Ask Ero: Answers for baffled and confused Idealists

In this series of blog posts, I’ll try to answer all your questions about anything and everything regardless of how ridiculously unqualified I am to answer them. Consider me sort of a tech-literate, bearded, Ann Landers or a work-safe Dan Savage.

Ero is Thoughtful Adjusted Cropped3Hi, I’m Ero. I’m Idealist.org’s tech support guy. I love answering questions from people who use our website. And I’m here to help you when you’re helpless and confused.

There’s a pretty good chance you’re feeling helpless and confused right now. I know, because I get phone calls on a regular basis from people who want me to rescue a lost cat.  Or who’d like to send me a large pile of used medical equipment. Or who think I’ve just personally rejected their resume for a teaching job in Canada.

As a garden-variety computer nerd who happens to love nonprofits and the people who work for them, I’m incredibly ill-equipped to answer any questions other than “How do I use the Idealist website?” I’m actually pretty good at answering that question, which is why I have a job answering questions about the Idealist website.

I can tell you, for instance, how to sign up, reset your password, add or remove your organization, pay an invoice, and much more.

But you call and ask me how to help the sea turtles, or what the tax rate is in New Jersey. Normally I’ll answer back that I’m not really qualified, and try to point you in the right direction if I can. But in these blog posts, I’ll answer any question you ask.

Until I get your first questions, I’ll try to shed light on how the website works. I’ll start by explaining two things that people don’t always know about Idealist:

1. Everything on our website comes from you.

We maintain a great website full of useful tools, but aside from our blogs, every single bit of content in it is made by our user community, the amazing Idealists around the world. Yes, I’m talking about you.

If your nonprofit has an account on our site, it’s because someone at your organization made one. If you’re getting email alerts, it’s not because we stole your identity; you signed up for an account with us.

We do our best to keep the website up-to-date, but we only built the playground, we’re not the parents.

2. We’re here to bring people together.

We’re not a corporation trying to sell your personal data, and we’re not really interested in ripping you off. We’re a nonprofit, too, and our mission is to make the world better by helping people be effective at doing good.

We want the website to work as well as it can, so that you can connect with others, copy good ideas, take advantage of our resources, and find organizations who you know would love to have you as an employee or volunteer. We couldn’t do it without you.

Have questions about anything I’ve said? Or about anything else (and I really do mean anything)? Ask me.

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Ask Ero anything (anything anything anything) at ero@idealist.org. 

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Comments (5)


  1. Julia S. writes:
    March 29, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Love this! I will write with actual Idealist questions when I have them, but until then…

    Hey Ero, I heard you’re a very talented pie-baker. What’s your all-time favorite pie recipe?


  2. Ero Gray writes:
    March 29, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks Julia! That’s a tough question but I think it might be plain ol’ rhubarb. They don’t call it the pie plant for nothing. Rhubarb is tart and lemony and has a texture that manages to be both silky and pleasantly crunchy at the same time.

    Here’s my account of the first rhubarb pie I made (there were many more afterwards, because I loved it so much): http://pie-curious.blogspot.com/2012/05/rhubarb-pie.html


  3. Yosef S. writes:
    March 30, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Hey Ero,
    I recently got a degree in ‘service design’ from SCAD, and just moved up to NYC a couple weeks ago. I know that I’m a highly motivated idealist, and I have a rare, yet amazingly valuable skill-set.

    So here’s my question:

    How do I find an awesome job doing awesome work for an awesome company if no one knows what service designers are– and no one is posting jobs looking for one?

    (btw- for you or anyone else curious what my field is, I’ve posted a decent explanation here: http://www.yosefshuman.com/Service-Design-101 )


  4. Ero Gray writes:
    April 1, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks Yosef! As advertised, I’m not really competent to answer your question. But I’ll see if I can learn about this from folks who are, and let you know what I find out shortly.


  5. [...] also no secret that you make Idealist. Aside from our blogs and info centers,  all the org pages, personal profiles, and opportunity [...]


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