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Non-Profits Making Transition to Cloud

There are approximately 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the United States, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS). Some of the key components of running a successful non-profit are being able to maintain accurate records, staying on top of the most up-to-date software, and keeping in touch with people within your network, said April Greene, editor for Idealist.org, a non-profit hub that helps to connect people, ideas and resources.

Non-profits making a move to the cloud

With the growing amount of files, photos, and other documents that need to be kept safe, many non-profit organizations are starting to jump aboard cloud technology, Greene said.

In its 2012 State of the NonProfit Cloud Report, NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) reported that 91 percent of 780 non-profits they surveyed were using some type of cloud-based software.

“Non profits are attracted to cloud because it’s cheaper than buying software,” Greene explained. “Plus it offers a whole lot more. A lot of non-profit organization have people working remotely and it makes their lives much easier,” said said, explaining that one of Idealist.org’s managers lives in San Francisco and because of cloud he can access important documents and data in a matter of seconds. “You don’t have to send attachments anymore,” she said. “Everything is central.”

One non-profit using cloud to its advantage is Legacy Counseling in Dallas, Texas, an organization that has 20 years of providing quality mental healthcare, substance abuse treatment, and special care housing services for people challenged with HIV and AIDS. Executive Director Melissa Grove said she found out just how valuable cloud storage was when her computer crashed earlier this year and everything on it was lost. But thankfully she had recently signed up cloud storage and was able to get everything back right away.

“Cloud probably saved me from having to redo about 500 or 600 hours of work,” she said. “We aren’t big enough for an IT staff, and technology keeps changing. Cloud is a wonderful solution and it’s very simple to use.”

Grove said that she signed up for cloud storage about a year ago and it has made her job–and her life–so much easier. “I was able to get rid of all the hard drives and I stopped storing things at home for safety. We now have thousands of photos from events, grant documents, a donor list, and other files right at our fingertips. They are safe and easily accessible for all of our employees.”

 

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My Dog Ate My Photos; Safe Keeping for Your Pics

Protect Your Digital Photos this Holiday SeasonAngela Wijesinghe, Marketing Specialist for Professional Photographers of America has heard some unbelievable stories about how photographers have lost their digital photos. Just this year, she says, a professional wedding photographer (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons) left the flash drive with all the photos of the ceremony on his kitchen counter, only to have his dog eat it when he went out to the store.

“We hear about things like this happening all the time,” said Wijesinghe. The organization she works for, Professional Photographers of America, is a non-profit organization that provides education, resources, and industry standards of excellence to photographers. According to Wijesinghe, digital photos are taking over the industry. Not many photographers, amateur or professional, are using film anymore. So the days of looking through old photo albums are passing us by. Now it’s an age of looking over slideshows on a computer.

“Digital cameras are just a lot more convenient for people to use,” she said. “They allow you to manipulate images easier, they can be stored easily, and they’re not overly difficult to work.”

One of the risks of using digital cameras and photos, however, is that your work can be lost in mere seconds if not secured properly, she explained.

“Digital image data loss is huge,” said Wijesinghe. Anything can happen. A storm can wipe out your hard drive. A house fire can take your computer. Freak accidents happen. Having multiple options of backup is the smartest thing to do.”

So how can the everyday photographer make sure to protect his or her wedding photos, baby pictures, and other memories captured digitally?

As Wijesinghe said, your best option for keeping your photos safe is to use several of methods, including cloud; external hard drives; flash drives; and sites like Flikr, Facebook, Shutterfly, and Snapfish. You may also consider having physical prints made, rather than just relying on the digital world.

Make sure to keep all of your devices in safe places, and, if possible, in different locations from one another, she said. That way if there’s a fire, flood, or some other unforeseen circumstances, you should still have some of them in one piece. And lastly, keep them out of the reach of babies, dogs, or other pets; you don’t want them to become a quick meal.

 

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