Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Top 10 passwords to avoid

Have you ever lost your keys and searched everywhere only to find them still in the open door?

House keys are just like network passwords. They protect your valuable files and organizational information.

But according to a recent study by Impervia, too many computer users today have passwords which are easily compromised. Here are the top 10 passwords on a recently hacked social networking website.

1. 123456
2. 12345
3. 123456789
4. Password
5. iloveyou
6. princess
7. rockyou
8. 1234567
9. 12345678
10. abc123

To protect your data, Impervia recommends the following when creating or changing your password:

A. Avoid names, slang words, dictionary words or trivial passwords (consecutive digits, adjacent keyboard keys. etc)
B. Choose a password with eight or more characters. 50% of all passwords are seven characters or less.
C. Your password should contain a mix of four different types of characters—upper case letters, lower case letters, numbers and special characters such as !@#$%^&.
D. Take a sentence and turn it into a password…something like “This little piggy went to market” might become “tlpWENT2m”

Don’t leave your keys (passwords) in the door for just anyone to walk in and steal your intellectual property.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Upic website on the way

Hey gang, sorry for the lack of posts lately. We're working on our new Upic Solutions website and blogging platform which will launch around September 1st. If you are a subscriber, you will receive instructions on how to get the new content.

In the meantime, here's one really cool news item. Cincinnati is hosting a Virtual Kickoff that is going to be the coolest event ever. Go to this website to enroll and be part of the online community.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

List of Change Blogroll

There is a new destination on the web for the best in non-profit blogs called the List of Change. Here you can find the most authoritative charity blogs/writers on the web in one easy to use location.

I love this site because it is one stop on the web where I can take the pulse of our non-pforit community. You can subscribe via your RSS reader to individual blogs or the entire site. There is also a Twitter stream to follow some of the best postings each day.

For more information about the List of Change, visit this blog post.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Joining Forces in the Back Office

The Chronicle of Philanthropy is sponsoring a webinar next Wednesday, June 3rd featuring several successful back office collaborations like Upic Solutions.

Earlier today, I spoke with Nicole Wallace, senior writer with the Chronicle, who is moderating the webinar next week to share our experience as collaborative. Upic may be mentioned in next week's webinar as another successful example of non-profit collaboration.

Presenters include:

MACC CommonWealth Services, an organization in Minneapolis created by five social-services groups to provide their finance, human-resources, and technology operations. The new group was formed in January 2007 by putting the administrative employees of the five charities together in one office. The result has been that each group can draw on the expertise of a staff of 20 employees.

Chattanooga Museum Collaboration which started out in 2001 as a fee-for-service arrangement in which the Tennessee Aquarium provided finance, human-resources, and technology services for the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Creative Discovery Museum. But over time, it has expanded. The organizations now work together on programs, like exhibits and summer camps, and with the city of Chattanooga conducted a joint capital campaign.

Lodestar Foundation, in Phoenix AZ whose mission is to expand the growth and impact of philanthropy by supporting long-term collaborations among nonprofit groups working in the same area in order to increase efficiency and impact and eliminate duplication of efforts, and programs that promote philanthropy, volunteerism and public service. The Lodestar Foundation created and funded the wildly successful The Collaboration Prize.

For more information and to register, please click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How about FREE training on Inbound Marketing?

Attending IMU

One of my favorite social media resources is the weekly webcast (4:00 pm Eastern on Fridays) from HubSpot, also available as a free download on i-Tunes.

Earlier today, HubSpot announced a series of free webcasts for Inbound Marketing University the week of June 15-19, which provides the foundation for a certification program after one week of study.

I believe the United Way system would benefit greatly from a change in marketing philosophy from herding people into rallies to permission-based, personal communications. I've watched every HubSpot TV podcast and I am very impressed by the folks there.

Make sure to follow HubSpot on Twitter and read the blog post on Inbound Marketing University for more details.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Andar enhancements

Upic has just published a new newsletter on the Andar 360 enhancements. Upic members who wish to subscribe to this periodic newsletter, should click here to subscribe.

Also, please follow us on Twitter. Winston Faircloth and Upic Solutions both have accounts.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Upic starts a Twibe

You may know that I went to the College at William & Mary, whose nickname is the Tribe. So, when I saw the opportunity to start a Upic Twibe, I couldn't resist the play on words.

What's a Twibe? A twibe is a group of Twitter users interested in a common topic who would like to be able to communicate with each other. On each twibe's page, there is a list of twibe members. There is also a tweet stream that lists tweets from twibe members which contain key word tags. Tags are set by the twibe founder and are listed just above the tweet stream. You can browse through twibes that have already been created by going to

In our case, the Upic Twibe will include member's tweets that include the keyword upic somewhere in the text. For the growing number of Upic members and United Ways on Twitter, we can filter down to just our comments.

