volunteers for Salesforce and DemandTools, to help nonprofits organize information on funders, volunteers, supporters and members. (Source: www.salesforcefoundation.org/help/nonprofitstarterpack, www.salesforcefoundation.org/highered/volunteer-management, www.databasesherpa.com/august-webinar-announced-cleaning-messy-data-demand-tools)
I had a chance to learn about GIS from Tyler. Tyler said "GIS looks at spatial data on a map." Essentially, GIS is a visual perspective of data which can tell a more complete story. He gave an example of a town that had over 20 children with Leukemia, which is very rare. The source of the contaminant was a well that three different factories were using to run their spill off. As technology became more sophisticated, the computers took samples from multiple locations to pinpoint which factory was responsible for contaminating the well. The case was actually turned into a movie called "A Civil Action" starring John Travolta. Although the summer of maps program is great for select noprofits Tyler also mentioned Cartodb.com as a source for non-profits to make their ows GIS maps. Cartodb requires that the user has their own data but Philadelphia is fortunate because Opendataphilly.org allows users to download datasets for FREE. The information from the map is only as good as the data entered.
After the meeting, thanks to Mitchell, we learned about another technology tool at discounted prices for non-profits. Email marketing service Vertical Response is offering free accounts to nonprofits for up to 10,000 msgs/mo (Source: www.verticalresponse.com/pricing/non-profit/application)
Thank you to the volunteers at Philly NetSquared who are bringing together all this technology information to non-profit organizations for free. Learn more about Philly NetSquared as they present Youth and Social change on Tuesday, October 7 at the Friends Center www.phillynetsquared.org
Nicole Newman is passionate about seeing businesses grow using technology tools that increase productivity. The digital divide is separating the United States into two communities: technology-savvy and technology-illiterate. With a Temple University bachelor's degree in Management Information Systems, she is armed with solutions.