online publishing

Community Technology Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Meghan Daniels
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Community Technology Coordinator Capacity Development and Training responsibilities:

• Collaborate with neighborhood groups to develop a web presence on our site, focusing on groups that currently have no web presence.

• Manage and update resource content to ensure that neighborhoods have access to up-to-date neighborhood information

• Prepare workshops that enable neighborhoods to use web tools.

• Develop guidebook for website new profile users and train staff and community users to update their own content.

• Provide technical assistance to staff, volunteers, and NPN Members regarding website. Digital Media and Outreach

• Establish relationships with non-profit content writers.

• Improve and expand content partnerships between NPN and partner organizations.

• Edit and publish video vignettes of neighborhood groups for the Adopt-A-Neighborhood program.

• Outreach to university service departments to create profiles.

• Develop unique content in collaboration with Staff and Members * Recruiting volunteers that assist in creating content or new features.

• Serve as technology liaison to the community through public speaking and presentations.

• Develop and implement “The Trumpet magazine online” features.

• Design and Write Community E-Newsletters

• Write Press Releases Technology Improvement * Creating new program or content pages. * Improving or adjusting Website layout/functionality.

Project Outcome: 

Meghan Daniels accomplished the initial goals of creating a policy and system for training our members on the website, a posting policy for the E-Newsletter, as well as guides for our internal database.

What we were not able to accomplish was to increase the rate of postings by members who were trained to upload information on their profiles. While there was a general trend upward in the number of postings by members that received a web workshop, the frequency was not as high as we desired. Other challenges we were faced with involved programming issues with our developer, who had created the website on a proprietary system, thus making basic but essential adjustments a hassle.

Our organization has been able to leverage the success of Meghan Daniels’s work to secure funding for a part time assistant. Meghan’s guides, systems and policies have streamlined our communications platforms.

At the time of our proposed project, we were not aware that our office systems would make a transition to a Salesforce (CRM) database. Meghan Daniels helped vet the system and create user-friendly guides for incoming staff and volunteers. This has proven to be invaluable as it provides a quick and easy-to-use tutorial of the database.

Donor Outreach

Community Software Lab
VISTA Name: 
Eric Bryant
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

We provide free Internet hosting and low-cost custom web-based software development to non profit organizations. For instance, we provide free web and email services to 30 youth centers, homeless shelters, adult education centers, immigrant aid agencies, and disability advocacy groups. These agencies assist thousands of poor people every day.

We accomplish this mission with

* Free software (Linux, Perl, Apache, etc.)
* Below market salaries
* Volunteers
* Grants

The grant writer VISTA member will:

A) Make fundraising contacts and create fundraising processes

B) Develop and maintain relationships with funders

C) Establish ongoing donor database

D) Create calendar of grant deadlines

E) Write grants

The Community Software Lab (CSL) has never had a grant writing/fundraising position. Their director and staff members are volunteers. With 100,000 and the establishment of ongoing fundraising contacts and processes as the year-end goal, a grant writer will enable CSL to support the full-time salaries of its director and staff. This will dramatically enhance the services CSL provides to their clients.

Project Outcome: 

Originally, Eric’s primary goal was to raise money writing grants. His secondary goals were to create a process for us to continue successful grant writing, to get a handle on our bookkeeping and accounting, particularly in regard to presenting our finances to funders. We had very limited success with the grant writing and other pressing needs. Eric shifted the focus of his work to supervising interns, expanding mvhub, doing paperwork for the government, creating a process to do that paperwork in the future and looking at non-grant writing funding opportunities.

We do have, however, a good start on a plan to get a better program. One of Eric’s clear successes was expanding into Lawrence. We were struggling here. In Lowell we know a lot of people. A quick reminder phone call was enough to get people to add their information This didn’t work in Lawrence where we knew few non-profit people. Eric broke the bottleneck. He asked people to fax us their brochures. He typed the brochures into our database and got people to confirm their records and got our stalled project moving. Before Eric arrived, our workers were contractors, volunteers or Americorps/VISTA members. We didn’t need a payroll system. Eric figured out the complexity of state and federal payroll taxes for our first employee.

Impact Quote: 

It is testament to Eric’s abilities that he did what ordinarily requires a a software and a team of professionals to accomplish.”
- Dan MacNeil, supervisor

Community Outreach and Accessibility Development

VISTA Name: 
Anita Lie
Program Start: 
Program End: 
Project Description: 

Since it opened over 8 years ago, the DISKovery Center has provided technology education services to over 3,000 community members in a wide range of skills and computer applications. Over 100 members, who include youth, adults, and seniors, enroll in over 20 classes at the DISKovery Center’s programs every quarter.

The DISKovery Center is seeking a full-time VISTA volunteer (monthly stipend provided) to help build the capacity of the Center to reach out to learners with physical and developmental disabilities through assistive technology, program planning, staff training, and community outreach. The VISTA member will assist the program manager with a variety of responsibilities, including the following duties:

• Develop strategies for outreach to persons with disabilities

• Collaborate with other organizations to develop outreach plans to expand our presence in the disabled community.

• Participate in assistive technology trainings provided by our collaborators to become an in-house accessibility specialist, who will then train other staff on teaching strategies

• Develop resources for accessibility including training materials for both staff and individuals with disabilities

• Help develop a new space plan at the center for better accessibility

• Help establish and coordinate a committee composed of staff, members and volunteers to inform the center on disability access needs.

• Help develop a new intake survey and registration process incorporating disability information, and revamp the current database to track this information.

Project Outcome: 

Our CTC VISTA is the DISKovery Centers Accessibility Coordinator. She coordinated all of the meetings with staff and project partners. She also became our in-house AT specialist, and helped recommend our software and hardware purchases. She has developed advanced curriculum at Pacific Bridge. She has also coordinated and facilitated the access committee meetings. Our VISTA has also coordinated our Computer Adoption Program and has developed curriculum for the program. She has also trained staff on the Ubuntu Operating system so that staff can then teach the participants enrolled in our Computer Adoption Program.

Although we have partnered with other organizations that have given us a small number of users with disabilities, we are still short of our goals. Our VISTA has assisted on our outreach plan, and has developed outreach materials but both our centers in Little Tokyo and Echo Park are struggling increase our numbers.

Impact Quote: 

Our VISTA has been invaluable in assisting the center with its accessibility goals, and has been central in coordinating all aspects of the DISK4All Project. She has been committed to utilizing information and communications technologies to address the needs of our communities. Without our VISTA we would not have the staff nor capacity to achieve our accessibility goals.”
- Steve Wong, supervisor

Transmission Project