Did you know the Tackle team is spread out across the country? That means we do a lot of remote work, so we are basically experts at working from home.

I personally have been working from home in various roles now for over eight years, and I absolutely love it. In fact, my husband also works from home so we are like the ultimate work-from-home power couple. It took a little bit of trial and error to figure out how to productively do this, especially adding a couple kids to the mix, but I truly think it’s a great option that employers should genuinely explore (but more on that in another post).

If you find yourself new to the work from home club or struggling to get your work done at home, I thought I would share some tips on how to be as productive as possible while working from home.

Have a designated work space

Make a desk space in your house, whether it’s a small table tucked in a corner of your living room or an actual office in your basement, make sure you have a space that is designated to get stuff done.

And no, your bed doesn’t count.

I would probably also take it one step further and say to designate this space ONLY for work. When you know your desk is set aside for working time instead of say, watching movies or posting on social media, you will less likely find yourself doing those things in this space during working hours. Besides, I think only using this space for work helps with tax write offs, although I am no tax expert.

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Conferences are a great way to immerse yourself in new ideas, hear top notch speakers, and network. There are many events that focus on nonprofit technology and below we put together a list of some great conferences that are upcoming for 2020, and one that is just a couple weeks away (good news–tickets are still available!).

Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization (NIO) Summit

September 24-25, 2019 – Denver, CO

Presented by NextAfter, the NIO Summit focuses on online fundraising strategies that promotes marketing innovation to help you achieve better results with your fundraising efforts. Speakers include Ross Simmonds, Founder at Hustle & Grind, Tim Kachuriak, Chief Innovation & Optimization Officer at NextAfter, and Amy Harrison from Write With Influence. Some discussion topics are email marketing, copywriting, analytics, social media marketing, marketing automation, and testing and optimization.

Nonprofit Technology Conference (20NTC)

March 24-26, 2020 – Baltimore, MD

With a huge focus on using technology to spark change, “the 2020 Nonprofit Technology Conference is designed to help you reinvigorate your work and bring that renewed passion back to your community.” The keynote speaker is Erricka Bridgeford Director of Training, Community Mediation Maryland Co-Founder, Baltimore Ceasefire 365 who has some insights you won’t want to miss. Hosted by NTEN, some topics covered are technology management, operations, and digital communications and marketing.

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With end-of-year planning in full swing, don’t forget to add data cleaning to your checklist.

You want your technology systems to be in their best shape before your “busy” season begins, so making sure you start putting some processes into play now by practicing good data hygiene so you can guarantee your campaign will run as smoothly as possible.

Jeff Miller, our in-house data management guru, gives three recommendations for maintaining good data hygiene that you can start doing today.

1) Keep addresses up-to-date and in a consistent format.

Make use of address standardization and validation services offered as part of your CRM or online fundraising system, including CASS certification and NCOA address updates.

Consider adding a front-end address validator, like SmartyStreets, to donation forms and other web forms where addresses are collected.

2) Stop ALL bad data at the source.

It’s not just bad/incomplete addresses that can be stopped at the source. Consider all the sources of incoming data—web forms, data entry forms, system integrations, import/exports—and make sure that they’re consistent with each other and capturing the information that’s really needed.

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As someone working in a technical role at your organization, it can sometimes feel like you are a foreigner in your own country. With all the different languages, processes, and acronyms, it can quickly get confusing to someone not familiar with your world.

At Tackle, we get it. We speak “tech” every day to people who don’t live and breathe this stuff like we do. In fact, many times organizations hire us to help with this specific issue and to help bridge the gap between the tech staff and the non-tech staff.

So we put together a few tips we’ve learned along the way that we hope you find useful when navigating how to better work with non-tech staff and make it a pleasant experience for everyone.

Tip #1

Avoid the trap of assuming that everyone has a base-level understanding of what you’re talking about. It pays to set the stage, even adding an extra few words of explanation. Also, giving room for people to ask questions, by slowing down and pausing or just asking for confirmation that people are following.

Tip #2

Avoid acronyms and jargon. Try to always say the full term. It can also be helpful at the start of a meeting, to spend a few minutes defining terms/systems so everyone is on the same page.

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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).

Don’t panic.

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.

Troubleshoot.

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.

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There is a good chance you’ve utilized multi-factor authentication recently. When you sign into a new account and have to receive something like a code via text message to proceed. While it might seem like this extra step is an inconvenience, multi-factor authentication might actually protect you from some serious security inconveniences down the road.

Multi-factor authentication is becoming the industry norm these days, and for good reason. Our team weighs in on why we always recommend this to our clients on all of the digital systems they use.

Significantly increases security.

Generally, when you, or someone, want to sign in to your account your username and password are needed. When you add multi-factor authentication, another special code is required to be able to sign in. This code is usually sent via text message or accessed through an authentication app like Google Authenticator, and needs to be used immediately as it will quickly time out.

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