In the not-for-profit sector, every dollar counts. Competition is high and resources are stretched to meet funding goals, which is why you need to work in the most efficient and productive way possible.
Of course, technology plays a role in achieving this. Rather than cutting the amount of IT resources you utilise, why not try the range of discounted IT systems available as the most cost-effective?
This approach has a range of benefits and helps your not for profit in five key ways:
Productivity is a key concern in any organisation, but in the NFP sector, every minute is accountable. Individuals working for a NFP need to be able to get as much out of their time as possible and this is where technology is the greatest tool.
There are a few discounted IT solutions that Australian NFPs can choose from to help with productivity, however, Microsoft Office 365 is one of the most complete productivity ecosystems which includes:
- A cloud document management system, called SharePoint, to save you time organising, sharing and securing your digital resources;
- Cloud storage with OneDrive, allowing to move away from onsite infrastructure and store, share, sync and update your work files from any device and from anywhere; and
- A whole range of cloud business apps, such as Teams and Planner, for real business mobility and collaboration. Drive productivity gains and speed up decision-making processes by having access to information on any device, no matter the location or type of application.
Communication and collaboration
Integrated communication and collaboration solutions include everything from data management, intranets, cloud storage solutions, unified communications, instant messaging and team sites. Real business collaboration cannot be achieved with only one product, but rather with a set of solutions that provide a homogeneous user-interface and experience over multiple device types.
A few cloud collaboration solutions are discounted for Australian NFPs and allow for your teams to organise internal tasks, documents and communication whilst accessing them from anywhere and on any device. For example, by changing you phone systems to Unified Communications or Skype for Business, you also give your staff access to instant messaging, audio/video communication, and online meetings when they are in or out of the office.
Discounted, or even free cloud project management tools, such as MS Teams, Planner or Trello allow teams to work together within one app or hub where you can create and manage project plans, assign tasks and track project progress. Task delegation and collaboration is made simple, so you can be assured that each team member is working efficiently.
Protection and data security
There two key layers to consider when investing in the protection of your NFP that can be addressed through discounted technology.
The most basic and must have solutions are anti-virus software. ConnectingUp, an IT directory for NFPs, offers several anti-virus and security software by donation, such as Norton, Veritas and Symantec, which are available to eligible NFPs at discounted rates. This allows you to keep your donor information and other confidential data concerning finances, grants and funding secure.
The second layer involves information and data security, such as email filtering and encryption. Some software and apps invest heavily in privacy and encryption features to cater for people accessing company information on different devices. The Office 365 Security & Compliance Center is part of some discounted Office 365 packages and is designed to help meet your organisation’s needs for content security and data usage compliance with legal, regulatory, and technical standards.
Consistency and up to date technology
It’s no secret that securing donations, grants and alternate funding needs to be done at minimal cost in order to maximise the return it can have on your organisation. Discounted IT solutions will not only save your organisation money by accessing cheaper prices but also save you time by optimising your productivity and efficiency using the best IT products at a fraction of the cost.
This two-way benefit means you can upgrade technologies, offer your staff the same version of software and apps, and keep up to date with the best IT solutions without blowing your budget.
A lot of not for profits are unsure of where they stand in regard to their IT needs, where they could be saving money and how they can improve performance. It always pays to engage the experts. Thankfully, making the jump to improving your IT can be supported by a good IT partner. The right IT partner will have a relationship with vendors that offer discounted IT to NFPs and will help you pick the right IT solutions for you. Not only that, they will provide strategic guidance, consultancy and tailor the training towards your industry.
Since Bremmar regularly helps NFPs identify and leverage technology that is suited to their needs, we’d like to share our best tips with you. We have transferred the main lessons learnt on business productivity and collaboration from working with leading NFPs and turned them into a single ebook: