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Are you accidentally managing your nonprofits technology needs

Are You Accidentally Managing Your Nonprofits Technology Needs?

Supporting a Nonprofits technology is extremely important to an organizations success and survival. However if you are like most small nonprofits, technology support is a secondary activity until something breaks then everybody wants full time solutions.

If that gives you stage fright, now imaging you are hired as the office assistant or the Executive Director of your Nonprofit organization. You still have the same issues working with your office equipment but I bet you are thinking that somehow, all of your organizations technology resources have become your responsibility! When the resources of a nonprofit organization are scarce and money and true funding do not really exist, an accidental techie situation is a reality. The accidental techie comes about because planning to handle technology was the last thing thought about when you or the organization started. when you and the organization have the same name and the same business function, then that probably means the organization is you. When this occurs to you, you need to step back and get an idea of what you need to do in order to survive. Do not try and solve all your lingering internet, office, voice and CRM technology needs all at the same time. Dive in where it makes sense for you. In other cases you need to get someone to help you. As a business system analyst from the corporate world, I recommend that you get out of this no win situation by following this step-by-step outline to creating an effective system.

You first need to get a comprehensive review of your operating environment. Your opening move is to develop a picture of your current business operation. This includes your entire internet, out of office and in office technology needs. Second, look around and review your support staff, if you have a staff that is. Next establish how you presently make use of and purchase your technology and related computer equipment. Then start thinking about how your organization is protecting itself from disasters and data loss. Finally do some reflection and define how are you managing your technology support role? Have you decide if what you do is effective or is it beyond providing real help anymore.

Next we move on to another piece of building yourself, a get out of technology jail card. You are then required to put together executive board support for your technology initiative. This happens because when you started, the group probably had one PC and dialup. Then as the organization mission became clearer and more defined, technology needs grow by osmosis. They just multiply all by them selves. It is like an organic growth process. One day you go to work and there are needs for 10 people not one person. When the organization you work for equates to a one for one situation, then you should evaluate what your time is worth. When you do this, you have a basis for making sound decisions. Are you spending time doing things that hamper your true mission? If you have a nonprofit board then as the default techie who is really the accidental techie, you have to confront the problem of educating and influencing your organizational policies and measures. You are doing this because you are lacking the foresight or real authority to do so but you have a powerful mission and you can show the value. Your board probably does not understand the need for technology support or the board believes you can do it just like the last person in your role. You need to find a way to make them understand what is at risk if you stay in the role.

Once you complete this process you will know your overall needs. At this point you will have progressed to where you will need funding and it could be a small request to fix an immediate problem. If your nonprofit is growing or your group is a larger organization then you may need to develop a formal request to your non profit board.

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