Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Eve visitor gives $100,000

On a New Year's Eve nearly a decade ago, a stranger taught me a lesson I will never forget.

Like most executives, I tend to work during the holiday season. Phone calls and daily interruptions are at a minimum. It is usually a week where I can catch up on a number of smaller projects around the office. My office was just off the lobby, so I could also serve as a greeter and receptionist during the holidays.

On this particular New Year's Eve, a visitor came into our lobby looking to make a contribution. He had been to several other charities that day, but none were open. After a little small talk, I was stunned to see his first time gift of $10,000. It was the single largest personal gift in our history (at the time). He and his wife became good friends of our organization, later giving us the deed to one of his houses which netted the organization well over $100,000.

From that experience, I made it a point to emphasize year-end giving. One year, we even encouraged our largest local bank to keep their drive through lanes open downtown until midnight for any last minute gifts. While we did not get another $100,000 through that effort, we did increase the awareness about our organization through significant media coverage that holiday season.

That experience will always remind me that New Year's Eve can be one of the best giving days of the year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

Wishing you a Happy New Year 2009 from your friends at Upic Solutions!

7 steps to managing in tough times

With a New Year and a new administration in Washington, our fellow United Ways are facing the perfect storm of uncertain contributions and unprecedented demands for basic human care services.

My friend and Upic Board member, Joe Tolan at Metro United Way (Louisville) shared this recent article from titled "Managing in Tough Times: 7 Steps" which contains several timely reminders about what is important in our current economic situation.

1. Act quickly, but not reflexively and plan contingencies
2. Protect the core
3. Identify the people who matter most and keep that group strong
4. Stay very close to your key funders
5. Shape up your organization
6. Involve your board
7. Communicate openly and often

Over the upcoming holiday weekend, let's all make a resolution to reconsider these seven steps to be prepared for the New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Best United Way blogs?

I'm on the lookout for the best United Way blogs around the nation.

I currently follow a dozen or so blogs created in the field. Here are three that I've been reading lately.

Boston, MA

Denver, CO

Austin, TX

If you have some United Way blogs you'd recommend, please comment below.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Using technology to track Santa tonight

Growing up in the 1960's, tracking Santa's progress from the North Pole involved watching the Channel 10 TV news with breathless updates from the weather reporter...usually involving a Santa cutout on the national weather map.

In the 1980's when my son was young, the weather reporters used their new (pre-Doppler) radar setups and would scare us with the news that Santa was just across the river, so we had to scurry to bed fast before he got to our house.

Now, thanks to Google, tracking Santa is high tech with Norad Santa.

With Google Maps for mobile, anyone can keep tabs on him from their mobile phones (just activate GMM and search for "norad santa").

You can also receive updates from "Bitz the Elf" on Twitter by following @noradsanta.

And of course, be sure to visit starting December 24th at 6:00 am EST when Santa's journey begins.

Upic Holiday Hours

Upic Solutions will be closed on December 24th & 25th for the Christmas holiday and on January 1st for New Years Day.

Upic's help desk will be open on December 24th until 4:00 pm Eastern.

We will monitor all Upic hosted systems on a 24x7 basis for any system-wide issue.

For the complete Upic Holiday schedule, please go to

United Ways responding to the economy

United Ways are responding in new and creative ways to drive more assistance to families in need throughout the nation, by increasing fundraising, decreasing costs and providing more direct assistance.

In previous posts we've introduced new micro-campaigns which ask for small gifts from residents and their friends via social media like You Tube.

Yesterday, the United Way of the National Capital Area (Washington, DC region) announced that they were cutting their fundraising fees by 50% to recipient organizations who participate in their fundraising campaign. The net effect of this move is an immediate $1.5 million in program funding for their region.

Interim CEO, Angela Woods reports that these fees will be offset by a prudent use of reserves, increased organizational efficiencies and aggressive expansion into new campaign markets. UWNCA is looking to Upic as a possible strategic partner to assist in this endeavor for 2009 and beyond.

Finally, the United Way of Greater Cincinnati updated their "Where to Turn Guide" with a focus on resources people need when facing unemployment, including legal services, consumer credit counseling and public assistance.

