Tech Tools for Non-Techies

Changing the world requires good tools. And if you would rather have a root canal than talk about tech tools, then today’s post is for YOU!

I am not a techie. At all. When Dimitri first got his combination cell phone / Palm Pilot / Space Shuttle Launcher, I told him to get extra insurance on it, because if it beeped one more time, I was going to throw it off the balcony.

That said, I do love tools that make my work more effective or that make my life easier.

But I also do NOT want my life to become HARDER, and therefore become LESS effective at my work, all because I have had to take the time and brain-power to learn to use the tools that are supposed to make my life easier and make my work more effective! (And if you think that sentence was exhausting to read, it was equally exhausting to write…)

But still, I am a curious person, and a strategy-driven person. And I do want our work to be as effective as possible, as there is an amazing future to create, and we need to build on all the good stuff there is to do that work.

So today I thought I would share some great stuff I have found – tech stuff for us non-techies.

There are plenty of blogs and links for true geeks, and as the Institute’s Geek in Residence, Dimitri, will tell you, they all give me MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) faster than reading an insurance policy.

So here are a few sites filled with GREAT information for those of us who would rather take that trip to the oral surgeon than talk tech.


First, the answer to the Emily Littella-like question, “What’s all this talk about wikis?” Being one of those I-get-what-it-is-but-what’s-the-big-deal? people, I have become evangelical about Lee Lefever’s video Wikis in Plain English. This few minutes has made my day. It is fun and funny, and Oh My God – now I get the wiki thing, and I WANT one! I don’t even care what for!

You will also enjoy the rest of the Common Craft site, as there is a lot of Plain English going on there, all around tech tools. Finally, someone has done what car ads have done for years – not talk about the car, but talk about me in the car! I recommend scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page, and checking out their “Best Of” stuff. And you may want to either bookmark Common Craft, or add them to your feed – it is really terrific stuff. Hooray for Common Craft!

Speaking of using language I can actually get excited about, you will want to check out Michele Martin’s blog, the Bamboo Project, written by a fellow traveler in the Community Benefit* world. Michele is a bit of a geek herself, and has amassed incredible resources about how we can all use the web to enhance the work we are doing in our organizations and our communities.

In her post 101 Ways to Practice Blogging, she gathers info from Philip Liu’s blog – I Help You Blog and then expands on that, with her own great ideas, specific to the work our organizations do. She also shares ideas about Using Facebook in Your Nonprofit (if you have teenagers, you have heard of facebook – now you will know why!)

And because I will assume most of the readers of this blog are like me – just first figuring out what a blog is in the first place, and easily overwhelmed by all this technology, I will stop with just those 2 for today.

As I find more tech sites that I can actually understand and learn from, I will pass them along. And if you know of sites we may want to include next time, please let us know!

(Curious about our use of the term “Community Benefit Sector?” Click here to learn more.)

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