As a Service to
Not-for-Profit associations we are pleased to be able to provide these resources for reference. Please contact us if you have any suggestions for new material.
Association Management Services
Associations change management service providers from time to time for a variety of valid reasons including retirement of the current manager and exceptionally poor performance.
Some volunteer boards erroneously think that changing service providers every three years or so is healthy and nothing could be further from the truth as Lawyer Michael Deese so eloquently explains here in his “Shopping for Shopping’s Sake article. (published with permission)
In addition to “shopping for shopping’s” sake, some volunteer boards think that changing service providers simply because they may not be doing a perfect job is the answer.
To put this in perspective, do associations managed by employed full-time staff routinely “shop around” for a new executive director when the current incumbent is performing well? Is it common for a board of directors to explain to its chief staff executive that, although his or her performance is entirely satisfactory or even exemplary, the board wants to “test the waters” to see if there is someone else out there who is better or less expensive?
Since this is not an intelligent approach and the obvious answer to this is “no,” then why do boards managed satisfactorily by association management companies feel that “shopping around” for management services is an acceptable practice? It is certainly not the board’s fiduciary duty to look for “cheap” so one must always look for hidden agendas . . . and that leads to precisely the same fall-out problems identified by Michael Deese.
Deciding to go the RFP route for a new service provider when the current one may simply not be performing as expected can destroy an association. It is neither professional nor beneficial to the organization.
It is critical that the services provided by your association management company be formally reviewed annually to stop perceived small issues from turning into irreconcilable major problems. An example of such a review document can be found here.
Tips for NFP Directors
- NPF Act Canada
- NPF Act Regulations
- NFP Primer for Directors
- 20 Questions Directors of Not-For-Profit Organizations Should Ask About Risk
- 20 Questions Directors of Not-For-Profit Organizations Should Ask About Fiduciary Duty
Many clients prefer to maintain their own websites and they can do this providing that the site have been developed using a good Content Management System (CMS). There are a number of CMS processes available and we decided to use an open source CMS that was popular, robust, kept current and had an easy learning curve. Drupal is used by many large corporations, the Federal Government and even the White House in the USA.
Our Website Developer Devon Lesk, has prepared the following basic guidelines on maintaining a website using Drupal
Using Drupal (CMS) to Maintain a Website – Basic Guidelines
For use with Drupal 7
To login, to go your CMS URL and use the Drupal credentials – Megram will provide these. When you’ve logged in, you should see an administrator toolbar appear at the top of the page. This toolbar will provide you with the necessary links to update your website. You may need to double click the links.
If you can’t access the admin area for whatever reason, the direct link is your website name with /admin/ appended to it. So for example, http://www.megram.com/admin/
Editing or Creating a Page
To create a new page, hover over the “Content”, then “Add Content” buttons, and double click “Basic page” or the content type that best suits your needs. To edit an existing page, double click on the “Content” link. This will take you to a list of all current pages. Simply find the listing for the page, and click the “edit” button on the right-hand side.
On the page edit screen, there are a couple things to note. The body area has a great WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor, but it may take a second to load. This has some pretty nice text formatting features.
- You can copy content directly from Word to the page by clicking on the clipboard with the “W” icon. This also converts links automatically.
- You can add images by clicking on the painting-like icon near the top right. This will open a new window. There, you should see a “Browse Server” button, where you can upload images, then double click on the image in the directory of your choosing. A more detailed explanation can be viewed below.
- To create a link, highlight the text that you what to make into a link, then click the chain-link icon. The “link type” is used to specify whether it’s a link to another website or file, a link to a named anchor on the page, or an email link. This dialogue box also has a “browse server” button, which acts the exact same way as the browser in the image window. You can upload any type of file and double click it to create a link. At the top, you can use the “Target” tab to specify whether you want the link to open in a new window or not – all attachment should always open in a new window or you will lose visitors.
- In the text editor, when you press enter it creates another paragraph with a space, but if you just want to just create a line break with no space you need to press shift + enter.
Scrolling down from the WYSIWYG editor, you should see some more tabs on the left. The function of these is covered further below.
To add photos/thumbnails to a page, edit a page and click on the Image icon near the top right of the editor box. Once here, click “Browse Server”. This is where you can upload/delete photos on your website. To the left of the File Browser dialog box should be a folder navigation area, with a Photos folder. This is optional and you could just have all of your pictures in one directory, folders just make things easier to organize. When you’re in the folder that you want the photos to be placed in, click the Upload button in the top left, then browse. You can also choose to create a thumbnail here, or by selecting the Thumbnails button next to the Upload button.
When the file has been uploaded and the thumbnail create, double click on the thumbnail, which will automatically select it. You should now be in the Image Properties dialog box. At the top, select the Link tab, and then Browse Server. Now, select the original, large version of the picture you uploaded and double click. Also, set the “Target” so New Window. Now when the user clicks on the thumbnail, they will open the large picture in a new tab on their web browser. You can also set the alignment of the picture to make text wrap around. When you have finished, just click OK and the image should be added to your page.
