Does your non-profit organization's IT services align with both your goals and your budget? Properly managing expenses is important for every organization, 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 making the most strategic use of their budget. And 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 typically fall under administrative expenses, so it’s important for non-profit organizations to get the best value and services for their allotted funds. To make their IT funds stretch and make the most impact, they first need to effectively budget for it.
Understanding Your Current State
If your organization's IT budget is constrained, 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 a thorough IT assessment. An IT 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) while providing recommendations to resolve those issues.
The Benefit of Managed IT Services
After you gain insight into your IT environment, it’s important to understand the best IT model for your organization, whether it’s in-house, outsourced, or a mix of both.
Outsourced managed IT support services can not only help make your organization more efficient, but also lend to creating a sustainable, predictable IT budget for future/recurring expenses. Some capabilities to look for that drive efficiency in your budget include:
Automated systems management 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 endpoints 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 solutions are easily scalable and 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 Microsoft 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:
Server Administration: 48% of surveyed organizations (up 10% since 2016)
Systems and Network administration: 44% of surveyed organizations (up 31% since 2016)
In addition, the majority (64%) of organizations surveyed believe that IT is perceived as a strategic partner in their organizations. When you leverage a strategic IT 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.
With the increased threat landscape and security gaps left in place by remote work, having strong cybersecurity policies and plans in place is critical to avoid costly data loss. The average cost of a data breach alone in 2020 was $3.86 million.
Supporting a robust cybersecurity team in-house can be expensive. From hiring and training the right technical talent to the latest security hardware and software needed to protect your organization, your IT budget can disappear quickly if you decide to build your security program internally. Working with an outsourced provider can ensure you have the right tools and resources in place to keep costs down without compromising the quality of your security.
Industry-Leading IT Services
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. From non-profit to association IT services, Dataprise is a leading managed service provider (MSP) for organizations with a cause.
Want to work with an IT expert to learn how you can improve your IT spending? Click below to learn more about Dataprise’s Free IT Assessment.