Properly managing expenses is important for every business, but for many mission-driven organizations, it is the difference between success and failure. These organizations largely depend on the generosity of donors and volunteers to financially back their mission, and as a result, the organization is accountable for showing how those dollars are spent. This is often broken into fundraising, administrative, and program expenses, with the largest percentage ideally dedicated to the services it delivers (i.e., program expenses).
IT services fall under administrative expenses, so it’s important for mission-driven organizations to get the best value and services for their allotted funds. To make their IT budget stretch and get the best value, they first need to effectively budget for it.
If your mission-driven organization struggles with this, you may need to first gain a better understanding of your current IT posture to properly budget for future IT expenses. As a first step, conduct an IT assessment. This assessment analyzes all the technology in your environment (e.g., servers, workstations, networking devices, software, cloud solutions) and identifies what could be streamlined. In addition, it determines if you qualify for discounts and grants (for example, Microsoft offers non-profit discounts on some of its licensing). This assessment also brings to light any technology-related issues staff members encounter regularly that prevent them from focusing on their primary job function (e.g., contacting potential donors, planning fundraising events, coordinating community outreaches), and provides recommendations to resolve those issues.
After you gain insight into your IT environment, it’s important to have scalable, managed IT support services that not only help make your organization more efficient but allows you to easily budget for future recurring IT expenses. Some capabilities to look for that drive efficiency include:
This feature is essential for proactively maintaining the health of your IT equipment. Some tasks that can be automated include:
- Low disk space detection and remediation – Prevents downtime due to disk capacity and fragmentation
- Anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spyware scans – Detects cyber threats on your machine before they can cause significant damage on your machine or in your network
- Software patch management – Applies critical manufacturer patches to applications and operating systems, improving features, fixing glitches, and protecting the application from exploitation
Cloud Services: These are easily scalable solutions that offer greater features and security than their on-premise counterparts. In addition, they allow for improved collaboration among staff because data is accessible anywhere with an Internet connection. Some examples include Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.
Based on a recent Technology Affinity Group State of Philanthropy Tech Survey, there will be an upward trend in philanthropy organizations outsourcing their IT services. For example, more organizations have fully outsourced the following:
- Email: 48% of surveyed organizations (up 10% since 2016)
- Network administration: 67% of surveyed organizations (up 31% since 2016)
In addition, the majority (60%) of organizations surveyed believe that IT is perceived as a strategic partner in their organizations. When you leverage a strategic partner for your IT services, your mission becomes their mission, allowing you to retain focus on reaching a larger audience, obtaining more funds, and positively affecting more lives.
When your IT budget is limited and your organization is unsure where its next dollar is coming from, it’s important not to downplay the role technology plays in helping you accomplish your mission. By gaining a better insight into your technology and leveraging scalable IT services, you gain efficiency and obtain the best value for your IT budget.
Want to work with an IT expert to learn how you can improve your IT spending? Click here to learn more about Dataprise’s Free IT Assessment.