To join the Upic Twibe, first make sure you are on Twitter and then click on this link:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Upic bids on 2010 Andar conference

It's been a month since the last post. We've been working on many new projects, including bringing affordable training opportunities to our members.

Upic selected Andar 360 as our standard campaign management application in 2001 and was one of the early adopters of this platform. Today, Andar has nearly 70% market share of the United Way in the U.S. Each year, Andar's United Way user community meets to review and propose product enhancements.

Upic's headquarters location in Cincinnati, OH is one of five finalists to host the Andar 2010 conference. We have secured the region's premiere technology conference center and several hotel options at $99/less per night to bring this conference to Cincinnati next April.

For more information on the Cincinnati 2010 Andar Conference, please visit Voting begins soon, so when you or your organization receives a ballot, please select Cincinnati.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 Twitter Tips for Non-Profit Organizations

Thanks to Heather Mansfield at for this article

Newsweek said it best: "Suddenly, all the world is a-Twitter." Simple and powerful, Twitter is a must for nonprofit organizations. I (Heather) created and manage a portal to nonprofits on Twitter @nonprofitorgs and based on my experience using site, I have crafted ten of my favorite Twitter Tips for beginners:

1. Authenticity before marketing. Have personality. Build community.
Those nonprofits who are most successful at utilizing social networking Web sites like Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace know from trial, error, and experience that a “marketing and development approach” on social networking sites does not work. Simply put, it comes across as lame. Traditional marketing and development content is perfectly fine for your Web site and e-mail newsletters, but Web 2.0 is much more about having personality, inspiring conversation, and building online community. Nowhere is this more true than on Twitter. Relax, experiment, let go a bit… find your voice. Be authentic.

2. Be nice. Be thankful. Reply and Retweet!
Twitter functions much like Karma. The nicer you are to people in the Twitterverse, they nicer they are to you in return. The more you ReTweet (RT) others, the more they will RT your Tweets in return. And whether it’s Twitter, MySpace, Facebook or YouTube, if someone does something nice for you in the public commons of Web 2.0, it is always a good practice to send them a message of “Thanks… much appreciated!”. Kindness and appreciation will make you stand out from the others and makes an excellent impression.

3. Follow everyone who follows you.
This is a hard one for a lot of nonprofits. They want to keep their “Home” view clutter free and controlled and only follow a select few. Honestly, they only want to follow those whose Tweets that they are really interested in reading. But I say this often… “This time it is not about you, it is about them.” Web 1.0 communications is all about us and our messaging i.e, your Web site and e-mail newsletter. Web 2.0 is all about your supporters and their messaging. It’s better to create a personal Twitter profile in order to only follow those select few you are interested in reading, but if you are going out on Twitter behind your organization’s logo a.k.a. avatar, it is a mistake to not follow all your followers in return. Why?

Twitter is about conversation. You can’t have a conversation on Twitter if you are not following your followers. It is a one-sided relationship. They can’t message you on Twitter if you are not following them. It’s a snub. Let’s face it… people on Twitter want to be followed. That’s what the site is about! How can you build community on Twitter if you won’t even participate with your followers? Have a look around Twitter… you will see the most successful, ReTweeted nonprofits follow everyone who follows them.

4. Use “Favorites” to organize the chaos and feature your most important Tweets!
So, if you are going to follow everyone who follows your organization (which is hopefully thousands of people) then “favorite” Tweets by those who you are most interested in reading and favorite your most important Tweets. The favorites option on Twitter is a simple, excellent tool to help you organize the chaos.

5. Don’t tweet about your coffee (unless it is fair trade), the weather, or how tired you are. Provide value to your followers, not chit-chat!

Winston's comment: AMEN!!
It’s one thing to chit-chat about the weather, your headache, or how you need coffee to wake up in the morning on your personal profile on Twitter, but it’s quite another if you are active on the Twitterverse via your organizational profile. The messages you send reflect upon your organization. Example of what not to Tweet: “Such-and-such Nonprofit got stuck in traffic this morning. Ugh! I need coffee and a vacation… and I think I am getting a headache!” No one likes a whiner and this just makes it sound like Such-and-Such Nonprofit is not a fun place to work. People follow you because they want good content from your organization on subjects relevant to your mission. Make sure your Tweets provide value and are Re-Tweetable.

6. Don’t only Tweet your own content.
Twitter is a news source. Participate in news. Tweet articles or blog posts by your favorite newspapers, bloggers, or other nonprofits (yes... other nonprofits! Find allies, build relationships). If it is a good read or a good resource, it reflects well upon your organization that you Tweeted it. There is also a good chance you might get ReTweeted if the article is deemed timely and worthy by the Twitterverse.

7. Send messages, but not via auto-responders.
There are tools out there that will automatically message your new followers. Don’t use them. It’s Spam. It’s not authentic. It’s not human. It's lazy marketing. I think this cartoon sums up auto-responders perfectly.

