Your Night at the RVA Creativity Awards

It was a cool, breezy night. The Bolling Haxall house stood tall and inviting against the Richmond skyline. The windows glowed with a warm atmosphere with joyous shadows passing to and fro. Upon entry, you could see the Lego building voting station and the registration table. Friendly staff hand you a name tag, lego pieces and a stamp to signify you are over 21 years old. Excitement bubbles from within as you take a quick look around. Hugged against the historic mansion’s walls are countless tables bursting with activity. Staff and volunteers stroll elegantly from room to room carrying sheets of information and mouth watering hors d’oeuvres. You grab a lobster wonton and head to the back of the mansion to find your favorite table: IT4Causes!

The table is easy to spot with its colorful spinning wheel shining brightly from two Ipads. Founder Tom Anderson and his Intern Koren Dodd smile and welcome you to the table. Nestled beside the Crossroads Art Center, the two beckon guests to the table to play a free game of chance. You start the game with no hesitation, hoping to win any of the prizes. After entering your email address which automatically puts you in the contest for a $50 VISA giftcard, you watch the colors go round and round. At first the needle almost landed on the UDIG Tumbler cup  but instead slowly teetered to the next panel: “Oh no! Zombie Apocalypse and your data wasn’t backed up in cloud.” You shake your head, no prize this time. You bid your farewell and take a wistful look at the other prize: an RVA card. You decide you will probably stroll back through to play again.

The night then flew by! You met so many amazing organizations, listened to live music, met a magician and got an outline of your face stitched into a future piece of art. You had to hold your gut from laughing so much since the ceremony was emceed by the Richmond’s Comedy Coalition. You got to see lustrous handcrafted trophies presented to the winners and had sidewalks light your way to the after party at Pasture. Want to relive the night? Take a look at pictures in our Facebook album.   So what do you say? Will we see you at our next event?

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Tech Corner: Top 10 Due Diligence Questions for Cloud Hosted Solutions

At IT4Causes, use of cloud-based solutions for common problems is a cornerstone of the strategy that we advocate with our small and midsize nonprofit partners. We’re in the process of selecting solutions for both Donor Management and Case Management, and of course we’re doing due diligence to make sure the vendor solutions pass muster. Here’s a list of the top 10 questions we’re asking about the solutions; please feel free to comment back with any other that YOU feel are truly important considerations for making sure a cloud-hosted solution is stable, secure, and sustainable:

  1. What is the SLA for uptime for the application?
  2. Is the application hosted in a public cloud such as Amazon S3 or Microsoft Azure, or is it hosted in a private cloud?
  3. Is the application hosted in a single site, or at multiple sites in different geographies?
  4. Do you have a disaster recovery plan, and when was the last time it was tested?
  5. How frequently are backups made? How long are they kept?
  6. How and when will we be notified of major upgrades and service outages?
  7. Please provide a general overview of your general approach to security. What security measures do you use to authenticate users?
  8. What level of encryption do you apply to our data, at rest and in transit?
  9. How do you ensure the privacy of our data? What about metadata generated by our usage of the application?
  10. How does your application implement role-based security?

Of course, this is just a starting point for discussion, and we ask many other question of our potential vendors. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, too, so send your comments to Thomas.anderson@it4causes.org and we’ll summarize the responses in a future blog post.

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cloud computing over blue background

 

Help Us Celebrate at the RVA Creativity Awards!

This Thursday, the 21st, RVA’s most creative ideas and projects are coming together for a night of celebrations, we want you to join us! IT4Causes is a proud finalist at the 2015 RVA Creativity Awards. Everyone is welcome to come have some fun, vote for a project (hint, hint) and enjoy some refreshments. The event is taking place at 5:30pm at the Bolling Haxall House. Tickets are $35 but can you really put a price on a night packed with so much fun and creativity?
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In attendance are 20 finalists who were selected out of 80 applicants for the title of the most creative project in RVA. Come see what these projects have to offer and enjoy some prizes and entertainment. Stop by IT4Causes’ station to play an informative game of chance and maybe win a great prize (or at least grab some sweet swag), and, of course, to vote for us in the People’s Choice award. A musical performance will be provided by Church Hill Music Co and the night will be hilariously emceed by the Richmond Comedy Coalition. It gets better! If all of that wasn’t enough, food and drink is available from Richmond’s own Underground Kitchen, James River Cellars Winery and Center of the Universe Brewing Co.
So what are you waiting for? Buy your tickets now!

 

Meet our new intern Koren Dodd!

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A recent graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Koren studied Religious Studies with a certification in Community Development. Koren will be helping out as a nonprofit management intern, working on things like marketing and branding, events, business development and partner agency management. Koren and the other staff here at IT4Causes work hard to provide stable, secure, and sustainable information technology solutions that enable other nonprofit organizations to focus on their missions and serve their clients better, with lower total cost to their organization and the community.

“I’m super excited to be working with all the amazing people here at IT4Causes. I know this is a great opportunity to learn a conglomeration of skills and to learn more about nonprofits. I’m lucky to have gotten a position in a sector full of such passionate people. I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring!”

