Expertise Beyond the Numbers

Non-Profits & Technology: Strategies, Systems, and Security Best Practices for Success

Donor retention, sustainability, and resource allocation: these are common challenges faced by many non-profits. However, non-profits often struggle to navigate the power of technology, and prioritize the role it can play in helping to solve these critical challenges and further their mission.

Non-profits can use technology in more efficient and effective ways to achieve goals and boost outcomes. This was the overarching theme of an event hosted by the Baltimore Business Journal earlier this summer. During this event, professionals from local non-profits, boards, and industry service providers convened and listened to a distinguished panel discuss technology trends and success stories involving social media, cybersecurity, and infrastructure.

SC&H Group Technology Advisory Principal Greg Tselikis participated as a featured panelist and highlighted three best practices non-profits should consider when evaluating their technology strategy. These best practices can help non-profits identify opportunities to optimize spend, further their mission, and enable growth by reaching more constituents.

  • Align Technology Strategies to Organizational Goals

Non-profits make significant technology investments in an already resource-constrained environment. Often, organizations view technology as a necessary expense versus a competitive necessity. Because of this, technology is many times an afterthought, and the investments made may fall short of expectations if they are not delivering results.

Today, the focus is no longer on purely maintaining technology systems. Instead, it’s on strategic planning, and implementing proactive technology solutions as a key to long-term success.

Because of this, it is critical to properly align the right technology to your organizational goals. But, how do you know which strategies and solutions are the “right” fit?

Organizations must determine how technology fits into their critical path to success. By examining technology in relation to culture, processes, and financials, non-profits can generate greater value while decreasing risk.

  • Evaluate Solutions Providing Industry-Specific Insights

Many non-profits we work with are typically struggling with legacy technology systems that are cumbersome, difficult to fully manage, and unfortunately don’t provide the desired ROI. However, with the rise of new and more flexible industry-specific enterprise infrastructure solutions and cloud offerings, non-profits can get “technology out of the back closet,” and into the forefront.

For instance, what if your non-profit had the ability to collect donor data from different outreach channels, and then analyze this information in a centralized location? What if this insight allowed your organization to identify patterns and trends that could positively influence your next campaign, and generate higher returns?

There are many large cloud vendors now offering customized, industry-specific solutions that can remove data silos, optimize resources, and amplify operations. By exploring alternative options and embracing new innovations, it is possible to leverage business intelligence solutions that offer results-driven solutions versus constant challenges.

  • Follow Information Security Protocols

Information security remains top of mind for non-profit executives, specifically, how to mitigate risk and protect an organization given budget constraints.

With more than 2,000 attacks carried out in June alone by the malware *ExPetr*, and in the wake of WannaCry earlier this year, preparation is key to effectively prevent ransomware and cyberattacks. As cyber threats continue to rise, and become a new reality, there are budget-friendly fundamental steps your organization should take to protect your non-profit from becoming a victim of the next major malware crisis.

One of the best ways to prepare your non-profit is to stay current with all appropriate software and system updates. Additionally, be sure to verify that updates are initiated by a trusted source. Further, you can check to make sure you are backing up all critical data, and also validate that you can properly recover and retain historical data.

Critical components of cyber preparedness also include employee education, and having a pre-established response plan in the unfortunate event of a breach. By teaching employees to “think before clicking”, you can establish an organization-wide, risk-conscious culture.

Technology can be a powerful tool to promote favorable outcomes when solutions are properly aligned with the objectives of the non-profit organization. By assessing technology in relation to business goals, evaluating industry-specific solutions, and following information security protocols, non-profits can use technology to help facilitate growth and solve mission-critical challenges.

Are you looking for guidance on how to implement these best practices? Or, looking to assess how technology can help your non-profit maximize ROI and achieve organizational goals? Contact SC&H Group’s Technology Advisory practice here to learn more about strategies and solutions that can yield greater cost reduction, efficiency, and stakeholder satisfaction.