Nonprofits face common challenges like acquiring donors, retaining and sustaining their funding sources, and deciding how to best allocate resources while sticking to their budgets. Another issue they share is how to use the power of technology to overcome these challenges and accomplish their mission.
There are three best practices your nonprofit should consider when evaluating your technology strategy. These best practices can help you identify opportunities to optimize your financial resources, enable growth by reaching more constituents and achieve your mission.
1. Align Technology With Your Organizational Goals.
Sometimes technology is an afterthought, and the investments don’t deliver the results expected because they haven’t been planned and strategized properly. You can’t afford to make significant technology investments with an already-constrained budget.
Most nonprofits operate on tight budgets, and the cost of current technology can seem prohibitive. But the effective use of technology can help you deliver on your mission, so it more than justifies the cost.
It’s critical that you align technology to your organizational goals. But, how do you know what the right technology is? The easiest way is to ask an IT services provider who has experience working with nonprofits. They can provide an IT assessment that will examine the technology you use and what’s lacking in relation to your culture, process and financial requirements. This will generate greater value for your organization while decreasing risk.
Strategically selected digital tools will empower your staff and stakeholders to effectively deliver on your organization’s mission. When you look at technology as a strategic investment and implement and maintain it in a proactive rather than reactive way it will be the tool you need for short-and long-term success.
2. Evaluate The Solutions You’re Using To Determine If You Should Be Using Cloud-Based Services Instead.
Many non-profits continue to use legacy technology systems that are cumbersome, difficult manage and don’t provide the necessary return on investment they require. With today’s newer, cloud-based and more flexible IT infrastructure solutions, your non-profit can have the technology you need at a fraction of the cost of purchasing it.
Plus, you’ll no longer need to worry about technology solutions going out of date. With cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, you can add or delete the number of seats you pay for, and because you pay on a monthly subscription basis, it makes technology easy to plan and budget for.
For example, through business intelligence systems like those in Microsoft Office 365, you can collect donor data from different outreach channels, and then analyze this information in a centralized location. This insight allows you to identify trends and patterns that could improve the results of your next fundraising campaign and generate higher revenue.
There are IT providers in Southeastern Florida who offer customized, industry-specific cloud solutions that can help you remove data silos, optimize your resources, and improve operations and efficiencies. By exploring these new cloud innovations, it’s possible to leverage business intelligence that will help you overcome some of the challenges we mentioned above.
3. Establish Information Security Policies & Procedures.
Information security should be a priority. You could be doing everything else right, but if you don’t mitigate risk and protect your nonprofit organization’s confidential data, you could face a costly data breach. Just one breach could result in hefty fines, penalties, expensive litigation and a ruined reputation that scares donors away.
Information security policies and procedures have three main objectives:
- Confidentiality of data and information assets and to confine these to only those authorized to access them.
- Integrity of data to keep it intact, complete and accurate, and to keep IT systems running reliably.
- Availability so data or IT systems are accessible to authorized users when required.
An Information Security Policy (ISP) is a set of rules to ensure that your users or networks adhere to a standard that ensures the security of data stored digitally. It governs the protection of your information technology. The policy can be as broad as you need it to be but should consider these key elements:
- Identify a general approach to data security.
- Denote the steps taken to detect and prevent compromising of data and IT infrastructures including misuse of information technology, networks, computer systems and applications.
- How to protect the reputation of your nonprofit with respect to its legal and ethical responsibilities.
- To observe the rights of your members and donors and to provide effective mechanisms to respond to complaints, questions and concerns about non-compliance with the policy.