With over 600 volunteer hours, Koren has been giving back to the community for years but it wasn’t until she joined the ASPiRE program at VCU that she was inspired to work in the nonprofit sector. Congratulations on graduating and welcome to the staff, Koren!

Calling All Office 365, MailChimp and Laptop/Desktop Gurus

We need volunteers! We have several volunteer opportunities that we’ll need to fill in the coming weeks. We are currently looking for Microsoft Office 365 experts / administrators to install new occurrences of Office 365 in addition to troubleshooting existing installations. We’re also seeking volunteers who have experience with installing Mailchimp as well as conducting a successful Mailchimp campaign. And we need volunteers who are “laptop gurus” to assist in setting up laptops for use in our not-for-profit agencies. If any of these opportunities strike your fancy, please contact Bill Flowers, Project Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, at bill.flowers@it4causes.org. For more information and details on each opportunity, please visit the IT4Causes page at Hands On Greater Richmond.

The 2015 Servant Leader Award Goes to…

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On May 8, Leadership Metro Richmond honored Tom Anderson, Class of 2014, Founder & CEO of IT4 Causes for making significant contributions to the community in the year since he completed Leadership Quest. Tom was nominated and selected by his fellow class members. Leadership Metro Richmond’s mission is to connect and educate a diverse group of community leaders, inspiring them to serve the Richmond region ( http://www.lmronline.org/ )

Congratulations Tom and thank you Leadership Metro Richmond!

IT4Causes: Your next internship!

IT4Causes is a start-up nonprofit agency located in Richmond, VA. Our mission is to provide stable, secure, and sustainable information technology solutions that enable other nonprofit organizations to focus on their missions and serve their clients better, with lower total cost to their organization and the community.

We are currently offering two flexible full-time internship positions with small stipends for the summer of 2015, with the possibility of extending as part-time into the 2015-16 school year.  Ideal candidates will be college juniors or seniors.  To apply for either position, please submit your resume to Thomas.Anderson@IT4Causes.org by March 22, 2015.

IT Implementation Internship

As an IT Implementation Intern, you’ll work with our Project Manager and teams of skilled IT volunteers to implement best-in-class small business IT solutions at deserving nonprofit (we like to call them “for-purpose”) agencies across RVA. You’ll leverage playbooks we’ve developed to build towards a strong IT strategy and architecture. In the process, you’ll learn a ton about real life cloud-based solutions for file management, office productivity, accounting, fundraising, and case management, as well as web site development, social media, and networks. You’ll have opportunity to work with IT professionals in all stages of their careers, and you’ll meet some true experts in their fields.

As a startup, we offer high growth potential. As a volunteer and service nonprofit providing IT solutions, we offer the broadest networking possible. We will provide a stipend of at least $1000 for this position; exact amount will depend on fundraising and business development success.

Nonprofit Management Internship

As our nonprofit management intern, you’ll work with staff and volunteers to help our growing agency in many different ways, including marketing and branding, events, business development, and partner agency management. You’ll also help several of our client agencies learn to use donor management and case management systems effectively. Our small staff means you’ll get to know all parts of our business, and because we serve other nonprofits, you’ll get to meet leaders at many other charities in RVA. We’ll provide a ton of networking opportunities, and you’ll work with us to build capacity in not just one agency but in many organizations around the region.

We will provide a stipend of at least $750 for this this position; exact amount will depend on fundraising and business development success.

To apply for either position, please submit your resume to Thomas.Anderson@IT4Causes.org by March 22, 2015.

Last Call for Volunteer Extravaganza!

The big event is Monday 3/2 from 6:30-9 PM!  If you want to:

  • Learn more about our current partner agencies,
  • Find out how to use your skills to deliver great IT to those agencies,
  • Be part of our next video, which will premier at The Byrd Theatre on April 11,
  • Dress up as an Office Space character, and/or
  • Eat pizza and drink beer,

then you should come out to our event!  It’ll be a blast!

Click here to sign up before 2 PM on Monday!

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Volunteer Spotlight: Daulton West

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IT4Causes enjoys the support of many dedicated volunteers. One such volunteer is Daulton West, a Capital One alumni with years of IT experience who is now President and Owner of ASocialMediaChampion4U, a social media strategy consulting firm. Follow Daulton on Twitter (@DWestJr) for more social media tools, tips, and breaking news.

Daulton has helped a wide array of nonprofits, startups, and networking groups with their social media efforts, including the Greater Richmond Small Business Development Center and the RVA Career Expo, sponsored by the Richmond Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and two local networking groups, Career Prospectors and JAM.

Daulton joined IT4Causes in October 2014 as a key member of the Marketing and Branding Advisory Group and has taken part in various initiatives to help us get off the ground. Daulton has helped grow IT4Causes’ social media reach and also provided guidance for website enhancements. Daulton generously volunteered his time and energy to plan and take part in IT4Causes’ inaugural event, which brought together volunteers, agency staff, and other IT4Causes supporters.

Daulton also led the initiative to research SEO enhancements, gather the findings, and capture the results in the “SEO Recommendations For Nonprofits” guide.

Thanks Daulton for all your help!

If YOU are interested in helping Richmond area nonprofits become more effective through better IT systems, please sign up to volunteer.