Monthly Archives: February 2013

IT training for non-techies?

Idealare tactical tech planning cartoon

Let’s be honest: many of us are not good at managing money. Mention of forecasts, cash flow and accruals is met with grimaces, not exuberant glee.

Getting a grip on accounting basics can lead to resources being stretched further, and will ensure finances are prudently managed.

Some pain to learn how to get better at accounts is worth it. And fortunately, training on accounting for the non-financially minded is widely available. Technical terms are translated, and much of the arcane methodologies are stripped back.

I believe many organisations could benefit from access to a similar approach to training on the use of technology.

It’s not exactly an easy thing to boil IT management down into digestible chunks. Technology touches on so many parts of every organisation, and keeps changing. Fortunately, some others have created technology planning training for non-techies.

The recently released Tactical Tech Planning On Demand online course covers what Idealware consider the key areas for organisations to grapple with. As the name implies, the course focuses only on what you really need to know.

The training is broken down into 26 modules, which comprise short videos along with activities. The five main topic headings are:

  • Getting Started
  • Infrastructure
  • Data
  • Online Communications
  • Action Plan

The aim is “to help you assess your organization’s technology infrastructure and address your current and future needs.” A usable IT action plan is the result.

I can’t help think, as I have pondered in the past, that some training along these lines will help New Zealand organisations to get better at using IT to support their work.

Within the broad aspirations of the Ministry of Social Development’s Investing in Services for Outcomes capability building programme, released in January, technology is one of the areas highlighted for attention. The emphasis seems to be on responding to challenges within individual organisations.

Would some technology training, ala financial management for non-accountants, be useful for NZ community organisations?

Idealware’s On Demand Tactical Tech Planning – The Trailer from Idealware on Vimeo.

Register now – Beth Kanter workshops in Aotearoa, May 2013

Photo of author and master trainer Beth Kanter, wearing red stetson

As the sun rose on the New Year it was pretty obvious the upheaval caused by social media will continue unabated. People still flock online to connect with others in lots of different ways.

Looking ahead it is hard to know what will rise, what will fall. Will the effects of Facebook’s share float permeate even further? Could Bebo make a comeback alongside MySpace? Will Pinterest keep rising?

Whatever happens to individual sites and services, we can be sure that social networking is here to stay.

A deep understanding of how online networking works, along with awareness of the sweeping demographic and cultural changes bubbling underneath the surface, can really help organisations thrive when communicating through social media. On the other hand, without a grasp of the big picture, using social media is something of a lottery.

Having an impact also takes knowing what works well. What truly engages people? To count “Likes” or “Retweets” is a start. Bigger questions about whether it’s worth it need a robust approach to measurement. And time to reflect too.

To grapple with these types of challenges I’ve invited someone I consider a true leader in social media use to run two workshops for community organisations and NGOs in Aotearoa New Zealand. In May 2013 author, trainer and blogger Beth Kanter is coming to share her tried and tested frameworks, and knowledge of the practical application of social media practices from around the globe.

Ever since I met Beth at a workshop she ran at the Connecting Up conference in Brisbane in 2008 I’ve developed a very deep respect for her work. She generously shares her experience, is open to different cultures and always keeps a light touch.

I struggle to keep up with Beth’s prolific sharing on her blog, but I found her (short) book “The Networked Nonprofit” (2010), co-authored with Alison Fine, very helpful. I’m now half way through “Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using data to change the world” (2012), co-authored with KD Paine.

My view on the benefits of digging more deeply into social media is shared by my workshop co-hosts. I’m delighted Mangere East Family Service Centre and Volunteering Auckland are coming on board to each co-host one of the workshops. Support from The Tindall Foundation and Connecting Up is a big help too.

If 2013 is the year you want to extend your organisation’s social media use, come along to one of the workshops:

  • “Improving social networking practice with measurement” workshop
    A full day workshop and peer learning network, intermediate level, Saturday 11 May, Mangere, South Auckland. More information and registration page
  • “Be networked, use measurement and make sense of your data” workshop
    A half day workshop, introductory level, 1pm Monday 13 May, Auckland. Registrations open next week

Don’t expect Beth to tell you which social networks are best for your organisation. Nor to predict what is the up and coming one to get into. However, you will walk away with insights that will help you deepen your practice using social media.