Technology is evolving rapidly, and organizations large and small — nonprofit and for-profit — face many of the same challenges when it comes to information technology. Document sharing across multiple platforms; digitizing files and records; facilitating team communications; remote access solutions; managed print systems; and security vulnerabilities are issues common to most modern organizations.
However, many nonprofit organizations and trade associations do not have dedicated IT departments. Outsourcing some or all of their IT functions can free up staff, time and money to allow non profits and associations to focus on their respective missions, better serve their members, and thrive.
According the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the US. And in varying degrees, they all have IT issues—who doesn't? In fact, it's for this reason that the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) hosts its annual Technology Conference and Expo in the Washington, DC area to give perspective and insight into the most pressing technology issues facing associations and nonprofits.
Whether they contract with a managed services provider or establish their own IT departments, associations and nonprofits face these three basic challenges:
- Productivity and collaboration
Read on to learn more.
1. Productivity and Collaboration
Most non-profits and associations know the importance of doing more with less. Although technology may not be core to every association’s mission, most wrestle with implementing the right solutions to common technology challenges. Digitizing and filing records; streamlining workflows; enabling workers to coordinate schedules and tasks; and facilitating phone, email and messaging across multiple platforms is an essential IT function.
Nonprofits and associations are no different than any other enterprises. Flexibility and productivity on the go are just as important to them as well. A mobile strategy should allow workers to work from different locations and be as productive as if they were in the office.
A secure remote infrastructure should have centralized management for all devices used in the enterprise. It should deploy secure remote access to work systems and documents. Also, remote troubleshooting capabilities are essential.
Nonprofits and associations face the same security vulnerabilities as businesses. According to a Microsoft survey, 72 percent of small businesses have experienced some type of security breach. Additionally, nonprofits and associations must consider disaster preparedness and other unexpected events.
Firewalls should be enabled. Anti-virus software for all business devices as well as computers and mobile devices should be regularly updated. All operating systems and apps should also be continuously updated. Require and implement strong passwords for computers and mobile devices.
RELATED: 5 Key Principles for Data Security
This is by no means a total IT approach, but these basics should benefit and enhance any nonprofit to better complete its mission. In the meantime, check out our white paper to learn how to enhance your nonprofit or association by knowing which questions to ask when selecting the best cloud services provider for you.