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Colorado Nonprofit Development Center

Robert R.
user 3161500
Group Organizer
Boulder, CO
Post #: 91
Use this area to talk about Colorado Nonprofit Development Center
Dave B.
davebunte
Broomfield, CO
Post #: 1
Executive Summary:

The primary goal of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center (CNDC) was to update their existing web-based, restricted access Help Desk portal. During the break-out session, there was extensive discussion surrounding the desired outcome of the Help Desk functionality as well as a basic demo of the existing functionality. The team focused on how third party software and services could be utilized to replace the existing functionality. The team did not have the opportunity to look at underlying infrastructure of the existing site, but seemed relatively confident that the ROI of updating the existing infrastructure would be significantly less than an alternate solution that instead eliminated it. The primary recommendations from the team included:

  • Determine whether the web server could be updated to provide the Google Analytics code in the served header for all pages.
  • Create and start gathering some simple metrics to measure the impact of changes to the web portal.
  • Consider transferring the existing documents to a Google Web Site (and potentially preserving the CDNC brand via Google Apps).

Initial Goals:

The Colorado Nonprofit Development Center (CNDC) presented 4 primary goals. The first three targeted improvements to their "Help Desk" portal. (Basically, a Content Management System (CMS) who's purpose was to allow members self service access to various documents (HTML, Excel, etc...) provided by CNDC). The enhancements they were looking for were:

  • Improve the ease-of-use of the portal.
  • Modernize the look-and-feel (to match the since updated main site).
  • Incorporate Google Analytics to help track which documents were being accessed.

The final goal was regarding a message forum. While the Help Desk portal already contained a rudimentary message board, it was difficult to use and had (extremely) limited participation. Instead, the primary forum for interaction was a limited access Google Groups message board.

Outcomes/Recommendations:

The team recommended a couple of limited scope actions to potentially address the explicit goal of enhancing the amount of the site covered by Google Analytics as well as a mechanism for ensuring that the impact of future changes could be measured. Then the team examined potential alternatives for replacing the existing infrastructure and started a proof-of-concept prototype.

The first recommendation was to determine whether their web server software could be configured to supply the Google Analytics javascript code in the web headers. The belief was that if this could be implemented, it would with a single stroke, begin providing tracking information for existing pages (at least for the HTML pages).

The second recommendation was to decide upon and start gathering basic metrics that could be used to determine the efficacy of future changes to the Help Desk portal. For example, if the success criteria for this functionality was to reduce the amount of human interaction required to provide basic answers to the clients, one metric to start gathering would be the number of incoming calls, emails, etc... regarding material that was (or could be) provided via the web portal. While a significant amount of additional information could be gathered (time to respond, time spent responding, etc...) the team suggested that this should be kept as lightweight as possible and limited to data that could be easily gathered. This could always be enhanced in the future, but the primary focus should be around a providing a sustainable mechanism for measuring the impact of changes made to the site.

The rest of the discussion (as well as some proof of concept prototyping) surrounded what third party software and/or services would be appropriate for replacing the existing Help Desk portal.

One option that was discussed was embedding a third party CMS (e.g. Joomla, Drupal, etc...) into the existing site. There was some concern expressed surrounding the amount of work required to configure & brand one of these solutions. The sentiment seemed to be that these might be overkill.

Some additional options that were discussed included mechanisms not only for users to access the existing data, but to add comments and feedback to enhance it in order to allow the user community to help make the supplied data more accessible to other users. Some options along this front included Get Satisfaction, SnapABug and Vanilla Forums, among others. It was noted that many third party services provided free (or substantially discounted) access for non-profit organizations. One potential downside of this approach was that it may be in conflict with the a desire for consolidation under the CNDC site (implied by the request to provide a CNDC site integrated forum to replace the existing Google Group).

The option that ended up with the most discussion was creating a Google site to serve the Help Desk documents. This had the benefit of automatic integration of Google Analytics in addition to integration of Google Search. It also would potentially allow the existing Google Group to be better integrated. This solution would also eliminate the need for users to maintain two sets of login credentials (one for the existing Help Desk and one for the existing Google Group) as now access would be available with a single Google login. From a branding perspective, it was suggested that Google Apps could be utilized to serve both of these functions relatively seamlessly under the existing CNDC branded domain. (However, it was noted that this might not be a simple configuration and could require some technical assistance). Additionally, this approach would allow an incremental migration of the existing data/documents with limited technical expertise required (perhaps an intern opportunity) and defer switchover until whenever it was ready.

-- Dave

Disclaimer: this is my attempt to represent the shared contributions of the team. I apologize in advance for any inaccuracies I may have inadvertently introduced.
Fiona S.
FionaSchlachter
Dallas, TX
Post #: 6
I just talked to Emily at CNDC and their Google site is in progress and they have 2 questions:

1. How to add a Back to Top link in a long page?

2. How to modify the site URL to cndc.org instead of google?

If anyone can answer this by Wed, 8/4 that would be really helpful. Please contact Emily (erosenberg at cndc dot org) directly.

Thanks so much,
Fiona
A former member
Post #: 1
The Veterans Incubator of Colorado is a non-profit formed to help veterans wanting to start their own Colorado businesses. We heard about the CDNC from Dave Jackson of the Veterans Passport to Hope, and approached them about providing the 501(C)(3) credentials we needed to begin operations this year. They were quite helpful and within a short amount of time - were up and operational. I would highly encourage anyone thinking of starting a non-profit startup to approach them and discuss the options. They are very "veteran friendly" and a great resource.
Paul Gregory, Co-Founder, The Veterans Incubator of Colorado ( www.coloradoveterans.org )
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