Categories
Access and inclusion British Columbia Prince George Uncategorized

Could AI be the future of Non-Profit boards?

Virtual meetings became popular, as meetings between groups of individuals that support regional and provincial visions, further benefiting communities of people who faced the barrier of travel to attend meetings that included local. Most notably with diverse boards managing Non-Profit aims. Within my local community, called a hub city and gateway to and from Northern BC, we host many diverse groups. We know remoteness here. Many communities establish an Advisory Committee for Accessibility like this one in my home community to identify seasonal and infrastructure barriers. I don’t know if that’s a population initiative for every diverse size of the community. For those that have that civic committee, it was recently changed beyond British Columbia to add the title of ‘Inclusion’, to identify barriers to inclusion within the community. The first virtual meeting I had was via telephone connecting representatives in the Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, 2 communities in Northern BC, and Prince George facilitating via me. We did that before 2010, leading to the future in more than my local MS community, as some meetings allowed directors to call in nationally after that trial. I had led a local group of MS-afflicted persons from 2005 to 2022.

Through that group, which is not a real non-profit group registered within the province or any political boundary, I knew of an international support community for this affliction. That international community influenced my personal MS primary education at WebMD in a much longer story of me. That wasn’t just for non-profits with diverse guiding boards, I found. The business of a province or nation has local and remote offices, diverse stakeholders, and multiple offices across vast tracts of land—nations across borders and oceans. They are all controlled by boards. I began in 2005 to facilitate a group for the local Multiple Sclerosis community. We connected it to the city, province and nation, via phone, face-to-face meetings and email so limited. We then needed to connect to move productive non-profits forward shaping communities. Fast forward, and thanks to the MS groups of Northern BC inspiring MS Canada to support from those early versions, a Zoom connection connecting remote diverse groups formed as Multiple Sclerosis-afflicted persons often volunteer their time to assist powerful groups. It was strengthening the need for remote communications, due mostly to the virus fear beyond the remoteness of British Columbia, including Northern. It was the Medical Community which included Multiple Sclerosis experienced persons in the mix of ‘British Columbians with medical experience‘ with universities partnering with BC Health who introduced ‘Telehealth’ throughout BC’s Northern Communities, now Digital Health in Canadian Health Authorities that identified the way to overcome remoteness beginning with next-door neighbours.

They all drive communication changes. Large and small businesses had the same needs for communities and regions as the non-profits. A few years before the Pandemic that brought COVID-19 and those years forcing changes to all live meetings, the software suddenly had diverse options other than Microsoft Teams, Skype, AOL, Facebook Messenger, or another App. Zoom became popular. Free, seamless international communication. Face to face, virtually. Artificial intelligence for translation got way better and was also free. It was available just before that pandemic and now all levels from Non-Profits to big businesses are struggling to bring employees back to the office full-time, now that 2023 brought full Endemic action to the country.

The Artificial Intelligence addition to Zoom paid accounts, a recent addition I’ve not tried yet, looks innocent enough. Chats I cannot type fast enough to ask a presenter a question when the subject comes up. I might master when asked a question I have to type out. Even some answers typed out don’t come fast to keep up with the speaking without it. As the presenter, it generates notes on what to say, cue card style. Meh simply amplified brainless activity. Will it take away from creativity? I guess we’ll have the chance to try it. Presently, I’m trying to create meetings hybrid in the future. I am president of one meeting group for a non-profit that has never gone ‘remote’, and another civic group, not a non-profit, that has been hybrid since the beginning of the pandemic. I might become a professional board member in some predictable future, getting paid to visualize a path for a company that isn’t a Non-Profit. You could be, too. As the person signing my cheques, or perhaps I’ll sign yours in the future.

A picture of a board meeting within a room, hybrid style with four persons in the room, one remote attendee. Hybrid can have multiple remote attendees and only one person in a board room hosting as well. They are not necessarily just to manage Non-Profts.
Categories
British Columbia Canada Nonprofits of BC Website improvements

WordPress user types: Patron

What is a ‘Patron’? I asked Google after finding it as a ‘user type’ on a website I manage. I have this website and another on WordPress. They do not come cheap. One is on ‘Shared’ communication servers. I reference this, but it might not display on Google Chrome browsers. Mine’s on a private host’s ‘shared’ website server. Both allow WordPress to be installed on the domain, the website you’re viewing right now or over here where the only actual difference to you, the viewer, is that this one is HTTPS. It’s privately funded, but buy me a coffee here and I’ll thank you just the same! I’d consider you a Patron for sure! Why is this important for everyone, HTTPS? Do you see a warning before you view this other very trustable website? Or is even this one just as trustworthy? They’re way more credible than mine and get way more views per day! HTTPS assures you safety amid a clutter of websites offering troubles. When they become HTTPS, I am sure those views will increase. That said, just because it displays HTTPS, know safety by experiencing past website visits. Mine should improve with frequent posting, and creditable linking verifying.

Relax. You’re on an HTTPS website!

