If you run a non-profit and haven’t considered outsourcing your IT – or, at least ramping-up your IT strategy – then, you’ll want to read further. We’ve presented the top 5 reasons you’ll need a strategic non-profit IT plan heading into 2018 and beyond. Without it, you’re as vulnerable and at a disadvantage as any for-profit company.

Here are the 5 main reasons your not-for-profit organization needs a workable and up-to-date IT management plan:

  1. It will better support your organization’s long-term goals and strategy.

If your nonprofit organization has an existing strategic IT plan, that plan should be making assumptions about information, systems, reporting or other capabilities that will be available in the future.  For example, your non-profit IT plan should (if you are growth-minded at all) have a goal to deliver its current programs and services to a much larger number of beneficiaries, which would mean opening sub-offices at different locations and hiring additional staff.  This would clearly mean delivery of additional IT equipment, changing how desktop support and internet service is handled, along with potentially other services in unfamiliar markets.

There may be processes that are currently manual which cannot be done manually after IT expansion, which further justifies a new solution involving greater support for your nonprofit technology.

Your growth can be a very simple change – if your future-looking, strategic non-profit IT plan includes new services, collaboration with new partners, or working with new funders. The potential impact on your IT management, then, becomes much more complex and beneficial.

It’s critical that your IT team fully understand future goals and have a plan as to exactly how those goals will be supported by appropriate hardware, software, services, and skilled staff, or your entire organization will be at risk.

Since your IT team often will need to start work months or years before a capability is needed by the end users, understanding the “when” as well as the “what” is very important, and can uncover potential scheduling or resource conflicts.  For example, if the development team is planning on switching to a new grants management system at the same time as the programs team is launching new services with associated data collection and reporting needs, the IT team may find itself unable to support both efforts simultaneously and the effectiveness of the organization may be compromised.

  1. Planning and preparation for large investments are highlighted.

Money is always tight for non-profits, and money for non-programmatic expenditures is hard to justify.  A good strategic non-profit IT plan looks at existing as well as future systems and identifies when those systems or equipment will need to be replaced, upgraded or phased out, and will allow those at times significant expenditures to be anticipated and planned for.

Not only does this help prevent unwelcome surprises in the form of unbudgeted expenses, but it also allows for the burden of these expenses to be spread across multiple budget years (or at least to prevent them all hitting at once).

  1. Ability to access the most advanced technologies.

Even if your organization plans to do the same as it has always done, at the same size and in the same way, there is still an ever-changing technology landscape that should be anticipated and planned for accordingly.

New technologies arrive and mature at an ever-accelerating rate and allow us to do things faster, cheaper, more accurately or just plain different.  A progressive, strategic IT plan like the Krantz one will look at emerging technologies and trends and anticipate when these technologies may be beneficial or even necessary for your organization to adopt or embrace.

Some nonprofits have benefitted significantly from aggressively adopting new technologies such as text-to-donate, while others prefer to wait until technologies are well established and stable before adopting them.  Either way, they need to be on the radar and examined regularly to see if the time or technology maturity is right.

When deciding whether to seriously investigate, pilot or implement new technologies, it is useful to have an agreement with the senior management and board level as to the appetite for innovation and tolerance for risk.  A written statement of guiding principles or a general philosophy regarding technology adoption for nonprofits and charities can act as a useful guide.

  1. Ability to make better technology investments.

All nonprofits struggle to find money to finance non-program activities.  The funding bodies (government agencies, individuals, and foundations) rightly want to see that the bulk of the expenditure is applied against providing the services in the organization’s mission.

However, there is a growing awareness among some funders that investing in operational efficiency and effectiveness can greatly improve the long-term success of nonprofit organizations.  This represents a potentially untapped source of revenue for organizations which can present a clear and cohesive long-term plan, with business cases and rationales behind specific investments that need to be made.

In all cases, a thoughtful and articulate strategic IT plan can help to paint a picture of a competently operating organization and increase general confidence, leading to greater giving.

  1. Ensures responsible Non-profit IT governance.

Governance or oversight of the IT function to ensure investments are made and managed based on the best interests of your not-for-profit organization is a central part of the responsibility of the officers and board.

The documented long-term strategic plan, underlying guiding principles and a timeline for recommended/needed investment is a critical cornerstone of sensible non-profit IT governance since this is the backdrop against which all tactical investment decisions will be made.

We will provide contextual answers to questions such as:

“How secure does our data have to be?”

“Do we desire to be cutting edge or same-old, same-old in our technology usage?”

“In the event of a disaster, how long can we survive without disaster recovery or business continuity?”

The Krantz Secure Technologies IT plan is more action-oriented and can include strategies such as “Convert to VOIP phones in 2018”, “Implement grant tracking and management software in 2018,” etc., based on your immediate and longer-term goals.

Without this forward-looking basis, it is almost impossible for the officers and board of any given nonprofit organization to properly evaluate and steer technology investments.

Alternatively, we can help your organization with non-profit IT services that:

  • Evaluate and navigate cloud computing solutions;
  • Examine your current software needs and independently evaluate potential vendors;
  • Take a more proactive approach to your IT environment;
  • Implement solutions for Office 365, SharePoint and Microsoft CRM;
  • Develop custom software solutions to streamline reporting obligations.

A No-Limits Approach to Your Goal-Oriented Non-Profit IT Management

Putting together a strategic IT plan like this may get tedious in places, but it WILL make a lot of things easier.  The Krantz IT team will have a pretty clear and unambiguous prioritized list of what we are expected to achieve, and therefore a very good idea of what we should be working on at all times.

Your stakeholders, then, will have transparency into what our IT management team is working on.  Best of all, your not-for-profit organization will have a much higher chance of achieving its long-term objectives without unforeseen surprises or obstacles along the way with Krantz delivering the IT management solutions you need.

Call a Krantz IT consultant today at (212) 286-0325 or email us at Sales@KrantzSecure.com for more information on how our NYC IT consultants can get you and your nonprofit organization to a place of optimum IT security, performance, and productivity with a more forward-looking and strategic non-profit IT plan.

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