Tough times call for bold action in all three areas. As we discover more of these innovative ideas, we will share them with you.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Give 5/10 updates

Since the Twin Cities United Way launched its Give5Now campaign last week, several United Ways have added this micro-campaign to their websites.

Chicago United Way launched the Give5Here campaign on You Tube and this website.

Nashville United Way launched the Give10Now campaign on You Tube and this website.

We'll check in with all three cities after the holidays to see how they fare.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gift card winners announced

Announcing to our $25 gift card winners for participating in our December 2008 customer satisfaction survey:

Darris Ely (Cincinnati)
Guy Hayes (Indianapolis)
Hilda Burkhead (Louisville)
Kevin Montgomery (Asheville)
Janet Ravneberg (Columbus)
Jessica Stoner (Toledo)
LaTonya Springs (HOME)
Linda Todd (Cincinnati)
Michelle Patterson (St. Louis)
Phyllis Bowser (Indianapolis)
Sarah Barker (High Point)
Shelle Austin (Sarasota)
Susan Grosse (Cincinnati)
Tyler Benack (Columbus)

THANK YOU to everyone who participated. We'll post the survey results in an upcoming article.

Give5Now campaign-Twin Cities

United Way of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN) is now experimenting with an new a viral campaign called Give5Now encouraging residents to contribute $5 and encourage five others to give $5 now with a focus of helping with basic needs given the current economic climate.

Check out the short You Tube video below. The campaign launched on Monday with the following article.

According to the local newspaper article, over $12,500 was raised in the first 48 hours with an average gift of $23 per person. We'll keep in touch with the organizers to see how it turns out for them.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Managing your online reputation

Monitoring your organization's online reputation is more challenging than ever before with the hundreds of new Web 2.0/social media tools now on the scene.

This week, we started monitoring "United Way" and "Upic Solutions" mentions on the web and in blogs using several of the free tools mentioned in this article from last year.

As we started monitoring Twitter feeds, we were surprised with the number of tweets coming from United Way board meetings, including this one in Charlotte earlier this week. If you would like email alerts of Twitter feeds, we really like this free service as well.

Listening to the blogosphere is more important than ever and you can do it easily with Web 2.0 and social media.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Customer Satisfaction

Twice a year, Upic asks every end user of our member organizations to complete a brief Customer Satisfaction survey to provide service feedback and suggestions for improvement.

During our March 2008 survey (see results), we had a 50% participation rate with dozens of great ideas. We discovered which Upic services are used most frequently, which services provided the most value and established benchmark approval ratings which we will measure again in late 2008.

Congratulations to our March 2008 survey gift certificate drawing winners:

Jan Sherrell (Louisville)
Lori Terwilliger (Toledo)
Melissa Lohman (Cincinnati)
Marcy Wagener (Columbus)
Mary Jones (Indianapolis)
Phyllis Lile (Louisville)
Tiffany Baker (Cincinnati)

As a result of the survey feedback, Upic has developed the following service responses:

1. Created the Upic newsletter/blog to provide regular updates on Upic services and technology news
2. Replaced our Spam Filter with a new system which allows individual members to create their own settings
3. Launched Upic University on-demand webinar series providing 5-10 minute training sessions on your schedule
4. Started a new live telephone response for Andar "how to questions" using our toll-free help desk number
5. Secured discounted AT&T internet circuit rates to permit expanded internet bandwidth options for members

Our next survey is now underway until 5:00 pm on December 10, 2008. Once again, we will have drawings for $25 gift certificates (one per 50 responses). Results will be published the week of December 15th.

Monday, November 24, 2008

United Way's transforming power-PSA

Two new PSA's from United Way in Toronto show in a very vivid and creative manner, the transformations that are possible when you support United Way. If you know of other great examples, please pass along those links in our comments section.

Homelessness PSA

Youth PSA

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Google search made easy

As loyal members of Upic's blog community, you are among the most tech savvy staff at your United Way.

Now, just in time for the holiday shopping season comes a free service designed to assist your friends/family harness the power of Google for their Internet searches.

"Let me Google that for you" is the latest tool to help your friends. Just enter their search item and the site produces a link that you can send back to your friend showing them step by step how to find it on Google.

