Graphic Design in the Cloud
By Simone Motiwalla
As a graphic designer, diving into work at Timeraiser was an easy feat because of the connectivity of the Cloud. Today we hear the term “cloud” being thrown around quite rampantly and ambiguously. Having worked at Timeraiser a few weeks it is clear to me that, in terms of graphic design, it is the most logical and organized way of sharing, updating and finding things. From a sponsor’s logo, to a phone number of a print house I may need to contact: it is all there. And not only is it there; it is easy to find using search engine tools in each of the programs such as Box and Saleforce.
Using a system that promotes radical openness and sharing makes the training period for a new designer very short and not an arduous or overwhelming endeavor. Training basically consists of a “tour” of the Cloud and instructions on where to find things and how to look for them.
The Cloud’s interconnectedness of resources concerning both the design side, and the project management side, of what I do that puts a layer of structure and tranquility within the fast paced and sometime chaotic world of design. The constant updating, transferring of files, editing and image switching is also safeguarded because of the fact that everything on the desktop syncs to the cloud server automatically.
Additionally, there is the mobile component to the Cloud. As mentioned before, everything is synced to a web server. This means that I can access all Framework resources from anywhere that is connected to the web. This mobility really does live up to its namesake “the Cloud” because this vast amount of information is able to lightly follow me anywhere I need to go to get work done.
By Anil Patel
We are pleased to share a major announcement. Framework and Team Timeraiser have been able to develop a kick-butt, bottom-up budget build forecasting and reporting process (click here to view the schema
). This process allows us to do several things:
- Be more efficient. We are adding 4 new cities on top of the 8 we currently do by only adding a little bit more core operating expenses. We need to be able to be fast and flexible to meet the demand coming from across the country.
- Be more transparent. All our budgets include, where possible, invoices confirming the expenditures. By including links to invoices and contracts, we are able to report back to donors in record time.
- Be more collaborative. We have different partners in different cities. In the past we have always struggled with providing people with updated budgets and goals/game plans. This process allows us to share a publicaly viewable link, and our stakeholders have what they need, when they need it.
Here are three links that walk you through the bottom-up build:
- Toronto Planning Page (click here)
- Timeraiser Summary Page (click here)
- Framework Core Operating Expenses Page (click here)
As you will see from the photo below, we did a lot of white boarding and quick prototyping to determine what fields we needed in the city budgets (including naming convention) and which information would syndicate to the summary budget. This included approches to capture in-kind support plus purchases from social enterprises.
This might be one of our biggest breakthroughs to date because we've also been very frustrated with traditional book-keeping and accounting processes. A number of our colleagues are in the same boat: key financial information does not flow as quickly and accurately using traditional techniques and software.
Like so many small to medium sized nonprofits (our budget is under $1 million), we only have budget/need for a bookkeeper a few hours per month. But that time is doing the basics of processing cheques, reconciling the bank statements and preparing basic reports such as monthly balance sheet and general ledger. But often the software used is a closed garden. It is tricky with so much going on in our office to have program related financial data shared amongst the staff and key volunteers.
In the past, this has lead to lots of confusion about what has been paid, what has not, which invoices where processed, which ones are outstanding. This new process should clear up a lot of this. Our estimates is that this will help us become 10x more effective in 2012. And we look forward to keeping you posted.
What do you think? Does your nonprofit struggle with providing key financial data to the right people at the right time? Would like to collaborate with us on testing new methods for modern budgeting & book-keeping?