Software

6) Are You In Search of Great Constituency Relationship Software?

bloomerangYou’ll see it promoted as “CRM” software – Customer Relationship Management. In the non-profit sector, we sometimes substitute the word, “constituency” for customer… but the idea is the same: How can we keep track of all the people we know? If we keep track of their names, addresses, contact information, and characteristics, we’ll presumably be better at being their friends and saying thank-you when they partner with us through prayer, giving, and meaningful friendships.

There are multiple ways of tracking all these loose bits of information. We’ve covered several previously. See, for example,

http://www.brigada.org/2013/03/10_11077

However, we haven’t mentioned Bloomerang. I know; funny name. But serious intentions. See them at…

https://bloomerang.co

Pricing might scare away some of us. See their model at…

https://bloomerang.co/pricing

But for those who are serious about helping donors become partners and partners become friends for the Lord’s purposes, this is indeed another viable option. Let us know if you try it please, along with what you conclude.

12) Here’s a $90 Online Bible Study for Free!

logos logLogos Bible Software, available for 15% off at

http://www.logos.com/Brigada

was GOING to sell their Faith Life Bible app, A free study Bible with layers of notes, infographics, videos, maps, etc., for about $90. Instead, they’ve now decided to offer it for FREE. Check it out at…

https://faithlifebible.com/

By the way, every month they give away a free book. This month, it’s “300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans.” Find it at Logos.com.

2) MAF to Release Educational Tool for Isolated Christians

luminThere’s a rumor on the street: On May 14th, 2014, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is planning to launch a new software package called Lumin. It’s rumored to be a Windows™ based program that makes it easy for isolated educators to create and deliver digital curriculum, presentations, eBooks, exams and more. The software and the exported project (called a ‘Pak’) can be viewed in most modern web browsers, and both work without the need for Internet connectivity. This means that a Pak created in Lumin can be viewed on almost any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.

Rumors are swirling that MAF will release Lumin for free at:

www.maf.org/lumin

In addition to the product, the word on the street is that MAF will be staging a contest for those who want to create a project with the new software. The top software, as chosen by MAF, will apparently win a new tablet computer. If you’re interested in this kind of technology, we suggest you run, not walk, to this URL above on the morning of May 14th. Hats off to MAF for addressing this important and strategic need. Just remember, you heard about it first on Brigada. :-)

12) Free RSVP Software Might Help With Your Next Meeting

There are lots of membership and event software offerings these days. However, maybe that’s more than what you need. Maybe you don’t even need a sign-up list. Maybe all you’re looking for is a way to determine “Who’s in?” for your next home Bible study or missions committee meeting. If that’s the case, I’m hearing a lot about…

http://www.whoozin.com

It looks easy enough. Throw out a date/time and hear back instantly, via this app, whether or not your group can make the date. Try it — and please report back here whether or not you like it. Thanks in advance for your feedback.

9) CobianBackup Continues to Impress

I believe we first mentioned Cobiansoft’s CobianBackup in 2009. But even today, it still continues to impress. For the purchase price (zero), it will do just about as a great a job as anything at helping you prepare for disaster. It supports FTP backup, runs as an application or as a service (consuming very few system resources in the latter mode), can compress or not compress, encrypt or not encrypt — it’s your call.

http://www.cobiansoft.com/cobianbackup.htm

Remember, most computers have moving parts. If they don’t move, some of them likely warm up. It’s not a question of IF you’ll someday experience data loss due to some kind of failure. It’s WHEN. Backing up is a bit like buying fire insurance: The moment you realize you wished you had it, it’s too late to get it. Begin a vigilant and routine backup policy today so, when it happens, you can smile, and say, “Brigada told me I should prepare for this.” :-)

8) Free Sample Downloads and Clips from VideoBlocks

Wow. Our I.T. person at Team Expansion (Greg) shared a URL with me this past week that he had seen via one of the lists he monitors. On the surface, it looks like one could download free for 7 days from the 100,000 motion picture backgrounds at VideoBlocks.com. See this website to learn more…

https://www.videoblocks.com/freeclips/religion.php

They have motion backgrounds, countdowns, production music, and much more! Looks like you get 20 clips/day, absolutely free! (Thanks Greg!)

5) UDisciple iPhone app

Tim, a colleague here at Team Expansion, showed me this past week the little iPhone app that T4T has put together called uDisciple. (It’s at least available for IOS; check your own phone operating system to see if it’s available in your own smartphone’s OS.) It’s pretty cool. About two-thirds of it is dedicated to orality, providing a couple of major sample story sets that one could memorize and retell. But there’s also a section designed for Training 4 Trainers implementers. It essentially provides quick notes to remind trainers about lesson plans for 11 major sessions on everything from baptism to the Great Commission. I love it… and hope we see more of this sort of thing in the future. Learn more about all the other resources offered by T4T here…

http://t4tonline.org/resources/

(Thanks Tim!)

11) Looking for Bible Software?

Logos is still the benchmark, the standard by which everything else is judged. True, they offer a gift to Brigada if you purchase a package, but do your own study: If you can afford them, they constantly come back with the best ratings. Learn more at…

http://www.logos.com/brigada

You can reportedly do 50 hours’ worth of old-fashioned parsing in seconds, using Logos. You can study anywhere (even on your mobile device). And you can glean from original language stuff without having to go to seminary. Try it out. If you’re not happy, I bet they’ll give you your money back. If you’d like them to help Brigada after your purchase, be sure to give them the coupon code “Brigada5″ at checkout. We understand you save 15% in the process.

