By nature, non-profit organizations are very lean. They need to stretch every dollar as far as possible to ensure they can positively impact their community to the fullest extent. These tight budget constraints can sometimes cause certain aspects of the organization to be thrown on the back burner. Many times, technology is one of those aspects.
It makes sense. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The problem with dated technology is that it can cost you time and money. We were recently in communication with a non-profit organization that had just thrown out their machines running Windows 95! Remember that the right tech upgrades can increase productivity and open up new avenues for donations and fundraisers. But before we talk about the benefits, let’s look at what your dated technology is costing you.
Even if you take perfect care of your computers, laptops, tablets, etc. they will eventually become outdated. They will get slower and slower and might even start to freeze on you. This means more downtime that could be used productively is instead spent restarting or simply waiting for things to load. Older machines also lack the processing power for the newest software releases and higher internet speeds.
The perfect example of this would be when the organization is experiencing slow internet speeds, so they contact their service provider and ask to upgrade the speed. They pay more for what they believe will be faster internet load times and download/upload speeds. The problems persist because the network equipment (routers, firewalls, computers) is too old to operate at the new speed. Slow and outdated equipment will also leave the younger employees frustrated, leading to an older workforce and increased turnover.
Competition & Security
Outdated technology makes it harder to compete with similar non-profits who are following the IT trends. Slow speeds and old software make it harder to provide a quality experience for your volunteers, donors, and others who contribute to your organization’s success. If you want to stay competitive long-term, consider creating a schedule that outlines when you’ll be trading in and upgrading your equipment and which pieces you’ll be upgrading. That way, you can plan for the cost of staying up to date.
Older computers and laptops are also more susceptible to security threats, putting all of your important data at risk. At some point, aging systems are no longer supported by their manufacturers and thus cannot install the latest security patches. Not to mention that hackers have had more time to find access to older systems. If you value your private data, you must keep your systems and software up to date.
Benefits Of Better Technology
Besides the increase in productivity, the fact that you can stay more competitive long-term, and the data security we outlined above, newer technologies can help you utilize the data you gather to reach your goals. Cloud computing enables data from donor lists, email marketing, social media platforms, and more to be stored in a central location that can be easily organized and accessed by any and all who need it. Of course, the more information you gather on your donors, the more you can understand their habits and gauge the success of your fundraising campaigns.
The younger generation is passionate about many different causes and they aren’t about to write out a check to donate and put it in the mail. In fact, they probably don’t even own a checkbook! They’re looking for quick and easy ways to provide support for issues they care about. Using dated systems makes it more difficult for younger donors to make donations or even find out who you are and what you do. They are expecting to be able to press a few buttons and have funds instantly transferred from their cards or bank accounts to non-profit organizations they support. Don’t miss out on an entire generation by using outdated technology.
Now that you understand why it is so important to keep your technology up to date, let’s take a look at some affordable resources you can use to access new technology for your non-profit organization.
TechSoup provides free or low-cost hardware and software for non-profit organizations.
Microsoft offers free and discounted products for non-profit organizations.
Canva is a powerful and easy-to-use design tool that is offered to non-profits for free.
Check out Donorbox’s list of free tools and resources for non-profits.
Also offers a list of free and affordable software options for non-profits.
There are plenty of resources and tools available for cash-strapped non-profit organizations. If you don’t see a non-profit discount for your favorite software, just contact them and ask! Don’t know where to start? Feel free to contact our team for a technology assessment. You can schedule a free consultation HERE.