WordPress allows different user types separating them from casual browsers who do not ‘subscribe’ to new posts publicized. That, coincidently, is another ‘Registered User’ alongside a Patron user. A subscriber gets added to Mailchimp and other lists connected to our website alongside the other registered users so diverse, and others as it shares to Social Media. The website appreciates all who register inclusively; you support the website’s authors (Contributors, another user type) with your views and shares! The Patron is a user who has had a financial long-term impact on the organization, i.e., what the organization calls a ‘valued, esteemed contact’. Imho, I would consider them financial benefactors for the entity that the organization becomes because of the coin. It helps the organization amid the funds so appreciated by government gaming sources so dearly loved. Know your limit and play within it, but thank you BC for your donations through those entertaining addictive stations. If you lose control, there is help! Please don’t validate your addiction and try claiming it on your taxes as a creditable donation. Speaking of donations, if Non-Profits were to host HTPPS Websites, the visitors would be more likely to become a patron even anonymously via an online 50-50 chance. See how Gaming helps BC Nonprofits directly? Nonprofits almost always have a running 50-50 draw and since 2019, those have been online and secure. Some by email or offsite on a secure website (HTTPS) in the organization’s name costing a percentage!

Categories
Website improvements

Website Security

A leading URL provides website security. HTTP or HTTPS? There is way more to it, but it begins with this. If a newer browser encounters a website without an SSL certificate (HTTP), a warning may be given to the website visitor who came looking for information, perhaps to sign up for services, enter volunteer hours or several other reasons making your work worthy. Perhaps you sell fine wares or art pieces as diverse as you. It often prevents them ‘for their safety’ from entering your domain. For shame. It does not fit with your inclusive atmosphere. The websites many non-profits use are provided via a ‘shared web server’ their telecommunications companies host, for example, Shaw and Telus (Telus site might not display in Google Chrome browsers) shared hosting servers. Even some startup businesses save the cost of a full domain, perhaps for a blog. This is included in their communication packages, including phone and email. It does not include a free SSL certificate.

Unsecured-warning-website-security
This will come up with newer browsers on HTTP websites, and screenshots taken with a recently updated Firefox browser. When the site becomes HTTPS, it will automatically redirect any links pointing to the HTTP version.

On my website privately owned and paid from a server (a shared domain too), the SSL Certificates are insisted upon. SSL = Secure Sockets Layer. An ‘unsecured’ website brings excess junk traffic, bogging and slowing down as it attacks the root server and all on the shared domain. You have to ask for it, but it’s provided hassle-free from an added cost. Running without it can add those costs tenfold in bandwidth overloads hourly. A website I manage is on the Telus Shared hosting service as an HTTP now (screenshot above). This is a report for our board meeting as I type this post. I am working on upgrading the website to HTTPS and providing a means to track Volunteer Hours on that website. Our board members (all board members leading BC Provincially Registered Volunteer organizations) need to input Volunteer hours. Any time ‘working’ towards the volunteer organisation’s forward movement in projects, except for board meetings, is ‘Volunteer Work’ trackable.

Where do we find those SSL certificates? What type is needed? How much does one cost? So, in answer to the first question, we turn to our favourite search engine. I use Google. Meh, don’t hate me.  In a conversation with TELUS sales, I was told ‘No, it is not provided. Go anywhere, IE Godaddy HostMonster and others, and find the most affordable one. Use the Installer found on the Server. Yes, there is installation support.’ I assume the answer from Shaw would be the same if they don’t provide it. SSL Type search informed me we need a single domain server, with prices starting at $5.99 for a 5-year plan. I could use a ‘Wildcard’ SSL but that cost likely is prohibitive for a nonprofit to sustain. Renewal cost after perhaps 5 years is about a buck higher most of the time, on the one I chose anyway, which I assume is fixed for further renewals. I found this one at https://www.namecheap.com/security/ssl-certificates/single-domain/. The prices listed are on a long-term rate, a lump sum of 12 (* number of months in years from 1 to 5) months paid in one large amount) is what they ask for. A website owner can choose a maximum of 5 years or as short of a year as most servers. If you were to build a website on that server, the cost of space usually includes the certificate as mentioned above in the same increments. Renewing at the same server for whatever reason is slightly more expensive as something servers do as a sales gimmick focused on new clients but losing the renewals to other servers where the expensive domain fits but the customer keeps the less expensive server space perhaps with a slightly altered ‘.com’ or ‘.ca’ or ‘.info’ even designation.

For Non Profits of Canada, this can be a hindrance to install the certificate on a domain they own with ‘http’. It’s an expensive upgrade that remains the length of the time their websites are on that server so generously offered but not supplying a certificate. Perhaps we should all look at grants together. A google search for Non-Profit Grants in Canada brought this link-up focused on website improvements. It also brought this one to filter through at our government’s available grants website; it’s focused on British Columbia. Once it is installed, a ‘plugin’ to the WordPress Website will be installed for Volunteer Hrs. That’s a service I’m looking into used by another nonprofit I connect to, ‘Trackitforward’ which has prices starting at $12 a month paid annually, $144. Volunteer Hrs? Whazzup with that? Apparently, when a registered Non-Profit receives funds from the Province of British Columbia and others, they love seeing the results of the support. Stakeholders, including website visitors. Wouldn’t it be a great thing to celebrate on a website accessible to everyone, the most diverse group of stakeholder’s first contact? They support Volunteer driven projects. Volunteerism assists all aspects of human life.

Volunteers are smart. They enter their information better on a secure HTTPS website so staff can record work and people on official forms privately. The information displayed publicly is the hours they work collectively while stakeholders reach for credit cards for a worthy active volunteer organization project. On a secure website, donations and memberships can be asked for and accepted. If you are the ones with a credit card supporting Non-profits above the appreciated gaming funds many receive thanks to our government, I hope you’re still reading this. I personally thank you for that and rest assured, they are trying to make to so your donations simpler and more direct. I thank you as well for following my rantings that I try to pass off as education.

Information by WalkNRoll