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The Small NonProfit Office: Buying Basics

I’ve updated my “10 Buying Basics” tips to account for a few changes in the tech world over the past year.
(Note: made a few more tweaks to keep this current on May 1, 2014.)

For fun, I also created a board over at with visual links to many of these resources. What do you think? What rules or guidelines do you use?

1. Get fast Internet: cable (Docsis 3.0 modem), business class Ethernet, or DSL. Use gigabit switches & Cat 5e or 6 cables.

2. Secure your 802.11ac WiFi router w/WPA2 & OpenDNS. Change default password; use “guest” network.

3. Standardize & replace equipment regularly. Replace desktops every 5 years, laptops every 3, tablets & smartphones every 2.

4. Buy current tech. e.g., i5/7 processors; monitors w/HD resolution w/Displayport, webcam & speakers; SSD drives. Don’t pay retail!

5. Update software. Windows: 7 or 8 Pro (touch!); Macs OS 10.9. Update your OS, applications, drivers & firmware.

6. Stay secure. Require logins; use anti-virus & firewalls. Use 2-step authentication & LastPass. Browse w/Chrome. Backup your data off-site.

7. Collaborate: email & calendar sharing w/Google Apps for Nonprofits, files w/Google Drive, meet w/Google+ Hangouts. (Or, Office365.)

8. Consider to manage your website w/free hosting @ & register your own domain name there ($10/year).

9. Print efficiently. Use networked, low-cost-per-page printers or multi-purpose copiers.

10. Consider to track & engage constituents. Share your work w/Twitter, Google+ & a Facebook Page.

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