Today’s non-profit organization is tomorrow’s non-profit organization. While this might not be a newsflash, the accelerating pace of change and technological advancement means that the very nature of what it means to be a non-profit is changing rapidly. Non-profits are now competing with for-profit companies in ways they never have before. That’s why bringing a technologist on retainer can help your nonprofit thrive in the digital age. Your organization will benefit from insights and guidance around technology, data, artificial intelligence, and more. Whether you hire a full-time technologist or bring one on retainer as an independent consultant, there are several ways you can use these types of services to your advantage as a non-profit.
Serve as your organization’s technology expert.
You may have some staff members who are more technically inclined than others, but sometimes even the most knowledgeable person struggles to make the time for the projects and tasks that fall under their responsibilities. Bringing in a technologist on retainer can help your organization make the most of your existing technology resources so everyone can stay on task. For example, if you have an online donation form that’s not up to par, your technologist can help your organization identify the fastest and most affordable way to get that tool up to speed. Bringing in a high-level thinker with a broad view of the current technology landscape can also help your organization avoid spending too much money on tools you don’t actually need.
Help determine where to invest your time and money
If your organization is like most, you’re fighting an uphill battle every day just to keep things running smoothly. The best way to avoid being overwhelmed is to put a system in place to determine how to invest your time and money. A great place to start is by bringing a technologist on retainer who can help your organization determine where to invest your time and money. Bringing in an outside perspective can help you make sense of your organization’s current priorities, as well as examine upcoming projects to determine which are most important. A technologist can also help you determine which vendors are best for your organization and help you create a strategy for developing relationships with potential vendors.
Build relationships with vendors
As your organization grows, it’s likely that you’ll need to bring in outside vendors to help you meet your goals. Bringing a technologist on retainer can help you build relationships with vendors and get a better sense of who’s out there, what they do, and how they are able to meet the needs of your organization. Your technologist can help you create a list of vendors that you rely on and then make sure that you are consistently communicating with them, making payments on time, and addressing any issues or concerns that arise.
Offer mentorship and training for your staff
As technologies change, even the most seasoned employees can benefit from regular training and mentorship on topics like cybersecurity, GDPR compliance, and how to use new tools and technologies effectively. Bringing a technologist on retainer can help your organization stay on top of emerging trends and proactively prepare your team for inevitable changes. For example, your organization is likely collecting and storing a ton of data — but what are you doing with it? While many non-profits are exploring ways to use data for predictive analysis, machine learning, and AI, there are also a few simple things you can do with it right now to improve your operations. For example, storing donor information and contact details in a CRM like Salesforce can help your organization stay in touch with donors and prospective donors in an effective and efficient way.
Monitor progress and provide real-time insights
One of the most exciting ways that a technologist can benefit your organization is by monitoring progress and providing real-time insights. How is your organization performing? What are the metrics that your organization wants to be tracking? What are the biggest challenges facing your team? Bringing a technologist on retainer can help you track your organization’s progress by monitoring your metrics and providing real-time insights. For example, your technologist can help you track donor acquisition and conversion rates, track which donors give and when, and identify trends that can help you improve your marketing strategy. Your technologist can also monitor how your website is performing and suggest ways to improve.
Maintain computers and printers
As a nonprofit, you’re likely dealing with several different types of computers and printers. It’s likely that you have some equipment that is several years old, a few pieces that are brand new, and everything in between. Additionally, your organization may use off-the-shelf software, cloud-based tools, or custom-built applications. All of this makes it very difficult to keep your technology running smoothly. Bringing a technologist on retainer can help your organization proactively maintain computers and printers. Your technologist can work with your IT department to create a maintenance schedule for your most important computers and printers. This will help keep your organization running smoothly and efficiently.
Keep IT costs under control
Technology costs money, but it doesn’t have to break your budget. Bringing a technologist on retainer can help your organization keep technology costs under control. For example, if you have employees who use personal devices for work purposes, your technologist can help you ensure that the data that you’re collecting is safe, secure, and retrievable. This will help keep your organization’s data safe and your employees’ private information. Additionally, if your organization uses any software that is not off-the-shelf, your technologist can help with maintenance and support costs.
Alleviate frustrations with technology
Technology is meant to make your life easier, but sometimes it can feel like a huge frustration. If your organization is experiencing any of the following frustrations with technology, bringing in a technologist on retainer can help alleviate them. Bringing a technologist on retainer can help your organization with several common frustrations with technology. For example, if you’re having trouble with your email, your technologist can help you troubleshoot and identify the root cause of the issue. Additionally, if your organization is experiencing issues with your website or online donation form, your technologist can help identify the cause and suggest ways to get things back on track.
Helping the team with password management
Password management is a huge pain for everyone, especially for nonprofit employees who have to log into several different applications and keep track of passwords. If your organization has tried to address password management and found that it just hasn’t worked, bringing in a technologist on retainer can help solve the problem. Your technologist can help your organization choose the best password management solution and implement it across your team.
Non-profit organizations have long been at the forefront of helping others, opening doors to education, and making a difference in the world. However, in this digital age, with more ways to communicate, learn, and grow in the palm of your hand, these organizations must keep up with the latest technologies and advancements to continue their mission. Bringing a technologist on retainer can help your organization stay on top of ongoing trends and changes in the technology landscape.
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