This site is "for all of those people that find it more convenient to bother you with their question rather than google it for themselves".

Try it and prepare to smile. Now was that so hard?

Credit: CNET

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Live United Flash Mob

What would you do if you saw people taking off their clothes in a busy train station? On November 13th, a "flash mob" from United Way of America struck Union Station in Washington DC for the Live United campaign. Below are the original PSA and a passerby video shot and posted on "You Tube". Very interesting concept to get the community involved. Check out the videos and the crowd reaction.


Passerby video:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Upic Video Newsletter Nov 2008

Here's a short video newsletter (less than 10 minutes) on activities at Upic Solutions. Included in this presentation is an overview of Upic and our growth, our 2008 customer satisfaction rankings and initiatives currently underway to improve your experience as members of Upic.

Please click to view the video newsletter and please comment below with any ideas you have to improve our services to you. To update Adobe Acrobat, click here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

60,000 hits and growing

Thanks to you, Upic Solutions website ( continues to grow in popularity. By the end of October, we'll exceed 60,000 hits for the year (compared to 40,000 in 2007 and 24,000 in 2006).

An October survey of our website visitors say that 90% have been able to meet their objectives in visiting our site. Top rated objectives include: checking messages/working remotely, obtaining company information and attending training events. We appreciate your feedback and your support of our website.

Since it's the end of October, let's check out a fun 3 minute Halloween video (rated G) from our friends at Common Craft. Everyone should know how to spot a Zombie, especially when Halloween is on a weekend! Now that's a hit everyone can enjoy.

MS Office tips-now at Upic University

Looking for tips on how to do a mail merge or perhaps how to set up your out of office message in Outlook?

Upic University's on-demand training sessions now include several Microsoft Office tips as an optional menu item.

Each Upic member has access to a growing list of on-demand webinars, based upon your organization's membership profile.

To instructions on how to enroll, visit

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wikis in Plain English-Video

Wonder whether wiki writing would work well for United Way? (Try saying that three times fast).

Maybe you are wondering what is a wiki? The following Common Craft video explains all in about 4 minutes.

Upic is reviewing potential wiki platforms as a forum for our members to share best practices with one another. We believe that a wiki will assist all of our members in learning more about technology and ways we can all be more effective in our work. Watch this space for more on Upic's wiki community.

P.S. We're looking for a creative name for our community's wiki, please submit a comment below. We'll provide a gift card for the winning submission.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Passionate about community building?

Today, Upic provides technical/application support to over 1000 United Way and non-profit staff members. We believe there is tremendous knowledge within our Upic member community and we're looking for the right person to lead this effort.

While the position is called Technical Writer/Online Trainer, the most important attributes are having the heart of a teacher and the organizing skills of a community builder. With emerging Web 2.0 technologies, we believe the right person can help us energize and harness the power of our Upic community to support one another's growth.

If this is you or someone you know, we need to meet. We have a big opportunity ahead that requires passion, heart and technical skills.

You can apply by emailing us or by checking out our posting on Career Builder.

New notifications service: Irgent

Upic's new notification service "Irgent" can reach you by one of four contact methods: phone, fax, SMS or email. With each contact method, you can choose either a personal or business contact.

With Irgent, you are in control of how you want to be contacted, depending upon the urgency of the notification. And since this service is housed outside of Upic's data center, we can contact you in the event of a data center outage when traditional email notification processes are not available.

Notifications as a service have many other uses for United Ways. Instead of relying upon a staff "phone tree" in the event of a weather event, Irgent can contact and confirm receipt of the message. Also, Irgent could be used to confirm volunteer participation in upcoming meetings, including meal responses.

Upic members who would like to be added to the Upic notification process (in the event of a data center situation) are asked to contact Winston Faircloth by email. Irgent is available as a monthly subscription service via our partnership with Premiere Global. Contact Jay Young and mention the Upic discount program.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Urgent Windows update

(Sat 8:00 am update) Over the past 36 hours, Microsoft issued a critical security warning for all Windows operating systems. This required Upic Solutions to perform emergency maintenance on all data center servers and Upic member personal computers covered by our Technical Help Desk (Adagio).

