Nonprofits have embraced technology, but that doesn’t mean they have all done so with open arms. It’s this factor that will determine whether or not your organization will have success with the various new devices and software available.
Holly Ross, former executive director of the Nonprofit Technology
Network (NTEN) in Portland, Ore., and now head of the Drupal
Association, set out a list of Dos and Don’ts to make dealing with
technology much easier:
- Let mission and strategy be the guides when making technology decisions.
- Establish strong systems. Staff can’t get mission-critical work done if they have to reboot the system every half-hour.
- Plan. A crystal ball isn’t necessary to plan for technology needs.
- Evaluate continuously. Learning from experience isn’t possible without stopping to reflect from time to time.
- Make technology decisions based solely on cost. It is only one factor in determining the value and expense of technology.
- Forget to include staff in technology decisions. Allies will be needed while new systems are being implemented.
- Select mission-critical software such as a donor database without first documenting key business processes.
Last year, Google rolled out its “Knowledge Bar,” a section on the right-hand side of your search results that contains information about the person, place, or company for which you searched. Nonprofits were not included in the Knowledge Bar at the time, but that all changed this week.
The search engine giant announced Tuesday that nonprofits would begin to be included in the Knowledge Bar. While the feature is still in its roll-out phase, many of the larger organizations already have their information online. For example, a search for the Livestrong Foundation will provide the following information:
- A short blurb of the nonprofit’s history via Wikipedia.
- The founder of the organization.
- The founding date.
- Tax deductibility code.
- The latest post from their Google+ page (if applicable).
- Similar organizations.
HR technology is evolving rapidly, with huge advancements in social, cloud, and mobile solutions this year. We’re excited for what 2013 will bring and how the latest technology will transform the way hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates engage with each other in the hiring process. (more…)
The trends are always changing in the world of technology. Who would have thought just a few years ago that tablets would become more desirable than laptops? Yet that’s exactly what has happened, with major developers like Microsoft developing innovations meant for that device.
Most nonprofit managers would love to bring the latest “must-have” software to their organizations, but that’s simply an unrealistic proposition. To be successful in today’s rapidly changing world, it is imperative to decide which technologies best fit your organization.
In “Nonprofit Management 101,” Holly Ross, executive director of Portland, Ore.-based Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), wrote that the key to selecting new software is understanding and documenting your needs. This would seem to indicate a length process, but it can actually be done by following five best practices:
- Identify your top needs. If you are looking for graphics software, for
example, will you be making graphics primarily for the Web or for print?
- Can your existing software already do it? Before you head out into the
software selection process, be sure to evaluate existing software to see
if it can get the job done.
- Find out what your peers are using. Referrals can be the best way to find the right piece of software for your organization.
- Identify some scenarios and test. Most software packages and vendors allow you access to a demo or trial version.
- Decide whether this software will meet your needs. You should look for software that will best meet your critical needs.
Would strategic HR be there? How about outsourcing; or, should that be in-sourcing? Does employer branding and the “war for talent” belong there? And where would technology fit in, especially the trend away from so-called best-in-class components and toward integrated systems?
Not an easy call is it? Just since the start of the recession in late 2007 human resource departments, and the profession itself, has seen a remarkable shift in both function and practice. Strategic HR, a concept that began to percolate about the same time companies changed the personnel division to the HR department, got jumped into the C-suite consciousness shortly after the layoffs began. It was helped along by the angst created earlier by Keith Hammond’s wake-up call to the profession, “Why We Hate HR.”
Call it a trend, call it a coincidence, but today, on LinkedIn, there are 4,000 HR vice presidents with MBAs. Coming up in the ranks are twice that many MBA-holding HR directors. This is telling, suggesting Hammond’s observation that, “Most human-resources managers aren’t particularly interested in, or equipped for, doing business” had an effect.
Merely having a business degree doesn’t necessarily make the holder a candidate for CEO, but it does prepare him or her to take a seat at the grown-ups table. And the evidence is there to officially say HR is getting that seat; LinkedIn lists 761 MBA-holding HR vice presidents at the Fortune 1000.
Other trends? Certainly the growth of contract labor has to be on the list. Today, contingent labor comprises, on average, 16% of the workforce of companies with 1,000 or more workers. Seven years ago, it was 11%. That percentage is only going to continue to grow, with Fortune 100 companies leading the way.
More significantly, we’re not talking here about companies simply bringing in more seasonal help, the way retailers do at holiday time. This is a shift in the strategic mix of the corporate workforce, much as tech companies have done for years. Enabled by the availability through layoff or buyout or forced retirement of skilled professionals, companies have discovered they can tap this pool for specific projects without adding to corporate headcount.
Harvard Business Review called this growing corps of professionals “supertemps.” Many of them, having discovered the freedom of moving from challenge to challenge, have little interest in becoming permanent staff. Write the authors: “as growing numbers of professionals decide that they prefer to work on a temporary basis, organizations are finding ways to work with them.”
