technology - churches, missionaries,
organizations on web site design and
computer technology. Whether you are a designer for a church web site, handling
technology in a non-profit org, or are looking for tools to help your youth
group put up a web page and mailing list, this site is for you.
Note, if after reading this, if you have any questions at
all on how to pick the right technology for your non-profit,
feel free to email me for free advice.
Cut to the quick: If you are looking for discounts on dell computers,
ms office and other software discounts for non-profits, go
EBates- you can save an additional 3% on purchases at Dell by
going first through this affiliate program.
This web page is dedicated to help community organizations with limited resources,
both financial and employee, to utilize computer technology in their organization
affordably and efficiently. The goal of this web site is to introduce existing
off the shelf technologies and point people towards affordable tools that they
can use to efficiently achieve organization goals, whether it be putting up an
article-based web page, sending out group emails, or organizing events.
Many non-profit organizations can have a hard time with regards to web site design
and computer technologies. Firstly, most non-profits already are very taxed in
their budgets. Many groups have to use outdated hardware and software. Secondly,
many times there isn't a formally trained staff member experienced in internet
or computer technology. Instead, a staff member who has interest is given the
responsibility of computer product procurement and web site hosting and design.
Even worse, high-priced consultants with limited experience may prey on non-profits
- non-profits typically won't understand the computer lingo and may not know
about other options where they can purchase equipment at a discount or existing
web services (like yahoogroups.com and msngroups.com) that can help their organization.
The result of this is the inefficient utilization of both time and money in the
The main sections of this web page are following:
1. Computer Equipment List - Primer on the things you need (computer equipment,
software, DSL, web site hosting).
2. Where to Find Computer Equipment - Finding affordable computer equipment
3. Web Site Design - Putting up a web page (hosting, design, and marketing).
4. Web Technology List - Email lists, online calendars, and other free (or
affordable) services available online.
What you need:
A computer provides for you internet, word processing, financial planning, and
other functionality. For most word processing and office related functionality,
if you are buying a new computer, try to get a system with the following specs:
256 mb ram
40 gigabyte harddrive
CD-Rom (any CD-rom or DVD-rom)
Ethernet card (required) and 56k modem (optional)
15 inch LCD or 17 inch brand name flat screen monitor.
The cost of this system all together should never run over $1000 including tax.
I'm currently using a 700 mhz laptop with 256 ram and 10 gb hard drive. My hard
drive is running out of space, but 700 mhz and 256 ram is a-ok for now. If you
have anything less than the following specs, I would recommend you consider buying
a new computer.
Pentium 450 mhz
10 gigabyte harddrive
Buy a laser printer for regular print jobs. Do not buy very cheap (under 50)
ink-jet printers. They have inefficient cartridges, so it will cost you more
in the long run to replace the ink. If you are using an ink-jet for your regular
printing, you need to go out and buy a laser printer right now! :P Ink-jet printers
cost a lot over time because of the need to replace the ink cartridges. A laser
printer prints out quickly and toner is cheap compared to ink cartridges.
I would recommend buying an HP, Lexmark, or Brother laser printer. I am currently
using a Brother HL-1240 laser printer and it works fine.
Affordable computer equipment - PCs, printers, network equipment
Too often, churches or missionaries may buy computer equipment from the local
computer store (Circuit City, Office Max, mom and pop shop). The problem is that
the prices available from these groups are typically a bit higher than you need
If you are involved in purchasing equipment for your organization, or are the
in-house computer person and you really don't know that much about computers,
I would advise you to make a short description of what you need, find a friend
in your church that knows about computers and take 20 minutes to go over the
list and see what they think.
The best deals available you can probably find on one of the following sites: Tech Bargains or Fat
Wallet. These two sites provide lists of deals online from coupons to discounts.
Honestly, you can find great deals consistently from www.dell.com From Dell,
you can get a name brand solution at an affordable price. A lot of times they
have deals where you can get a very good computer for under $800. From a recent
deal, I was able to get priced a Pentium-4 2.0 gHz, 256 ram, 40 gb hard drive,
MS Office, Windows XP, and a 15 inch LCD (yes, an LCD!) shipped for $724 dollars.
Really, don't buy a computer through a costly small computer consultant firm.
They cost a lot! Tell them to compare their price with what you can get from
Dell. This will force them to make their prices more reasonable. If it is perhaps
only 5 or 10% more, that's ok. But if its more than 20% over Dell's price, you
may want to consider Dell or find another company. If you are making a large
multiple computer and printer purchase, you may also want to contact Dell or
a large company (IBM or HP) to see if they can provide a custom solution for
I would recommend also not getting the 3-year warranty / care package if you
know enough about how to fix your computer. If you aren't comfortable with fixing
your computer / reinstalling the operating system, then maybe get a warranty.
An alternative is some friend of your organization should be able to fix your
computer for free.
Recommended Suppliers: Dell - best deal for computers Buy.com - consistently lower prices on various
computer equipment. Check to see the prices consultants quote you compared to
To get a presence on the internet you need a company to do web hosting. Competitive
rates for simple web hosting (getting your own www.company.com name and the hard
drive space to host your site) can cost around 10 dollars a month. Any company
which charges over $25/month for its basic plan is too much.
This is a tough one. There is an incredible varying amount of quality between
different web site design companies - some consultant firms that do web sites
can charge an exorbitant amount of money to design a site. Some hosting companies
may offer pre-designed templates.
Furthermore, a problem in most web sites is that the pages are not optimized
for high search engine rankings. The biggest problems usually entail either use
of frames or a heavy splash page. Frames are really bad for search engines and
a heavy, graphic-only front page is not good either.
I would recommend getting a volunteer team of good programmers (maybe students
in your college group or maybe members of your club) and having them do your
There are many web services available to help you maintain email mailing
lists, prayer lists, organize events, college group tabling, calendars
and more. The
best services I've seen are from Yahoo and MSN:
Both sites allow you to set up groups where members can sign up and be
on a discussion email list whicheveryone can contribute to. This technology
is good for missionaries
that want to send prayer updates, fellowships that want to send annoucements,
and college groups that are tabling on campus. There are different options
such as only moderator can send email, members need to be approved,
updates for event reminding (great for tabling!) and uploading documents.
Related Sites: Yahoo Groups MSN Groups
Free advice on management of web acceleration, search engine optimization,
and recommendation of tools for churches and missionaries.
Copyright September 2002 - Edward S. Tsai -
All rights reserved.
Los Angeles, CA 90034 (Los Angeles Search Engine Optimization, Torrance,
Westwood, Santa Monica)
Edward S. Tsai makes no claims about and is not responsible for
the accuracy, appropriateness, or effectiveness of the advice given and
products and services listed in this site. All information on this site
is provided as-is with no guarantees. All trademarks are property of their