Every organisation, be it in the ‘profit’ or ‘non-profit’ sector, needs an IT strategy. A strong technology strategy gives an organisation a roadmap to follow, helps it to identify competing priorities and decide on resources, and allows the business to track and monitor performance against planning.
All strategies should be outcome-driven and aligned with the goals of your stakeholders. Through our experience with developing strategies for NFPs, we have learnt that most organisations use their annual budgeting activity to drive strategy when in reality the opposite approach is smarter – your business goals, mission and IT strategy should help drive your budget.
Tips to starting your NFP IT strategy
Strategy is not just planning or setting goals. It’s about understanding your business model and assessing your NPF’s unique strengths within the non-profit environment. A winning IT strategy should evaluate your organisation’s current position and reflect your business and technology objectives for the coming years. It should provide the direction needed to achieve an IT environment that supports the broader organisational plan, including the flexibility to make adjustments as required.
Your financial and IT history should play an important role in your strategy. By analysing more than a year’s worth of trends in revenue, expenses and growth you can see which income streams are reliable, what areas are more costly and where you can find savings options. The same goes for your IT, which you can evaluate reoccurring IT issues and poor performance to discover areas of volatility as well as most adopted technology within the organisation and innovation that previously helped achieve strategic goals.
Consider the organisation’s current budget decisions with long-term goals. The decisions your NFP makes today will impact on your long-term goals and objectives. Your budget should be carefully planned each year to drive you closer to achieving strategic goals, i.e. what financial changes do you need to make now so you can manage the possible risks of your strategy?
Creating an NFP IT strategy on a limited budget
We have worked with many NFPs and we know, the non-profit sector often struggles with funding. But that shouldn’t prevent you from developing a strong strategy and working consistently towards IT! That’s why we put together some key areas you can focus on when trying to create an IT strategy with a limited budget:
1. Assess and prioritise your organisation’s objectives, and then identify the technology features that will best fulfil these needs.
2. Conduct a review of your IT infrastructure and business systems to gain an understanding of what you have in place, allowing you to identify and eliminate risks, inefficiencies, hidden costs and unnecessary licenses or subscriptions.
3. Perform a SWOT analysis by application, including investigating enhancements and integration of existing products/applications. This will allow you to identify applications bottlenecks and the need to implement new products.
4. Develop a 3- to 5-year strategic plan that maximises the investment return on your operating costs and capital expenditure.
5. Select only reputable equipment from trustworthy suppliers. Many vendors offer substantial discounts for NFPs and you can usually have access to top and reliable technology at a fraction of the cost!
6. Partner with an experienced IT service provider – one that has demonstrated success in an environment similar to your own and that has other clients in your sector. They’ll understand the intricacies of your industry and they’ll be familiar with the vendors that offer discounted or free products to NFPs, thereby enabling your organisation with the most cost-effective solution to your needs.
Developing an IT strategy is a continual process as your NFP’s environment should be constantly evolving. The emergence of new technologies, sudden adjustments to available funding, or shifts in demand for your services can easily disrupt your plans.
To remain competitive, it may be useful to engage an experienced service provider like Bremmar to help you develop a flexible and effective technology strategy. We have built long-lasting relationships with many NFPs and we know and understand the intricacies of your sector! We can help, contact us today on 1300-991-351 or email email@example.com for a free initial consultation.