Microsoft and Upic management believed that the severity of this issue warranted immediate action and therefore we are conducted an emergency shutdown of data center servers on Friday, October 24th starting at 8:00 pm Eastern. As of 7:00 am on Saturday morning, all Upic hosted services were completely patched and were fully operational.

Upic member PC systems (with the help desk A icon loaded)will also receive this Microsoft security patch via our remote control capability the next time they are powered on. All systems will require a short reboot cycle once the patch is applied, so this means that system startup will have this extra step on Monday.

You do not need to take action to receive and initiate this patch. Upic's remote management services will deploy and reboot all workstations to activate the solution and secure your systems covered by our technical help desk service.

Microsoft recommends that ALL Windows PC's receive this patch as soon as possible. For home PC's, please run the Windows update by going to Start> All Programs> Windows Update.

Technical details for Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-067 are documented here.

For ongoing news coverage (in non-technical language), please see the following links.
Microsoft's urgent security update: What it means
Microsoft Bug: Patch Now, Patch Fast
Time to patch Windows again ASAP
New Worm feeds on latest Microsoft bug

Our Help Desk technicians will be available to assist you or answer any questions starting at 7:00 am on Monday.

Live United thank you video

The Live United thank you video is now available on You Tube. It needs something. Maybe a laundry detergent product placement (Tide, anyone)?

60 miles in three days

Please allow me a small personal favor.

My wife Susie is participating in this weekend's 3 day/ 60 mile Breast Cancer walk in Atlanta, GA.

Breast cancer has hit our family twice. Susie's mother died at age 37 when Susie was a freshman at OSU. Susie's sister once had a 20% survival chance, but is a cancer survivor for the past 14 years.

It's cold (temps 46-50) and rainy (what drought?) in Atlanta. Despite these conditions, thousands of participants will be walking 20 miles Friday, and again Saturday and Sunday.

If you'd like to help, please click here for more information.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Streisand Effect

Want to become famous on the Internet? Object to something you read and ask it to be removed from the web.

A few years ago, pilot Gabrielle Adelman and photographer Kenneth Adelman decided to photograph the entire California coastline (see

Singer Barbara Streisand objected and insisted that photos of her home be removed from the site, which set off a firestorm of publicity for the photography project. Soon, hundreds of others copied and posted the photos on their websites & blogs, resulting in Google Image Search easily returning the photo searching on "Barbara Streisand House".

Despite her efforts to remove the photos, a new Internet sensation was created, costing her well over $150,000 in legal fees when she lost the case.

Blogger Mike Masnick coined the term the "Streisand Effect" for events where attempts to remove content from the Internet cause it to spread broadly instead. A popular blog of the same name now chronicles other's efforts to muffle the power of the Internet.

Some companies are doomed to repeat the lessons of history.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Top 10 computer passwords

Friends don't let friends use dumb passwords. So, please, PLEASE make sure you avoid using one of Top 10 Computer Passwords for your Upic network sign-in.

It won't take a rocket scientist to guess that "letmein" or "qwerty" or "123456" are in the top 10 computer password lists. But you may be surprised what else makes the list (from the UK).

And no, "2hot4u" did not make the list in England.

Comcast gaining from Web 2.0 lessons

Organizations are learning to pay attention to the voice of the customer using Web 2.0 tools. Last week, I posted the infamous video of a Comcast technician asleep at a customer's house while he (technician) waited for the help desk to respond. It seems that Comcast is no longer asleep when it comes to obtaining customer feedback.

Check out Comcast Cares on Twitter which provides customer feedback to Comcast via text, IM or cell phone. Rather than wait in a "voice mail hell," customers can reach a real person immediately and ask questions or report service issues.
Web sites like are popping up providing valuable customer reviews/feedback and are definitely worth monitoring. Make sure to do a Google search of your organization name from time to time and see what others are saying.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Google's answer to EWI (Emailing While Impaired)

Ever come home from a long day (or night out) and plopped down in front of the computer and emailed something you immediately regretted? This syndrome is better known as EWI or "Emailing While Impaired".

Well, the folks at Google have just the answer, using their gmail service. It's called "Mail Goggles." It works by activating the gmail add-on and customizing when you want the Goggles to stop you from impaired emailing. For example, nights from 10pm-6am might be a good idea if you're a morning person like me.

