Archive for September, 2010

Soapbox site launch: Every Child Matters

It brings me great pleasure to announce the launch of a site that is near and dear to my heart:!


Every Child Matters (ECM) is a national children’s advocacy non-profit whose goal is to make children a political priority. Additionally, ECM was the little organization I called home before moving into my position here at PICnet. It was at ECM that I first clicked the ‘show html’ button in our Joomla 1.0 site to see what was happening behind the editor, and where I first realized that I had a passion for leveraging technology to help organizations that are trying to make a difference in the world. My experience working at ECM led me to where I am today, and I am very grateful for it.

This is why I was so pleased to be able to bring ECM to PICnet as a new client. Not long after I left, their old Joomla 1.0 site experienced some security issues (totally not my fault, I swear!) and left my former coworker, John, in a bit over his head trying to clean things up. It was at that time that I realized ECM could really benefit from moving their site into a managed platform like our Nonprofit Soapbox, which would allow John to focus his energy on getting his next e-blast out, or organizing ECM’s next event, instead of digging through database tables looking for the malicious code that brought the site down. Throw in an upgraded design, and the switch to our Soapbox platform was a no-brainer.

Once this project got started, we were off to the races. With ECM’s busiest time of the year coming up in October, we needed to really fly through things over the summer to get the site up and running in time for the pre-election season. I wasn’t sure if it would be possible to reach our goals, but the team at ECM really pulled through to get all of their content up on the site. Keep in mind, this site has over 300 pages of content!  For us to be able to get through our initial discovery discussions, custom design, development, and content upload in just over two months was really quite an accomplishment.

So here’s to ECM and their beautiful, new Soapbox site! Congrats to them for all their hard work, just in time for “Step Up for Kids 2010!”


60 seconds to support great NTC 2011 sessions

While the US elections might be a little more than a month away, the non-profit tech world is already deep into its voting season…and I’m looking for your votes!  The 2011 Non-Profit Technology Conference (NTC) will be taking place in Washington DC early next year, and PICnetters have submitted or have been asked to join some great sessions.

Of course, if you want to see these sessions, you’re going to have to vote for them!  Your votes will help determine what is presented at this year’s NTC, so make sure your voice is heard before the September 30 deadline.  Here’s our session proposals:

There’s hundreds of other sessions proposed for the conference as well, so I recommend taking a tour of the larger list of session proposals too.  See you in Washington, DC!


Relaunching my past: A personal reflection with Morgan Freeman’s help

There’s a great scene from Shawshank Redemption, a great movie filled with great scenes, which has been on my mind recently.  It’s where Red, played by Morgan Freeman, comes up for his parole hearing and, rather than give the same canned answer he thinks the parole board wants to hear, he drops on them the honest truth about how he feels, fully believing that it will do no good because he’s destined to stay locked up forever.


The truth of what he feels is that he wants to go back into the past and lay some wisdom on his earlier self:

“I want to talk to him.  I want to try and talk some sense to him.  Tell him the way things are.”

It’s a moving scene: bare honesty from a man whose life has been defined by a single act that landed him in jail.  It’s moving because it touches on a powerful and uniquely human wish: to relive our earlier lives with the benefit of wisdom we gain later in life.

Quite frankly, it’s a wish that brought me to PICnet.  I spent more than a decade in the nonprofit world with much of that time as accidental techie, struggling to do more with less, cobbling together ad hoc knowledge and tools to maximum effect.  I’m proud of the work I did.  I made a strong, honest effort and did some real good for the organizations I worked for.  But I felt like a man on an deserted island setting up a lean to and calling it home.

What brought me to PICnet several years ago was the desire to help nonprofits do more than just cobble together solutions.  Nonprofits have missions worthy of more than just makeshift solutions.  They deserve to house their efforts in something better than a lean to.  I wanted to lend a hand in providing informed and elegant strategies and tools that addressed their technology needs so they could spend time focusing on their mission and less time reinventing the wheel with spare parts.

That’s why it gives me such satisfaction to have launched the new Port Jobs website.  Port Jobs is a fantastic organization increasing access to living wage jobs in Seattle and King County.  It also happens to be a place I worked for several years as Web Manager / Bookkeeper / Database Administrator / Communications Manager / Whatever-else-needed-doing-that-day Guy.

I had a long business card.

Congrats to the good folks at Port Jobs! May your website treat you well and give you great delight in the ease and efficiency with which you can update it so you can focus on the great work you’re doing!