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News & Events Blog

Navigating Donation Systems: CanadaHelps.Org or Your Own

We help a lot of charities set up online donation systems.  A common question is “should we use CanadaHelps.org or set up our own donation system?”.  It's a good question.  Let's take a basic look at some of the options.

Finding the Root Cause

Our website clients often come to us looking for a solution to a problem. However, a lot of the time this isn't what they say when they walk in the door. A lot of the time, we're told, "we'd like to have a forum on the website", or "we'd like social media links on all of our pages", or "we've decided that we want [website feature]". Although it's easy to go ahead and provide these solutions, our job as consultants is not just to do technical work but also to try and understand our clients' real needs.

Mobile Data Collection

The growth of mobile phones and tablet devices has opened the doors to a wide range of apps and innovative ideas. From decibel meters to task lists, to games like Angry Birds; pick an idea and there is likely an app for that.

The widespread availability of mobile devices is also having a huge impact on the basic business activities such as data collection. While it doesn't bring to mind buzz words like "social" and "gamification", data collection is a core need and can actually be quite interesting.

A Graphic Example of the Risks of A Proprietary CMS (Content Management System)

A couple of weeks ago, we got a call at 4pm.  Our potential client had heard via e-mail at 3:15pm that their site was getting shut down by Monday and they should make alternative arrangements.  It's a proprietary CMS (Content Management System) - no alternatives.  Luckily, they had control of their own domain so we could get DNS moved to us.  This was Friday.  

Saturday morning we went to see what we could move.  We hoped to grab a fixed copy of their site at the very least.  Their site was already gone.  It appears their Provider had gone under.

Access Your Computer From Anywhere

You are working on a report or spreadsheet and put it on a USB stick to take home. Later on, you open up the file only to realize that there was one other file you needed as well, but forgot to put it on the stick before you left the office.

Carrying files around on portable storage devices is simple to do, but opens up some thorny issues.

What if the stick is left somewhere, or what if the right files aren’t on it? If important work gets done on a stick, how does it get backed up, or shared with other people who want access to the latest version of a document?

PeaceWorks Online Backup

The Bad and The Ugly

Okay folks – I admit it – I too have had one of those days.  You know the kind – you either have lived it or you dread it.

I'm at work for the morning madly getting ready for a one week vacation visiting family last Christmas.  My son calls me at work and says he has a paper due before we leave, but the printer is making a funny noise.  After a quick troubleshoot, I tell him to reboot the computer which he is unable to do because he gets some sort of blue screen of death.  I tell him to leave it until I get home.  

Website Maintenance

For most people, this topic is a lot like cleaning leaves out of the gutter, wiping down the inside of kitchen cupboards, and checking your windshield wiper fluid and tire pressures.

Though the car references are pretty good analogies for today's topic (and reminds me to check my car).

My temptation today is to get on my soapbox, pull out a bible, and have a good ol'fashioned maintenance revival meeting.  Although I don't think there has ever been one.  There should be.

The Weakest Link: Password Security

OK folks.  Let's admit that the biggest security hole in the typical computer system is you.  That's because most people have easy to guess passwords, and use the same one across multiple accounts.  Combine this with the fact that it is fairly easy to track where people go, and hackers that get into one of your accounts can often figure out where the others are, and get into those too.  Some of the most common passwords around are 'password', 'abc123' and whatever the default for the account was.  (In fact, 1.1% of all passwords are either '12345' or '123456'.)

Becoming a Certified B Corporation

As you may know, PeaceWorks is the first B Corporation in the K-W region (for what it matters, it is also one of the first B Corps in Canada…).  Because of this, we have been featured in a number of newspapers in the area and Nolan Andres, CEO of PeaceWorks, has been invited to speak at a number of events.

Green-powered Hosting

Many organizations are taking steps to reduce the environmental impact of their operations, with an eye towards increasing their sustainability.

Data centres and servers have been highlighted as areas where substantial energy is consumed, and is set to rise in coming years if internet growth continues at current rates.  The majority of this energy does not come from renewable sources, and so it contributes to problems such as global climate change.

At PeaceWorks, we know how to set up your organization with technology that drives your mission. Together, we define a technology vision for your organization and recommend the best ways to support that vision.

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We provide effective and affordable migrations, installations and upgrades that better manage your infrastructure. We focus on solutions that meet your needs, not solutions that are unnecessary or outside of your budget.

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We will design and create a new or enhanced on-line presence. We work with you through the entire process to ensure you get exactly what you need for the present, as well as the future. We build our websites with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and accessibility practices, customizing as required.

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We collaborate with you to create solutions that turn ideas and data into information that you can use, analyze and distribute.  We build the technology solutions that equip you to better engage and manage your staff, your clients, your volunteers, and your donors.  We simplify data collection, intelligence and management.

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PeaceWorks provides the management and sale of hardware and software solutions. We always discuss your needs and provide you with the most preferable options.

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About PeaceWorks

PeaceWorks provides first-rate technology solutions that enable organizations to achieve their mission with increased ease and efficiency. We focus on genuine client-focused relationships, connecting client needs with sustainable and reliable technology solutions.
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Waterloo, Ontario
Canada
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Phone: 519.725.7875
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