11) Revisiting “Getting Things Done”

I’ve shared with you that a colleague or two and I have been using Nozbe for task management. Every once and awhile I catch a glimpse of something else and I wonder if it would be better. Then, by the time I check it out, I realize that I probably could have completed two or three tasks on my to do list, instead. :-) This past week, I checked out…

http://www.gtdagenda.com

First, I’ll tell you up front, this app is currently limited to just two (count ‘em, 2!) users. However, we have a personal promise from the developer that they’re working on that limitation. Having said that, if you and your cohort (just 2, mind you) would like to try this program, it looks like it does have some strong points. It’s based on David Allen’s “GTD” strategy, which we like. It has the main features like Projects, Contexts and Next Actions. But it also other unique features like a “Goals & Vision Wall,” with multiple projects possible under each goal. You can even stash inspiring pictures linked to your goals, and have them delivered to your e-mail daily so you are motivated to take action. Goals can have Checklists for the repetitive tasks that you have to do, on a regular basis. It integrates with Evernote (shouldn’t everything?). It has native iPhone and Android native Apps that work offline and then Sync (shouldn’t everyone?), and also a mobile-web version that works from any mobile browser. A public API for third-party integrations is available too. So — if there are only two of you now, of if you’re planning on firing a bunch of people, check out gtdagenda. Or keep watch until they can add users. For what it’s worth.

10) What’s the Best CRM for Non-Profits, Missions Agencies, etc.

For some time now, we’ve used a SugarCRM spin-off called InfoAtHand, hosted internally but available globally, as our Constituent Relation Managing software or CRM. We expect a lot of it. We not only use it to help us remember the addresses for new prospective recruits, but also as a holding tank for data about our current members, donors, vendors, and more. But, we’ve used it since 2006 or so without much modification and, frankly, we’re beginning to feel some pressure to switch. Some of the pieces have now gone south (like the connector to Microsoft Outlook, which we were using to transfer contacts to our smartphones). What’s more, with spam email saturating as much as 1/3 of all internet traffic, today’s spam filters are becoming stricter about what they allow through the pipeline. Nowadays, it’s more and more common that we invest hours on a particular report or bulletin, only to find out that it’s not reaching 1/3 to 1/2 of its intended audience because of a picky filtering system. So we probably need to link more effectively with one of the major email distributors like iContact, Constant Contact, or MailChimp (rather than use our CRM to send the mail out directly). We’re also doing more and more events, which prompted us to need an online solution for registration and online payments. This resulted in adding yet another component (we’re using Wild Apricot, but there are several other equally capable options). What’s more, our CRM lags behind in collaborative tools, so we’ve added Podio to the mix (and we love it, by the way) for team communication and file-sharing. And at the end of the day, the truth is, our workers are no longer jazzed about trying to tweak our SugarCRM spin-off into handling all the nuggets of information we want to keep about every single type of volunteer to whom we relate.

The bottom line is — we probably need to switch. (The pressure under the volcano is mounting. :-) ). So may I ask — what has worked for you? Have you found an affordable solution for tracking contacts in a team environment, cross-pollinated with event registration (without having to double-enter or import-export), interlaced with personnel information as well? Obviously, it should be secure, easy, and affordable.

We’re currently considering:

CiviCRM — http://www.civicrm.org (I fear it will be too technical?)

Donor Tools — http://www.donortools.com/ (no event management)

Non-Profit Easy — http://www.nonprofiteasy.com (seems most promising?)

Non-Profit DB — http://www.nonprofitdb.org (does this seem quirky?)

Your thoughts? Anybody have any experience with any of the programs I mention above? Any other options out there that seem more promising to you? Please use the comments below to clue us in on your best recommendations.

12) I’m Not Color-Sophisticated

By the time I was 9, I was so color deficient, Indiana University used me in a nationwide study on color blindness. So I’m probably the last person you want developing your color templates for the web. But thankfully, Brigada reader, Eric, has pointed us to…

http://www.DOT.lighthouse.org/accessibility/design/accessible-print-design/effective-color-contrast

Web designers there, who can detect color combinations much more effectively than I, tell us basically what works and what doesn’t. I like it. And by the way, if you have trouble seeing any of the colors or combinations you see on Brigada’s online web version, please tell us. If you like, just use the comments below this item to point out our mismatch(es).

12) Nozbe just Thinks Like I Think

I continue to enjoy working with Nozbe, a software application designed to help you track and execute tasks and projects. I like it because…

*** You can ‘hide’ tasks that you don’t want to see yet. You can make them “pop up” when it’s time to start worrying about them.

*** When you “check off” a task, it doesn’t immediately go away. It gets crossed off and drops to the bottom of the list.

*** You can attach an infinite amount of comments to each task.

*** You can turn a task into a project, then design integral tasks under it.

*** It’s a web app, viewable through your browser. But it’s also a desktop app, viewable even when you don’t have access to the web. It’s also a smartphone app (available in iOS (iphone), android, and Windows phone), an iPad app, and yes — all those are fully functional even when you don’t have wi-fi or a cell signal… and then they sync with the web app and everything else.

*** You can nest your tasks in an unlimited amount of projects, or not. The choice is yours.

*** You can also use “contexts,” allowing, for example, to mark certain tasks that should show up when you’re driving or at home or at the office — because you might only be able to do them at those respective locations. If you’re not there, they aren’t visible.

*** You can attach to do items to particular dates, or — just allow them to be loose (meaning you do them whenever you can get time).

*** Nozbe is completely “team friendly,” meaning that you can see what others are doing, assign tasks to those who serve on your team, and receive assignments from the folks who supervise you. You can ask questions of team members, who can then answer you — without having to resort to unrelated email threads.

*** The whole environment is encrypted, so no matter where you are in the world, only you will see your tasks and projects as you complete them all.

You can learn more at

http://www.nozbe.com

No special affiliate code. We don’t receive a kickback from your interest. Just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.

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