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There are plenty of common errors in the use of IT, especially for the nonprofit industry. As they say, knowing is half the battle – so what are the most common mistakes in nonprofit IT, and how can you avoid them?
Nonprofits struggle with many challenges that traditional enterprise-based corporations do not, given that they often operate on the bare minimum of resources, staff, and volunteers.
While you’re likely grateful for every last person who gives of their time and talent to assist in the organization’s efforts, they don’t always have all of the skill sets you need to successfully run the operation. This often means that you have to pick up the slack – but everyone has their limitations.
Especially when it comes to IT.
Properly implemented technology isn’t easy to achieve when you are dependent on volunteer labor and have a small budget.
More than that, you have a lot of places you need your money — and personnel — to go. Unfortunately, technology and IT employees are sometimes the last things to be considered in the budget.
All of this means that nonprofits will face the same challenges, and if not handled correctly, experience the same failures:
Do you actually have a plan?
Technology should not just be an afterthought.
Just like your staff, technology is a resource in which you have invested. You wouldn’t hire someone to work at your nonprofit without finding out what they can do, and figuring out where best they would fit in the organization, right?
It should work the same way with your technology.
It’s critical that you align technology to your organizational goals so that you’re not wasting money or technology you’ve already bought.
But, how do you know what the right technology is?
You could do the homework yourself. That’s assuming you have the time do so, and a sufficient understanding of technology to do so.
If you don’t, then you’d be wise to seek the help of an expert Baltimore IT services company – especially one that’s specifically recognized for their IT work with nonprofits like yours.
For example, Tier One Technology Partners is currently rated #5 out of the top 100 nonprofit IT solution providers by ChannelE2E – it’s this kind of verified expertise that you can enlist to help you develop an actionable IT plan.
Is your infrastructure reliable?
Given how crucial technology is to everyday tasks at your nonprofit, you need to make sure your infrastructure is up to the task of handling it.
That means taking stock of your hardware and determining if it is capable of supporting your daily operations without needing to be fixed repeatedly.
You should know the answers to questions such as…
What do these questions tell you?
How much time you and your staff spend dealing with the hardware (and the greater infrastructure) that just doesn’t work.
This is called downtime – it’s every minute you can’t work because your technology won’t work. And wasted time is wasted money.
That’s why you need to make sure your infrastructure is up to the task of supporting what you do every day – whether that means investing in new hardware, enlisting support from a Baltimore IT company that can fix it for good, or otherwise.
Are you spending money on the right technology?
You’ve only got so much money to work with, right?
Then why are you spending it on the wrong technology?
By “wrong” technology, we mean…
This refers to your consumer-grade, free-trial (i.e. cheap) technology.
Sure, it may be the least expensive option, but if it doesn’t work well, or doesn’t last long, was it really worth your money?
Technology you don’t need.
At the other end of the spectrum are the big, gimmick purchases that don’t actually do that much for your nonprofit.
A smart hub from Google or Amazon may be cool, but do you really need it?
The same goes for a massive cloud suite subscription, like Microsoft Office 365 Business.
Not only is it possibly bigger than you actually require, but with more research (or the right assistance), you could have found out that Microsoft offers a plan specifically for nonprofits!
All of this is to say that you shouldn’t make IT purchases without doing your homework first. By researching potential options and comparing what they offer you, you can get the most bang for your buck.
Alternatively, you can also get a second opinion from a Baltimore IT company that likely already has experience with and knowledge of what you should be investing in.
Ready to speak with a member of our IT support and managed IT services team? Use the form to the right to book an initial consultation with your next Baltimore IT company.