When you're in that time window, you will have to answer a series of simple math problems that might not be so difficult when you're alert but if you're having trouble answering them, you get a gentle reminder from Google that perhaps it's not the best idea to press "send" after all.

Let's bring a halt to EWI. Give Mail Goggles a try.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Video: Web Search Strategies in Plain English

Google is now a verb, meaning to search on the internet. After watching this video, you will be able to filter "Billy Ray Cyrus" out of your search results for a type of fish.

Now I can search with more focus and better results, thanks to the latest "You Tube" video on web searches from CommonCraft. Enjoy!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Upic on-demand training reviews

The reviews are in and Upic's on-demand training series is a hit.
See what our members are saying:

"The Upic on-demand webinars are exactly what our United Way has needed. The step-by-step instructions are done at a perfect pace and the fact that no sessions are longer than 10 minutes allows you to fit it into your schedule very easily. The classes cover important subjects and no matter what level of user you are, you will certainly learn something new". --Rick Collins, AVP of Information Management, United Way of Central Ohio (Columbus, OH)

"I volunteered to be part of a "pilot program" focused on using the Upic video training course. I really didn't know what to expect and sort of thought it would just be boring. I was wrong! It's very interesting, clearly written and so easy to understand. The courses are given in plain, understandable English and you don't have to be a computer genius to understand what they are talking about. I would love it if the online college courses I'm taking right now were even HALF as clear as the Upic courses! " -- Sandy Burleson, 211 Remote Information & Referral Specialist, United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County (Asheville, NC)

Power of Social Media: Comcast video

Just for fun....Google the word "Comcast". The 9th most popular entry? A "YouTube" video of a Comcast technician sleeping on my couch. The Comcast technician fell asleep waiting for their help desk to pick up the call. Their service was forever immortalized through the use of social media.

"This is why social media is so important," Charlene Li, co-author of Groundswell said, "this YouTube video recorded by 'Brian' resulted in the Comcast brand going down the toilet. You must understand that the power is now in the hands of consumers."

Source: Social Media for Business-Who's Doing It Well & How

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Video: Social Media in Plain English

Welcome to Scoopville. Big Ice Cream Company is facing a big challenge from a new invention.

This very entertaining video focuses on basics of social media: the new technology that makes everyone a producer and easy to use tools that give everyone a chance to have a say.

"YouTube" video and transcript of CommonCraft's Social Media in Plain English. Enjoy!

"Email is kind of...the eight track player"

Well, that quote from Peter Droege of the Daniels Fund (a foundation in Denver) really got my attention. This comes from a new report on Foundations and Web 2.0.

Droege was referring to his organization's efforts to communicate with young people who receive college scholarships from the foundation and to foster a sense of community and camaraderie between the students.

The fund set up a Facebook group (log-in required) after it realized that their students were not using its Web site or responding to numerous email messages.

I wonder how many young professionals find United Way websites and email newsletters as valuable as that Saturday Nite Fever eight track cassette?

Source: Chronicle of Philanthrophy 10/2/2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Machine is Us...Web 2.0 video

This "YouTube" video shows the how much Web 2.0 is changing the way we use the Internet in a short and entertaining way.

The title of this is "The Machine is Us/ing Us".

From the opening of the Web 2.0 University session yesterday.

Let me know what you think...

Web 2.0. Is the United Way ready?

Greetings from the NKU Web 2.0 conference. Over the next several weeks, I will be unpacking their content into multiple blog entries and prevocative thoughts for our United Way system. I encourage you to help us by submitting your questions and comments directly on this blog so that we can all share in the conversation. All Web 2.0 posts are tagged so that you can quickly reference all of these topics.

So, the big question the United Way ready to exist in the new world of Web 2.0? I submit for your review an example of why I say we are not.

Today, many people use the web for research before making purchasing decisions. One of the largest references on the web is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written collaboratively by many of its readers. Independent studies confirm that Wikipedia content is just as accurate as commercial encyclopedias, but has vastly more information available for research.

The challenge: Look up United Way. You will get four related articles. Check out the United Way of America entry. I submit that United Way is largely absent in the community of Wikipedia writers.