Besides these, readers of the Human Resources IQ blog weighed in on other developments that figure as trends: metrics and analytics; technology; outsourcing; comp and benefits; compliance; training, and; the mobile workforce. Several of these, and specifically the welcome focus on analytics, are part of HR’s growing strategic emphasis. As every MBA knows, “if it’s not measured, it isn’t managed,” and you don’t know if it’s effective or not.
So, with the help of technology, today’s HR MBAs are linking performance to the bottom line, and back to talent acquisition and the management of the entire workforce. The HRIQ audience talks about the technology trend as automating HR’s rote processes. That’s certainly important, but it’s evolutionary, not revolutionary. What puts technology on the list is the integration of discrete HR systems — the ATS, payroll, time management, performance, and the like — into a single system that offers a “big picture” view.
It’s not yet a complete integration; ERP software steps toward it, but few of those implementations were designed with HR as partner. HR systems got coupled on. As the C-suite grows in its appreciation of the economic value of its talent, ever more of these holistic integrations will occur, making the impact of the workforce on the bottom line clearer and more measurable.
The Society for Human Resource Management is working on an industry standard to provide companies a uniform, internationally accepted method of valuing a company’s human capital. The work of a group of dozens of professionals from academia, finance, HR and elsewhere, the standard will eventually be presented to the Amercian National Standards Institute.
Among the elements to be valued, according to the proposed standard, are: human capital spending; retention; engagement; and something the standard calls “Human capital discussion & analysis.”
The objective of this latter element is “to provide management with an opportunity to connect the dots and to provide investors with an enterprise-wide perspective of the meaning and importance of the various human capital metrics.” Connecting those dots will demand a sharper focus on the economic contribution — and not just the cost — of the workforce. Inevitably, that will mean more emphasis on enterprise-wide linkage of HR’s information, with the rest of the operation.
In other words, as Haig R. Nalbantian, senior partner at Mercer, told the HRIQ audience, “developing one’s own data to ascertain the impact of policies and practices is becoming more the norm. This is a major change and is aligned with developments in other fields like Finance, Marketing, Logistics, etc. that are pushing the boundaries and tapping the benefits of what the Economist has called the ‘Era of Big Data.’”
Where HRIQ identified eight HR trends — and there are at least that many — on a macro scale, technology and structural changes in the American labor force are the trends propelling human resources from a tactical, functionary part of an organization, into a strategic partner on an equal footing with every other division represented at the big table.
Image courtesy of sixninepixels /FreeDigitalPhotos.net
When you hear the words “website redesign,” images of major overhauls and hours upon hours of work come to mind. This is often the case for sites that have serious problems but, thankfully, that doesn’t necessarily describe your nonprofit’s webpage.
This was exactly the point that Jono Young and Rahell Guba of Blackbaud made during their session, “Better Nonprofit Websites: 52 Tweaks in 52 Weeks,” during the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in San Francisco. As the title of the session suggests, Young and Guba offered 52 tweaks that nonprofits can make to their websites without having to commit major resources.
Here are five of those suggestions that you can use immediately that will make a world of difference when it comes to your website design:
- Use fifth grade language: Clean, simple, understandable external language. Making it relatable is better than making it likable.
- I don’t just want your money: Provide alternate ways to support in
addition to donations, such as social media, email, word of mouth, blog
about us, templated messages.
- Pictures speak louder: Visualize your achievements, goals, mission,
appeals and campaigns. Use an infographic approach and make content
- Content approval workflows: Have a second, or third or fourth, set of eyes review your content before it goes public.
- Social your confirmation pages: These are your top supporters – help
them brag about what they just did and market your organization for you.
Chances are your nonprofit’s database has a plethora of files containing sensitive donor information. With hackers constantly in the headlines, it’s important that you keep your data secure.
The five practices are:
- Backup, backup, backup. The greatest risk is not because of hackers; it’s data loss from computer failure, fire or other accident. Complete backups should be performed every day.
- User ID and password security. Some of the most stringent requirements are used by the healthcare industry under the Health Information and Patient Privacy Act (HIPPA). Included in this act: passwords are at least seven characters, with a nonalphabetical character; passwords are not displayed on screen; passwords should expire and be changed every 60 days; no more than three unsuccessful log-in attempts; access to data should be limited to certain subsets.
- Audit trails. A database system should be able to provide a security audit trail of user login.
- Physical security. This includes not only computers and servers but also access to printed records.
- User security awareness training. Make users aware of “phishing” schemes.
The National Endowment for the Humanities announced Thursday that it has given a $1 million federal grant to a nonprofit effort to digitize the country’s libraries.
According to an article in The Boston Globe, the grant money will help form a new nonprofit and create the technical platform needed to create what would be called the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), a program that would share content across the U.S.’s public libraries and archives. An independent board will be created within two months to form the new organization, which will work with libraries across the country. The goal is to have a working prototype ready by April 2013. The effort will be headed by the Harvard University library in Cambridge, Mass.
