We’ve all been there. You jump on your website and something is broken and not working. You get an email from a colleague asking if your account has been hacked. You have a donor call and say they keep getting an error when they try to make a donation.
It’s all so… alarming.
Sometimes it’s a simple issue, like user error. But sometimes it’s more than you can handle yourself, and then the dreaded wave of anxiety starts crashing in.
So what should you do? We’ve put together some steps to help you deal with your urgent technology needs so if you find yourself in a pressing situation you can use these tools to address the issue and get on with your day (or week or month).
Easier said than done, right? But take a deep breath. Like right now. Emailing 20 people about the issue and hiding under your desk probably isn’t going to actually help the situation.
Many times these issues that seem catastrophic are pretty minor. Or maybe they are widespread, like a server outage, and many other people are experiencing similar issues. Regardless, taking a step back for a minute can help clear your mind and help you to start taking the right steps to actually fix the problem.
You know when you call the cable company because your internet isn’t working and the first thing they ask is if you restarted the modem. It’s like that.
Have you refreshed, restarted, cleared your cache, checked another browser, looked on another computer…? Have you walked through the steps again to see if you can recreate the issue? You really can’t fix the problem until you can figure out what the problem is.
For example, we recently ran into an issue where a donor kept getting an error when they filled out a donation form. Unfortunately, the form didn’t clarify what the issue was. After asking some questions and testing out the form ourselves, we finally figured out that the error was because the form was not accepting PO box addresses. Once we knew the problem, we could work on a solution.
Ask for help.
Most technology companies have someone you can contact to help with issues. Call or send a message to their customer service or help line right away. Sometimes it’s amazing what they are able to help you navigate in uncovering what the problem is or at least giving you a starting point of what you need to do.
An online search or forum can also be helpful. The internet is ablazing with helpful (and sometimes not so helpful) information that can help you solve your problem. We recommend doing a little research instead of just attempting the first “solution” you find though (you know, just in case that solution falls in the not so helpful category).
And if you are still stuck, you can always turn to an expert. Our team at Tackle would love to help you. In fact, we offer a Triage service to nonprofits for just for instances like this so don’t hesitate to reach out.
This step seems self explanatory, but it is probably the step that gets overlooked the most.
Whether it’s making a social media post about your website being down or calling your donor and helping them walk through your online form together, be sure you try and acknowledge the issue and communicate how you are making it better.
In the case of our donation form example above, we simply added a note on the form asking for “street addresses only” as a temporary fix until we could work out a way to accept PO boxes.
Okay, this step is more for before (or after?) the issue arises, but making sure you are prepared beforehand can definitely help curb some technology headaches later.
One of the biggest ways to prepare is to be sure to set up better security. Especially, in the case of getting hacked. We recently talked about the importance of multi-factor authentication and how it is a great starting place to providing better security.
Other things to do are to make sure you have a back-up system in place, set up SSL/TSL on your website, keep your technology apps and systems updated, and put a plan in place with your team if something urgent does happen.
We hope these steps help you navigate smoothly through your urgent technology issue. And remember, Tackle is always here to help if you need an extra hand, just send us a note and let’s see how we can help you today.