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How I Decide Whether to Enter a New Tool Into SSC

Since coming to Aspiration, a large portion of my job has been spent filling out the database of tools that we have on SSC. Mostly, this is done by me going through a series of blogs and bookmarking sites to see if there if there are any interesting new tools or information about existing tools in our database. It is not difficult to find software that is not in our database, but simply finding a new piece of software is not enough to justify my entering it into the database.

Not having enough tools in our databse can lead to user frustration, as they will leave if they find that they are having to do too much data-entry for their favorite tools. Also, users who come to the site to find new tools and do research will not find the site very useful if there isn’t enough information. However, too many tools can lead to information overload for these same users, and ultimately will have the same value as doing a Google search. In other words, we need to strive for a nice balance of quantity and quality.

Therefore, when I find new software, I try to look at the following criteria when deciding whether to add it to SSC.

  1. Is it potentially useful for a NPO to accomplish its stated task? (ie. World of Warcraft is out).
  2. Is it geared towards the non-profits, small-businesses, or personal use?
  3. Does it have one of the following two properties?
A. Its functionality is relatively unique compared to other tools already in SSC.
B. I discovered it in a review or on a blog which is geared towards non-profits. In other words, I have a “story” which I can include in the “Useful Links” field (or other field) which would be useful to a user who is browsing for tools.

The tool gets the benefit of the doubt, and it’s mostly arbitrary. However, I’m hoping that these guidelines will make sure that new tools create value for SSC, rather than detract from it.

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