I’m especially interested in mailing list managers, accounting/book-keeping software, and contact/membership databases. None of that sounds very exciting compared to our core mission (bringing artists and scientists together to do cool stuff!) but without good tools for these tasks we’re spending a lot of time working around inefficient systems and, what’s worse, we lose opportunities to build on our hard work.
Here’s the common threads of what I’m looking for in all these systems:
- Preferably hosted (since Subtle Tech involves several different people all working in different locations, at various odd hours and on at least 3 different operating systems)
- Relatively easy to use – no $5,000 training courses just to get up to speed, but it’s OK if it requires a small amount of technical know-how or little learning (say, 1-2 days max)
- Free or cheap (preferably no more than $100-$200/year) , at least while we’re small (that is, it’s OK to have paid upgrades for thing like more users – if we have 10 full-time staff who need access to the mailing list manager, then we probably have the cash to spend on an upgrade)
- Import from standard file formats
- Easy export to standard file formats for back-ups and to keep us flexible for the future
- Customizable for the needs of a small organization (as a tiny not-for-profit with little cash to spend, we can safely assume that most companies aren’t optimizing their products for us)
As I learn about the best options in the coming weeks, I’ll blog about what I find out.
The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011