As consultants, we see nonprofits large and small containing a broad range of technology. Each nonprofit has its unique struggles from change management to funding and grant issues among other things. However, no matter your size and struggles we have a good checklist when it comes to technology. Adhere to the checklist, and it will help you and your organization manage technology requirements.
Planning and patience are key
- Develop a plan - As we tell all our clients, planning is essential to any technology implementation. When you ask us a question, we often reference back to an overall Technology Plan. It can be something as simple as a document that highlights your communication methods and the importance of the various technology components in reference to your overall business impact.
- Stick to the plan – The plan will help you determine priority in budgeting, so you know where to invest dollars for maximum productivity. Also, grantors like to see a solid plan for implementing technology which often helps them to see how the money will be best utilized.
Know what resources are available
- Nonprofits can get discounted stuff – Not many things are free, but nonprofits can get significantly discounted software.
- TechSoup – If you don’t have an account, get one. It is a buffet of many different software vendors and their discounted nonprofit technology software/hardware.
- Microsoft Office 365 – Lots of collaboration here and as a nonprofit you can get some of the best features for the low price of free in some instances.
- Network with other nonprofits – Don’t be afraid to ask what others are doing or check with a local nonprofit center for ideas…we like the Center for Nonprofit Management
Know your limitations as an organization
- Always hire a consultant (we are kind of awesome…just saying) – You don’t know what you don’t know. Consultants can advise on some of the best technology that fits your plan and helps you develop a plan if one doesn’t exist. Often our clients save money by hiring a professional.
- Be wary of the internal staff member doing IT for your organization – Often they know just a hair more than you, and it makes them an instant expert…But this can be problematic long term regarding documentation and overall implementation of the technology. Also remember their salary costs money, too, and usually it takes them more time to implement a solution than a consultant or tech firm.
Documentation is your friend
- Document that password for the account you setup. Document your technology plan. Document the reason for making a decision (hint: it should be because it falls into your technology plan)
Don’t be afraid to reevaluate
- Making a decision isn’t set in stone – Don’t be afraid to reevaluate how these decisions are affecting your organization.
- Revisit your internal processes – Can they be better implemented with newer technology like Microsoft Teams or SharePoint?
- Reevaluate your consultant – Are they working out for you? Do you feel they are the right fit for your organization? Do you know a better consulting company that rhymes with Treestone?