New Book Throws Life-line to Accidental Techies in Nonprofits

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Accidental techies are an all-too-common phenomenon in nonprofits. You know the person: one day they unjammed the printer, but now somehow, all technology resources have become their responsibility. The goal of this guide is to help a nonprofit’s tech staff manage and organize technology practices in their organization.

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Guide to Automating Information and Referral Systems

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Technology management and use in most nonprofits is treated almost as an afterthought. This is what creates “accidental” techies.

A new guide from Fieldstone Alliance (formerly Wilder Publishing Center) throws a life-line to these often beleaguered staff: "The Accidental Techie: Supporting, Managing, and Maximizing Your Nonprofit’s Technology."

"The Accidental Techie" is written by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services staff who have experienced first hand the issues that techies face. This is not a trouble-shooting manual, but rather a guide to creating a support system that will help a nonprofit use technology more effectively and make the techie’s day-to-day life less hectic.

Without systems in place, it’s easy to get bogged down putting out fires and responding to complaints. The Accidental Techie helps tech staff figure out which processes in the organization are working smoothly, which users need training, and what software isn’t working.

Most resources about managing technology systems are written for big businesses. Advice geared to the nonprofit sector is difficult to find, especially advice that fits the scale of most nonprofits. This book addresses the technology issues commonly encountered by nonprofits. It includes five projects that, when completed, result in a comprehensive support system:

1. Conducting a technology inventory

2. Assessing and supporting staff

3. Assessing and buying technology

4. Protecting the organization from disasters and data loss

5. Managing your role as techie

Ready-to-use templates, worksheets, and sample policies help readers plan and organize systems. The guide also includes a special chapter on finding technology funding.

Many accidental techies face the challenge of influencing major organizational policies and procedures without real authority to do so. Board members and managers can use this book to understand and support their role. Ultimately, better managed technology leads to better services.

About the Authors

SUE BENNETT works at CompassPoint Nonprofit Services developing and teaching a wide variety of computer and Internet classes across California, in addition to providing internal technical support to CompassPoint staff.

TOM BATTIN has worked with nonprofits as both an information services manager and database consultant since 1980. He authored the “Guide to Automating Information and Referral Systems” published by CompuMentor in 1993, and is formerly director of information technology consulting at CompassPoint.

EUGENE CHAN is director of technology with the Community Technology Foundation of California. He is a cofounder and board member for the Innovation Funders Network/Technology Funders Collaborative.

MARY LESTER is executive director of the Alliance for Technology Access. She coauthored “Access Aware: Extending Your Reach to People with Disabilities,” a planning manual for community-based organizations.

JONATHAN STEIN works as an independent consultant with other members of Tech Underground providing reliable and affordable technical support to nonprofits throughout the Bay Area. He also teaches accidental techie workshops.    

About the Publisher

Fieldstone Alliance (formerly part of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation) is dedicated to providing practical, easy-to-use information for nonprofit organizations and community groups. More details:


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Rebecca Andrews
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