Man, the more I look into this stuff, the more it seems like whimpering in a ball in the closet and sucking my thumb is probably a rational response.

How does someone who doesn't know any of this tech stuff get up and going? I don't have time for a whole new education, but even if I did, all the training I've looked at involves buying a bunch of books or going to some seminar or some kind of thing. I look at tutorials, and they're already over my head right at the start.

Are there tech-heads of various kinds that do volunteer work for non-profits? I feel like telling all my local judges to keep their eyes open for a developer facing some kind of misdemeanor, and put him on community service with me, but unwilling assistance isn't likely to be very helpful.

There are free doctors, and lawyers, and soup kitchens and homeless shelters and dial-a-ride and home care for poor old grannies. I don't care what anyone says....technical web/network/computer services are not a luxury anymore. Are there any non-profit tech folks (besides tech-soup...they don't have hands-on help) functioning in the world yet?

Just wondering. It's a very scary world when you're techno-ignorant.

Not sure if this is the right forum for this, but....

I used to do a lot of volunteer work for non-profits but I had to stop. Time and time again the organization would give the usual "We're so HAPPY you found us!" and then proceed to ignore everything I did. This might sound strange, but I think since I was volunteering the organizations came to the conclusion that I must not know what I'm doing (I have about 5-6 years of experience in IT). Usually I was used as fill-in until they found a "real" tech person. Then, after stringing me along, they stopped returning my phone calls and started paying someone. This happened over a dozen times. Volunteering became a source of ego-deflation (I thought the opposite would happen).

Free tech work will be very hard to find. In my area there's an organization that works with non-profits on technical matters, but it's anything but free (organizations usually have to raise money for their services). Probably the best place to look for free work is with students who want to bulk up their professional portfolios.

Can you be more specific on what you're looking for?

HA! Are you sure you're not a lawyer?? :cheesy:

I presume that you meant that they would ignore your guidance and suggestions. We get the same kind of response from clients who come in here with some desperate crisis we can help them with, but when we suggest a particular approach, we start to hear about all the other legal advice they've gotten ... from their neighbor, their sister-in-law, the guy at 7/11 ... you get the idea. We do this for free, and I agree with your assessment that those who give out of a sense of mission or principle are often suspected of incompetence. It would be insulting, except that we don't exactly have a culture that rewards altruism, so I suppose it's little wonder people think we're saps. I'm not sure if I'm relieved or sad to hear that we're not the only ones getting that.

What I was looking for was some guidance or assistance with our website and databasing. My site is I have it hosted with a Moveable Type platform, but I also have Typo3 installed and a bunch of other stuff from my hosting service, and I don't really know what to use or how to use it. I need to use the site for more than just an online brochure. I was hoping to set mine up with all the blahblah info on the front page, then links to forms for submitting requests for help, forms for local lawyers to sign up to do pro bono work, forms for requesting information or referrals, and perhaps a community forum similar to this one, but way smaller. And YEAH, a way to make DONATIONS! So obviously, I want to build a back-end database for all that input. With all the pre-built modules and templates and tricks out there, it seems like something I ought to be able to do, because I am no retard, but all the guidance presumes a level of knowledge I do not have, and I really am feeling quite fearful about the whole thing.

That said, I am very sorry to hear that your good intentions were abused. It really SHOULD have fed your spirit, if not your ego. We worship our volunteers around here, even the ones who don't know how to do anything useful and mostly just stand around needing someone to stop what they're doing and come up with work for them. That they are HERE AT ALL is sometimes the most encouraging thing in a whole day. Well, except for the clients who come in and cooperate and say THANK YOU.

I forgot to mention that when I took this job (three months ago) getting the technology set up around here was a big priority for me, because we've got all this hardware and software that no one knows how to use, and a network that is so dysfunctional that no one even uses it if there's any way to avoid it. I tried to set up a circuit rider for IT support with some other area non-profits. So now we have some local guys who come in and do hardware stuff and try to tinker the network into submission. I think it's hopeless, because there's a hostile IT guy at headquarters and I think we'll always be at his mercy, no matter who we call in locally. So the web solution is really my idea for avoiding the built-in, pre-existing tech dysfunction altogether.

I'm suppose to do 15 hours of non-profit work for the high school scholars program. I haven't found anything yet, but if your interested let me know.

Well, then. Perhaps we can be useful to each other. We are a genuine 501(c)(3) non-profit with a mission of serving the poor and indigent in getting access to justice, so as long as your school doesn't have some kind of requirement that you do your hours locally, I'm sure we would satisfy any kind of community service requirement. Even if it does have that requirement, maybe you could get some kind of exception for working in the "virtual" community.

This is getting exciting. I got another offer from a pro in England. Maybe he could mentor you in working on the project and this could end up being a really useful joint project at various levels!

Do write back and let me know what you can do, and let's schmooze!

Oh yeah, I forgot to say ... any kid who quotes Yeats in this day and age must have something special going on... ;-)

That's great. I'll contact the honor society tonight(but wont get a reply till tommorow) and see what they say. Either way I'm interested in helping out. I believe it's an opportunity you can't pass up, and will probably do this regardless of what they say. If you like, you can give me a PM and I'll send you my email so that you can contact me and find out areas I'm good in and that kind of stuff.


Volunteer... sure thats what forums and chat rooms are for...(kinda) but you have to be specific most of the times and you get answers for sure. Fulltime volunteers might be hard to find.

Depending on your location, there may be a Computer Users Group in your area. If so, that might be a good resource to check out. Those groups are often involved in some sort of volunteer work or another, and even if they can't help you directly they can probably at least give you some leads.

hi well me too i like to do things to help others --volunteer work as you call it :rolleyes: :p :idea: .