If you are managing tech at a nonprofit but that’s not the job for which you were hired and/or it’s not formally in your job description, you are likely an “accidental” techie.
Bagels & Bytes is a monthly meetup group for anyone interested in or working with technology in nonprofits. “Accidental” techies are very welcome there and find the meetups to be most helpful in learning their way around nonprofit tech. There are groups in three counties – Allegheny, Butler and Westmoreland. Learn more about B&B meetups here.
The Allegheny B&B group had a useful discussion at a recent meeting, in which the attendees answered the question “What advice would you give to a new ‘accidental’ techie working at a nonprofit?”
Here’s what the group said:
- You need an appreciation and tolerance for lifelong learning
- You have to like to solve mysteries or puzzles
- Find a good stream of tech information and absorb slowly – can’t learn everything at once – 2 hours a week of continued learning is probably sufficient
- Don’t feel like you have to know everything
- Don’t expect kudos – you won’t hear so much when things are going well, but when something breaks…
- IT is a people business
- Users can be very obstinate (machines are easy, users are less so)
- Users are the weakest link – don’t enable users who refuse to read instructions