Friday, November 30, 2012

Websites for Non-Profit Organizations - For Example, Safari Club International Chapters

The owner of Tepato Systems is a life member of the Safari Club International.  She is also a former board member of her local chapter, SCI Novi (Michigan).  Tepato Systems has been creating and supporting websites for SCI chapters around the United States since 2001.
Chapters of Safari Club International usually have similar organizations, goals and challenges.  As a volunteer organization, it is often difficult to promote a Chapter effectively.  A web site can be a strong tool in establishing a Chapter’s identity.  It is extremely valuable as a marketing tool and it can add credibility to your organization.  A presence on the web is a great opportunity to get the word out on the important work that your Chapter may be doing.

The Chapters supported by Tepato Systems have found their websites to be effective tools, both for communicating with their members and for promoting the Chapters to the general public.  Some of the most common uses of a Chapter website include:

  • Posting the dates and times of Chapter events, including links to the location for directions.
  • Publishing the forms used for membership and fundraiser donations.
  • Promote the Chapter’s various educational programs, including application forms for participants.
  • Publish a list of auction items and raffle items for the annual Chapter fundraiser.
  • Offer donors a free link from your website to their website.  This free advertising for the donor can sometimes be the motivator to encourage a 100% donation rather than a 30/70 or 50/50 split of auction proceeds.
  • Enable donors to contact the Chapter about potential donations, including unsolicited donations from previously unknown donors.
  • Automatic forwarding of website email to existing private email for Chapter departments or board members (to avoid using actual email addresses on the site and hopefully minimize spam).
The Board of Directors of a local Chapter often does not include anyone who has the skill set or free time to create and maintain a website. Tepato Systems can offer full support to any Chapter, with the help of a designated "coordinator" from the board who will serve as a point of contact and provide content on an ongoing basis.

If you'd like to create a website to serve your Chapter, or if you currently have a website but are unhappy with the support you're getting from your current vendor, please contact Tepato Systems.  We can develop a new site according to your specifications or modify an existing site.  Our prices start at $150 per page.

For long term support, we can provide maintenance and web hosting at very competitive prices. Our support packages are priced according to the amount of maintenance involved and the size of hosting space required. The packages also include the annual renewal of your domain name registration. Hosting is available without any maintenance or support, if desired (but hosting price is discounted with a maintenance agreement).

Windows 7 - More Tips

Here are a few more of the useful tips that I found in the PC World article "50 Essential Windows 7 Tips".

Hidden Wallpapers - go to c:\Windows\Globalization\MCT to find wallpaper images from all over the world that you can use to customize your desktop.  One of the things that I like about Windows 7 is that it's easy to set up a set of images from any location ("my pictures" for example) to be used as wallpaper and that rotate automatically several times a day.

Change the launch folder for Windows Explorer - it defaults to the Libraries folder which is not useful to me.  You can change this by right clicking on the Windows Explorer icon and using the Properties function.  Edit the Target field with a new folder location to change the default when it opens.  You can also "pin" a shortcut to the Windows Explorer icon, so that when you right click on it, the pinned item is available on a list similar to "recent items".

It is very easy to "pin" programs to the taskbar that you use frequently, so I find myself using those icons all the time rather than trying to return to my desktop icons.

You can also customize the image that is used as the background on your login screen.  In order to do this, you have to make a small change in your Windows Registry file, so I don't recommend trying this if you're a novice user.

Windows 7 and IE 9

I've now had my new laptop for about a month, and I'm getting used to Windows 7.  It is different than Windows Vista, but in most ways it has been better for me.

I like the popup images of my application windows that appear when I mouse over the apps on my task bar.  It's useful to move from one window to another without using alt+tab keys.  My Office 2010 applications also seem to work better in this version of Windows.  I think 2010 was a little too much for poor old Vista.

One thing that I am NOT liking with Win7 is Internet Explorer version 9.  For some reason, it has an issue with most of the links on most of the websites that I visit.  It will load a blank screen in many cases, not the page contents.  I've gotten in the habit of copying and pasting the shortcut/link into my address bar in order to get around it, but can we say "INCONVENIENT"!! 

I did a bit of research and there weren't a lot of good alternatives unless I want to go back to IE8.  The copy/paste thing is working for me for now.  Sometimes it also helps if I turn on "compatibility mode" but not always.  I've also tried turning on the developer window at the bottom, so that I can choose IE8 to load the page, and that helps too, but who wants that window to be at the bottom of their browser window all the time?  Not me...

Have you used IE9 yet?  Have you experienced this issue?  The information that I found online made it seem to be a known issue.  What are your thoughts on this?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Data Management with Microsoft Access

Tepato Systems has extensive experience with the design and development of databases in Microsoft Access for use by small businesses and non-profit organizations.

Microsoft Access allows for quick development of user-friendly data entry and reporting capabilities, so it's perfect for the use of small companies who can't afford to buy the larger applications or web services that may be available.  It's highly customizable, and Tepato can provide periodic enhancements as needed via a remote connection (or train a power user how to apply updates).

As an example, see the linked user guide for a database that is designed to keep track of donors and items that they've donated for an auction event.   It is currently in use by several non-profit groups.  It can be modified to suit your needs and Tepato can also load your initial data if desired.

Auction Database

Another Tepato database is designed for use by a child care or day care center.  All of the children are entered into the database, along with the days of the week that they attend.  Each child has a specific rate/price applied to them, based on a defined list of the various rates (daily, weekly, etc.).  The database can then  quickly and accurately generate bills for all of the families who use the facility.  This can eliminate issues with incorrect bills and save a lot of time for the person who is responsible for billing.

Child Care Billing Database

For help with managing data for your organization, please contact us.