Isn't it interesting that United Way is defined with nearly 25% of the article devoted to "criticism and scandals"? Note that the recent events in Charlotte are referenced. Where are the third party examples of local United Way results?

This article represents the contemporary view of the community of Wikipedia writers. Verifiable sources are preferred to PR or marketing postings. The community of Wikipedia writers is self-managing and the power of the community is greater than any individual or organization.

United Way has a long and proud tradition in building communities. So how are we doing in building community online? Discuss...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Emergency Plan in Action

Last weekend when the remnants of Hurricane Ike roared through the Ohio Valley, many of us expected torrential rain and wind gusts for a brief period of time. Our hearts and prayers were with our sister Upic members in Galveston, TX as they began the cleanup from a devastating blow. But then the unexpected happened.
We were notified by our commercial data center provider that they were switching to their auxiliary power supply. In the seven years of being in this location, this was the first time this had occurred. Then over the course of the evening, we learned that 90% of the Cincinnati region was without electric power.
Fortunately, Upic had prepared for just such an occasion. All of our staff associates are equipped with mobile technology that permits them to work from any location with electric power and broadband Internet connections. Using this mobile technology, our staff members could attend to their personal situation and monitor our customer's needs via our web-based help desk portal. Our VOIP phone system allowed us to redirect calls to home phones or other landlines. And our Virtual Office platform allowed us (and our Cincinnati & Louisville members without power) to access work email and other business files from any broadband Internet access point.
On Monday, we put our Upic emergency plan into action. Some staff members had power and others did not. Three of our associates went to Patti's house to staff our e-pledge support line and to monitor help desk tickets. One went to work at his wife's office. Still another went to a public wi-fi hot spot. We notified executive sponsors at each of our hosted customer locations about our emergency plan and to let them know that their Upic hosted data was safe and accessible. We also communicated to our members and customers through regular updates on our website and blog pages.
Today, it's Wednesday and our office park remains without power. But, our situation is very different from our friends in the Gulf Coast. We're inconvenienced but safe. Our emergency plan was tested this week and it worked.
Having family in a hurricane zone (the photo above is our neighbor from a prior storm), I've seen first hand the shock and disbelief that such destruction brings. It takes months to fully grasp the magnitude of nature's fury and destruction. But, there is something in the human spirit that stirs when faced with insurmountable odds. We pray for our friends in Galveston, Houston and those along the Gulf Coast still meeting these challenges from previous storms.
History of Power Restoration (Cincinnati region)
Sunday, 6 p.m. --more than 720,000 out
Tuesday, 10 a.m. --546,155 out
Thursday, 6 pm --168,335 out

Monday, September 15, 2008

State of Emergency in our region

On Sunday, the remnants of Hurricane Ike came through our region with winds gusts of 78 MPH over several hours. Nearly 500,000 businesses and households are without power.

For the latest on Upic operations, please visit

At this time, the Upic office in Fort Mitchell, KY (near the Cincinnati airport) remains without power. Upic personnel in this region are working from remote locations where power exists. The Upic Data Center is fully operational. Please contact the help desk to request service at 866-588-8742.

The value of being in a commercial data center was apparent on Sunday. During the High Wind Warning, the data center operated on backup generators from 4:54 to 8:52 pm ET. Our data center has been fully operational during the course of this event. The Upic data center at Cincinnati Bell is the #2 priority on the local power grid as the primary telephone operation center for the region. Our data center's backup generators include two GE jet engines with enough fuel for 72 hours of backup power.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Verizon Wireless discounts now available

Upic has teamed with Verizon Wireless to offer 12% discounts on voice/data plans for staff of member organizations. Certain restrictions apply*. For more information about the Upic-Verizon Wireless discount plan visit and click on the family discount link. * See Upic's website for the full program details.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Upic members in the news

A quick review of recent headlines from Upic member United Ways...