Tabs (additional content at the bottom of the create/edit page)
The “Menu settings” tab allows you to create a new menu item for the page in question. The description in this area is optional.
The “Revision information” tab allows you to create a new page revisions. If your site will have multiple users updating the content, revisions can be a great way of logging the changes you make to pages. Also, revisions can be used to view old content in the event that you would need this information.
The “URL path settings” tab is used to give the URL of the page a user-friendly version, instead of the default Drupal path URL. For example, if you create an “About Us” page, and do not assign a URL alias, it will appear as “www.YOURSITE_EXAMPLE.com/node87/”. However, using “URL path settings” this can be changed to the much more user and search engine friendly “www.YOURSITE_EXAMPLE.com/about-us”. Please note that there are a few rules when writing URL alias. Spaces should be replaced with hyphens, and any accents should be replaces with their corresponding letter (é becomes e for example).
As Drupal is not being used as a blogging service on our websites, the “Comments settings” tab can be ignored. This section may be updated later.
The “Authoring information” tab can also be safely ignored.
The “Publishing options” tab is used mainly to determine if a page is published, and therefore visible to users on the site. If you would like a page to no longer be accessible to the public, but want to keep the page for archiving purposes, then uncheck the “Published” option and save the page.
These tabs may or may not be present, depending on the needs of your site.
The “meta tags” tab is used to create and edit metatags. The metatag information on a website is used by search engines to power their search results. As such, this is a VERY important area to pay attention too. Here, you can set a custom page title (What the user sees at the top of the web browser), a description of the page (this appears in search results and is also very important) and some advanced settings like preventing search engines from indexing a page (making it invisible to search engines). There are many more options in this area, but there are tooltips for all available options, so please read them for further information. Although you can set keywords, these are no longer taken into consideration by most search engines, and should be ignored.
More optional tags may be added in the future, so please check back for more information.
At the very bottom are the buttons to Save, Preview or Delete the page.
The above information is useful for any Drupal website, however it’s true power comes from it’s flexibility. Because of this, almost every site is different, and will have a different administrative experience. Here you will find additional information that may or may not pertain to your website.
Pages in Drupal can be divided into various Content Types. Content types are used if extra functionality is needed that a basic page simply can’t provide. Some examples include password protected areas, or specialty areas like user polls. The default content types are “Article” and “Basic Page”. Generally, the “Article” content type is not used, and can be safely ignored.
To edit the main menu, hover over “Structure”, then hover over “Menus” and double click “Main menu”. You should see a list of the current menu links. To change the display order, click and hold the corresponding cross-arrow icon to the left of the link name, then drag to the desired position. You can also edit menu items by clicking the “edit” link to the right.
Certain elements of the site are “blocks”. Blocks are regions of a website that contain content which is shared between regions, yet can be edited by the user. An example of this is the text contained in most footers. To access and edit blocks, hover over the “Structure” link in the admin toolbar at the top of the page, and double click the “Blocks” link. This will take you to a list of all the blocks on the site. These are separated into Categories, and have descriptions to aid you. At the bottom are disabled Blocks, which are not used by the site and therefore you do not need to worry about them.
To edit a Block, click the “Configure” link on the right side of the Block listing. This will bring you to a page which is very similar to the “Basic page” Content Type. Make any changes you need, and simply click the “Save block” button at the bottom of the page. The Title property should remain blank.
If your site has password-protected areas (such as Members or Private areas)
If your site has a password-protected section, such as a members-only area, there are additional things that you may need to know.
To create a new user account to access this page, hover over the “People” link at the top of the page, and double click on the “Add user” link. This will take you to a new page where you can set the username, email address and password for this new user (all mandatory). When you have filled in this information, you will need to set the “Role” of the user. This role determines what permissions the new user will have and what content they are allowed to view. For example, if your website has a member’s only section, you will need to check the “member” checkbox under the “Roles” section. There is one very important thing to note: only the default admin account should have the “administrator role for security reasons.
The edit a user’s information, including passwords, double click on the “People” link in the top admin toolbar. This will take you to a list of users on the website. Simply find the listing and click the “edit” button on the right. This page is very similar to the “Add user” page, and so the same information applies.
To create a new password-protected page, simply hover over the “Content > Add content” link, then double-click the relevant content type. These will always have the “ – Password Protected” suffix.
What isn’t possible in Drupal?
Drupal is very powerful, but there are some changes to a website that are beyond the scope of what Drupal is designed for. These changes include massive site-wide design changes, like moving elements of a page around for example. For any large-scale changes like these, please contact Megram directly and we will be happy to assist you.
You will find more in-depth information here http://www.siteground.com/tutorials/drupal/