Once completed, the digital library will be free to use for all users. There is also the possibility that it will partner with private entities, such as Google Books, that would allow individuals to access content that has already been digitized.
Efforts to digitize content has sometimes been met with legal resistance. Google has sometimes been stopped in its efforts to put books online because of copyright laws. The endowment’s chairman, Jim Leach, acknowledged that the new organization would have to work within those laws, which could potentially limit the content for the DPLA.
The DPLA project will integrate with the European Union’s Europena digital library collection. It is meant as a complement to the Library of Congress’s ongoing World Digital Library project.
You can read the full story in The Boston Globe.
Bullhorn, the software company that powers much of the staffing and SMB recruiting market, has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners for a reported nine-figure sum. The Boston-based tech firm announced the deal this morning.
The financial terms were not made public, however sources, including TechCrunch, said the sales price was in the “low nine-figures.” That would be a near tripling of the company’s valuation since 2008 when it got a $26 million VC fund investment.
“It’s a big day here,” CEO and founder Art Papas said. “The employees are really pumped up.” Two reasons for the excitement, Papas said. Because of stock options, many employees will see a financial windfall, but as important, he added, is that Bullhorn will remain independent and growing.
“I work with some incredible people. And with this acquisition, no one is leaving. Just the contrary, we’ll be growing.”
In the last several months, Bullhorn has added 40 employees and now has 201. “We are continuing to staff up,” he said, with plans to grow geographically. Three years ago, in the midst of the worst of the recession, Bullhorn opened an office in the United Kingdom, which, Papas said, “turned out to be one of the best things we’ve done. We’re going to continue to expand.”
The company will also expand its product development, especially in areas that complement its core, ATS service, including CRM, as well as continued enhancement of its mobile provisioning. Bullhorn Reach, the company’s successful freemium social media service, will also see more development.
Declining to get into details, Papas said Bullhorn would also be looking at acquisitions, especially companies with products geared to the 3rd party recruiting market.
Where companies like Taleo (acquired by Oracle), SuccessFactors (acquired by SAP), and the public and still independent Kenexa, among others, have long focused on the enterprise and corporate markets, Bullhorn has concentrated on search firms, smaller recruiting agencies, and independent recruiters.
From its founding in 1999, the company’s products have been SaaS based, an approach that meant recruiters could begin using the software almost immediately, without the need for in-house or other technical help. SaaS, also often referred to as cloud computing, has become the hot trend now, driving HR technology companies to develop a cloud capability. That’s one of the major drivers of the recent string of acquisitions and why SAP paid a substantial premium to the all-SaaS SuccessFactors.
Papas attributed Bullhorn’s success — 40% revenue growth and 400 new clients last year — to its SaaS provisioning. SaaS, he says, is something of an equalizer. “If I’m a small business, I can get the same service as Kelly.”
Kelly, and Randstad, one of the largest staffing firms in the world, are both Bullhorn customers. In all, the company reports it has some 12,000 clients with over 100,000 staffing and recruiting professionals across 126 countries using the system. The company has made the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, the Inc. 5,000 and the Boston Business Journal Pacesetters.
Yesterday, LinkedIn clarified efforts to contain the 6 million password breach that occurred last week. In an e-mail to the media the company summarized its work to secure the site.
While there didn’t seem to be any immediate danger to member accounts (and LinkedIn confirmed this), there was concern about how the breach occurred and how the company would respond to prevent future breaches.
According to the e-mail, by June 7th (a day after the breach) LinkedIn disabled the impacted user passwords. Customer service teams reached out to those users explaining how to reset their passwords. As of yesterday, there had been no compromised accounts. LinkedIn also made sure to say there has been no impact on sign up numbers or with people leaving the network.
LinkedIn also clarified that passwords are now both hashed and salted (previously, they had only been hashed). In case you think this turned into a conversation about breakfast food, Joe Basirico, director of security services for security innovation, explained the difference in a post last week:
What could LinkedIn have done to protect you from your own poor password choice? Well, they could have required a Password Policy, but everybody seems to hate those. They could have also added Salt. No, not that salt, this Salt.
In software we call a chunk of random data that we add to passwords “salt.” Since your password is so easily guessable it’s likely it already exists in somebody’s Rainbow table so the lookup would be really quick and easy. We want to make them work for it. So for each user I generate, say, 10 extra random characters to add to each password. This means I generate some random characters “7%bKeVm!fN” and add that to your password turning it into LvBieber7%bKeVm!fN. If I do this for every user the hacker has to generate a rainbow table for each user independently.
If you want to get into the specifics of the security measures, that post (and the thread on Reddit) is a great start.
LinkedIn didn’t reveal how the breach occurred or what measures are being taken to prevent a future breach. However, the company said it’s working with law enforcement and taking unspecified security measures.