United Way anounces $40M campaign (Indianapolis)

United Way looks beyond furniture (High Point, NC)

1600 volunteers show up for Day of Caring effort (Asheville, NC)

Seven local United Ways band together (Burlington, NC)

Let's LIVE UNITED to serve greatest needs (Indianapolis, IN)

United Way announces $15M goal (Toledo, OH)

Tough economy is tough on United Way (St. Louis, MO)

United Way kicks off 2008 campaign with $63M goal (Cincinnati, OH)

Metro United Way looks to surpass 2007 total (Louisville, KY)

United Way starts campaign (Sarasota, FL)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Andar e-pledge upgrades

Over the past week, we've seen some intermittent issues with the Andar e-pledge application hosted by Upic. The WebPages would load slowly (or not at all) during certain periods of the day. We believe that the issue may be related to the recent upgrade of the Andar software package and are working diligently with the provider to isolate any issues.

In the meantime, we're putting additional hardware in place to handle the current and expected load. By this weekend, we will have 4 to 5 times the server capacity dedicated to Andar e-pledge than we did at the start of this week through re-allocation of existing server resources.

As an insurance policy against additional issues, we have purchased four additional Dell servers (approximately $20,000) and expect to have them in the data center within 10 days. We believe the combination of additional hardware and the work we're doing with software provider will resolve any issues for the remainder of the campaign season.

We will continue to monitor server performance and make additional investments as needed to ensure a successful campaign season for your United Way. Please let us know immediately via the e-pledge Help Desk (866-583-3742) if you experience issues with Andar e-pledge.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quick news updates

Virtual Kickoff: Louisville's web-based kickoff is Friday (9/5) morning at 9:00 am Eastern at Prior post: Louisville's Virtual Kickoff 9/5/08

System Maintenance: Virtual Office systems will be down on Thursday night (9/4) 10:00-11:00 pm Eastern for system updates. For information anytime on system status, click on the red System Update tab on the top of our home page at

Andar Report reminder: With the start of e-pledge season (350 accounts scheduled this fall), our Andar servers are in their highest demand period of the year. When running large reports, please schedule these reports to run after hours whenever possible. Your fellow Andar users and your e-pledge customers will thank you.

SAS 70 Audit of the Upic Data Center

How does your data center stack up? If your applications are hosted by Upic Solutions, your data is in a commercial data center which receives an annual SAS70 audit.

This audit assures that the proper procedures are in place and are being followed as validated by the auditors. Our data center provider, Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions (CBTS) annually completes this audit and provides this to Upic Solutions. We've posted the highlights of the June 30, 2008 audit on our web site at

In addition, Upic will be pursuing our own SAS70 audit with respect to our internal procedures during the next 12 months. Later this fall, we will complete a Type 1 audit (definition of controls). Our Type 2 audit (review of those controls) will occur six months later.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

United Way newsfeed on blog

Check out our newest feature on the Upic News blog...real-time updates about United Way from Google News. Look below the subscription section for this newsfeed.

We list the five most recent headlines from around the nation on our blog page, so check here for the latest United Way headlines throughout the day.

If you have any suggestions for what you'd like to see on the Upic News blog, please submit a comment below.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Staples discount program update

UPDATE: The Staples Business Advantage program provides discounts for organizational purchasing by local United Ways or affiliated non-profits. Unfortunately, this is not an individual discount program. The previous post has been corrected. I apologize for the confusion. --Winston

Web 2.0 Seminar @ NKU

Many United Ways are interested in the next generation of web tools to help them build and maintain relationships with their constituents. This next generation of interactive tools are dubbed Web 2.0.

Northern Kentucky University is hosting two separate Web 2.0 seminars on September 23 and 24 for the low price of $99 per session. The sessions will be at the NKU METS Center which is located adjacent to the Cincinnati airport.

NKU recently published more information about the seminars via the following links.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Louisville's Virtual Kickoff 9/5/08

On Friday, September 5, 2008 from 9:00-9:15 a.m. ET, supporters of the Metro United Way in Louisville will join forces in a Virtual Kickoff via the web, Business First of Louisville reports.

“As responsible stewards of the community’s generous donations, and with the current high fuel and food prices, Metro United Way is ‘going green’ ” with its campaign kick-off, the organization said in a news release.

To participate, visit their website at on Friday, September 5, 2008 at 9:00 am ET.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On-Demand Training Sample

Introducing training on your schedule. Upic is now offering short, topic-specific training opportunities on a variety of Upic Solutions services. Check out the Upic Solutions On-Demand Training series by watching this 2 minute video.

