Leveraging Technology

June 26, 2012 – TechSoup Canada

PINs Leadership Exchange: Leveraging Technology

“Don’t be afraid to fail. When working with technology, failure is part of the process”- Jane Zhang, TechSoup Canada

On June 28, 2012, PINs held a Learning Exchange workshop for network leaders and partners at the Centre for Social Innovation, courtesy of TechSoup Canada. Twenty individuals from 15 associations learned about technological resources that can assist in the planning and execution of their organizational goals.

Guest speakers:

Jane Zhang, Executive Director, TechSoup Canada

Luis Javier Rendon, President, Javerianos en Canada

Jorge Ulloa, Vice President, KIOSK ESL Communication Solutions

David Boughton, Training Coordinator, KIOSK ESL Communication Solutions


Jane opened the session by emphasizing the relationship between an organization’s use of technological tools, and the organization’s mission, vision, and goals.  It starts with the basics and using technology to effectively support day-to-day tasks.  For example, one might begin by asking whether the contact details for members are stored in a database, and whether this database is backed up and secure. Taking it to the next level, Jane reminded participants of the importance of tying in technology decisions to strategy and program goals. Since technology is always changing, there are numerous opportunities to utilize it wisely transform the organization and its services.

Luis presented about his network’s use of technology to mitigate the time constraints, distance barriers, and space limitations that his executive team faces when it comes to holding meetings.  By using tools like Skype, One Note and TeamViewer, his team has been able to conduct meetings via video conferencing, take meeting minutes, and collaborate online without having to meet in person.

Jorge and David provided a practical example of how they went about using technology to address the time and distance barriers faced by their participants and the need to expand their scope of operations. They demonstrated their use of Blackboard Collaborate, which allows participants to share audio and video, use whiteboards, and split off into breakout rooms.  They also showed an example of live online collaboration – the editing of a document by two people in real-time –using a tool named Jing.

The presenters emphasized no matter what the organization and type of technology, choose an application that has high impact and low cost technology and ultimately something that will make work easier to do.

Also mentioned during the session: Adobe Connect, Google+ Hangouts, and MailChimp.


  • Take care of basics like security, databases, and backups before adopting new solutions
  • Always consider technological tools from the perspective of your mission and goals
  • Consider implementing tools that are relevant to your audience – be it busy executive team members or volunteers spread across different regions or tech-savvy members accessing services