CITUPS Resources
Participating Chapters


Dissertation, Publications, Jazz, Etc.
Workshops, Conferences, Etc.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Photo Gallery
ftp directory

American Red Cross
Chapter Information Technology Upgrade Process Support


The purpose of the CITUPS project is to develop and support a process that assists local chapters of the American Red Cross in assessing and meeting their information technology needs. The aim is to help chapters to identify and make use of specialized human resources (e.g., computer professionals to aid in technology assessment) and opportunities for funding and/or in-kind donations. While the project will help identify resources and provide guidance in taking advantage of them, each chapter is expected to take responsibility for their own upgrade process. However, we are looking into writing communal grants for in-kind donations to cover multiple chapters.


The American Red Cross is technologically highly sophisticated at the national level, using satellite communications, wireless networks, VOIP telephony, etc., in preparing for and responding to national disasters. However, at the local level, many chapters lag behind seriously, some even depending on 10-year-old hardware and software. This discrepancy creates two difficulties. First, daily collaboration among chapters, and between local chapters and the national organization, is impeded as parts of the organization are unable to participate in the technologically-mediated information exchanges that are becoming standard to the rest of the organization. Second, during disaster response, relief workers from less technologically sophisticated chapters may have difficulty in adopting the technologies upon which large responses rely, while relief workers from more technologically sophisticated chapters may be unfamiliar with the less sophisticated procedures used by chapters with limited technological resources. These difficulties degrade the ability of the Red Cross to perform its core mission of providing disaster relief at both local and national levels.

Note that the American Red Cross employs a model of autonomous local chapters tied together through a national organization. Thus, while the national organization may develop Red Cross-specific software for use by chapters, for instance, chapters must provide their own information technology infrastructure for day-to-day operations and local disaster relief efforts.

The CITUPS Process

(Subject to change)

  1. Assemble project team
    1. Determine who will be chapter point person
    2. Recruit technical expert either from within the chapter or externally
  2. Assess current chapter resources
  3. Assess chapter needs
  4. Develop a Technology Deployment and Support Plan, including a design for the necessary information technology infrastructure
  5. Find potential donors/funding agencies
  6. Write grant/donation requests

Assessing Resources and Needs

The objective of the upgrade process is to meet the technology needs of all chapter activities for a period of three years, including

Resource Categories

Assessment should include the following categories:

  1. Hardware
    1. Computers
    2. Computer accessories (monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc.)
    3. Peripheral devices (printer, scanner, etc.)
    4. Networking (router, switch, etc.)
    5. Backup devices and capabilities (server, flashdrive, etc.)
  2. Software
    1. Office productivity tools
    2. Database support
    3. Fund-raising and public relations tools
    4. Email support
    5. Security (firewall, virus check, etc.)
    6. Backup
  3. Services
    1. Backup
    2. Internet access
    3. Email service

Technology Deployment and Support Plan

The Technology Deployment and Support Plan should include

  1. Resources needed
  2. Deployment plan
  3. Usage plan
  4. Training plan
  5. Maintenance plan (should cover a period of three years)

CITUPS Resources

The CITUPS project will endeavor to help chapters in getting expert help to complete the upgrade process, most notably seeking to connect chapters to computer professionals who are willing to lend technical expertise. Such individuals should only be expected to help during the actual CITUPS process. They should not be expected to become regular Red Cross volunteers or be relied upon to support the technology once it has been obtained (unless, of course, they really really want to).

Note: At this time, we are looking into the option of going to large corporations with single requests for in-kind donations to cover all chapters. This may be advantageous to the corporations and, thus, more successful for us.

The resources listed here are available nationally, chapters should also seek out and develop relations with local organizations and individuals.

Organizations to Aid Non-Profits in General

TechSoup Organization devoted to connecting donors of technological tools with non-profits needing them.

Computer Professionals

CPSR Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. Socially minded professionals.
Cisco Volunteers Cisco program to match their employees to suitable volunteer opportunities.

Potential Donors

Cisco Will provide networking hardware at a reduced cost. Go through TechSoup listing
Microsoft Will provide software at a reduced cost. Go through TechSoup listing

Potential Funding Agencies

Participating Chapters

For further information, please email me:



Last updated 2005-06-08