When you are ready to enroll, either submit a help desk ticket or email our Upic University staff. Our On-Demand Training series is free for all Upic Solutions members based upon the Upic service levels purchased by your organization.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Staples discount program

UPDATED: Upic member organizations now have access to the Staples Business Advantage program. This program is not for personal use. Our program provides the simplicity of online ordering and substantial discounts compared to your local Staples retail location. To enroll in the program, please email our dedicated Staples account manager.

See updated post above.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On Demand training webinars (part 1)

Introducing Upic Solutions On-Demand Training Series!

We know that your time is valuable...that's why we've developed 5-8 minute mini-webinars on various Upic services.

These sessions are free to all Upic members and may be viewed at any time from any broadband internet location. We even provide completion certificates after each track.

To sign up for our pilot of the on-demand classes, please contact the Upic University registrar. You will be enrolled in classes that correspond to your United Way's service level.

Orientation Track (All Upic members)
Designed to assist new Upic members with the basics of Upic University, our Help Desk, and Virtual Office navigation. Each class is approximately five minutes in length.
1. Welcome to Upic University
2. Creating a Help Desk Ticket
3. Logging into Virtual Office

Virtual Office Track (Virtual Office service members)
Designed to assist Upic members with the basics of Upic Virtual Office (VO) system. Each class is approximately five minutes in length.
1. Logging into Virtual Office
2. Options & Settings
3. Spam Filter overview
4. Web Filter overview (in production)
5. Printing in Virtual Office (in production)

Watch this space for more information on additional on-demand webinars.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Join our growing team at Upic

We need fun and enthusistic people to join our team at Upic Solutions. We have created the following new positions to assist us in a growth phase:

Webinar Trainer
Customer Service Rep
Deskside Support Tech
Senior System Admin

To see all of our new positions and to apply, please visit our website at:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Upic staff give over $14K to United Way

We believe in supporting the communities where we live or work via our annual United Way campaign. During our 2008 pacesetter drive, our associates pledged $14, 276...and this number will continue to grow as we add several new team members over the fall. This averages over $1330 per team member in support of local human services. Live United and support your local United Way!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Pledge Card Freedom" deadline approaching

For the past two campaign seasons, Upic has been able to process almost ANY paper pledge card and is no longer limited to "scan card" formats. This new service works with any back-end campaign system as long as it can accept electronic import routines.

This year, Upic is projected to process over 400,000 cards at 99.5% character level accuracy and at a fixed fee per card--price determined based upon turn-around-time.

Our process requires about 2-4 weeks for process set-up and testing. With many United Ways starting their processing season around Labor Day, the deadline for set-up and testing is fast approaching.

We're excited to welcome a number of new processing members this year...either processing the majority of their paper pledge cards OR running an early pilot program: Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas and Phoenix are all participating this year.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Web 2.0 seminar at greatly reduced prices

Many of Upic's members are looking for the next generation platform that will provide interactivity and personalized content to individual United Way supporters and volunteers. Within the technology community, these tools are commonly referred to as Web 2.0.

Upic enjoys a wonderful relationship with Northern Kentucky University's Infrastructure Management Institute who is sponsoring a national program on Web 2.0 University September 23 and 24th.

This same seminar costs nearly $900/day Chicago and Boston, but through NKU and related sponsorships only costs $99/each day via this registration link. (Thanks PRosh for the correction).

For hotel discounts, please contact us at this link.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Grand Opening!

Upic Solutions joins the wonderful world of blogs with this first post. We've developed this blog to help build a stronger community with our over 1000 end users across nearly 30 United Ways and affiliated organizations.

We've got a couple of new initatives under way to improve our services to our members...

1) On-demand classroom. We're currently testing our new on-demand learning series with the United Way in High Point, NC. Each web video is less than 10 minutes in length and is focused on a particular subject of interest.

2) New Andar help desk. In a few weeks, we will begin a roll-out of our new Andar help desk, designed to assist with "how to" questions and report writing assistance. Call our dedicated toll free number and you will reach an experienced Andar customer service rep ready to assist you.

Watch this blog for more information!