8. Don’t worry about those that “unfollow” you.
It’s easy to feel slighted when someone stops following you. What did I say? Did I do something wrong? Let it go. Who knows why they followed you in the first place. Give it no more than 3 seconds thought and then move on.

9. Limit your Tweets to 5 per day, and no more than 6!
I have been polling on Twitter and the Twitterverse has revealed that less is more when it comes to Tweeting. See poll results.

10. Twitter is what you make of it. You get out of Twitter what you put into it. This is the same of all Web 2.0 social networking sites.
Twitter is a fun, valuable tool that can drive significant traffic to your Web site (start watching your Web site referral logs!) and help build and strengthen your brand in the online world of Web 2.0, but just like Facebook and MySpace, Twitter requires time and energy to produce results. You get out of it what you put into it. If you do one Tweet a week, you will get the results of one Tweet. But if you Tweet 4times daily Monday through Friday… you will get the results of 20 Tweets weekly.

Again, it’s about community building around your mission and programs. Just having profile on Twitter (or MySpace, or Facebook) does not magically produce any results. You have to work these profiles. Find the person on your staff who loves Web 2.0 and enjoys working the sites and/or find a marketing/pr intern from your local university that needs to do a senior project! If they are getting college credit, then you know they have to stay around for at least a semester.

Source:'s Guide to Nonprofit 2.0 -

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Is it wise to post your pledge card online?

Rochester NY is unique in all of the United Way because it runs a spring public campaign which is kicking off this month.

Just in time for the Rochester kickoff is this Blog post from a local ministry group seeking designated giving by promoting step by step instructions and linking to the United Way website for a designation card.

Over the years, I've seen neighboring United Ways post these same types of instructions on their websites trying to get people to designate their gifts back home.

With the advent of Web 2.0's many free tools (blogs, social networking, etc) anyone can post a pledge form onto the web and campaign among their social connections to promote their cause and potentially damage the unrestricted giving that United Ways need to fulfill community priorities.

In the past, I've felt it unwise to post pledge cards online. Now, I'm not so sure. Comments?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Doing, Not Dining

Your intrepid reporter has been asbsent lately, trying to catch up from last week's NC caravan--more to follow on that front.

Got this great Twitter message today from United Way in Nashville, TN. "RT @JoyHaynes United Way Nashville changed celebration luncheon to volunteer event. Today we are Doing, not Dining!"

Instead of hosting an annual campaign luncheon today, this United Way is hosting a volunteer event and asking attendees to contribute the normal costs of the lunch to many basic need agencies in their community.

Check out this link for the full story.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

60 million spam emails blocked

Sometime in the next week, Upic's dual spam filters will block our 60 millionth spam email for our email hosted members.

On average, we block 400 spam emails per day per hosted mailbox. Almost 88% of all emails that come into the Upic data center are SPAM...a figure that is hard to imagine.

For real time reporting, check out this link.

Upic Caravan 2: Tuesday noon

Greetings from snowy North Carolina (unfortunately, no snow pics here).

Last night, we arrived at the hotel around 8:00 pm (just in time for the reception that ended an hour earlier). Our US Airways flight (our third of the day) arrived at the Charlotte airport on time, but we were delayed 45 minutes because there was no arrival gates available.

We planned on spending Monday visiting with all of the Andar User Group attendees, but ended up just seeing a few of our friends. The "buzz" at day one of the conference surrounded many of the new Andar features in the most recent release. Many of our members are anxious to start playing with the new content management options built into Andar.

This morning, we met with the IT team from Charlotte. This team has managed to keep their United Way running during a very difficult campaign season with 50% fewer technology staff than a year ago. We presented the Upic story in hopes that we may be able to supplement their team sometime in the future.

Our next stop is Greensboro, which is slated to be the newest Andar customer very soon. We're going to discuss e-pledge and paper processing services today with their IT committee.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Upic Caravan 2: Monday am

Greetings from Cincinnati: During our last caravan trip we were able to dodge the snow, but not this time. Charlotte was snowed in this morning, so our noon flight is cancelled.

Upic's job fair for potential members of our Andar Service Bureau is also cancelled today.

We're trying to rebook flights for later today. Tonight's post will recap Monday's travel adventure. (I guess this will teach me not to brag about higher temperatures in a blog post).

"Carolina on my mind"- Upic Caravan 2

This week, the Upic management team is off to North Carolina to visit several current and prospective Upic members.

North Carolina is the state with the largest number of Upic members and the host of the Andar User Group conference this year. Here is our schedule for the week:

Monday: Andar User Group
Tuesday: Charlotte & Greensboro
Wednesday: Greensboro & High Point
Thursday: Asheville & Burlington
Friday: Research Triangle & State Campaign

Fortunately, the distance between locations is somewhat shorter and we're expecting temperatures about 30-40 degrees warmer than the last caravan trip about a month ago. We will keep you posted from the road on all that we learn from our members.