Blog

Upgrade Your Nonprofit

After working in the nonprofit sector for over 15 years, there are two obvious things that will slow any organization down:
1) lack of funds and 2) lack of resources. But what if there were tools out there that you could use to improve your organization? More time equals more resources to do what you’re passionate about – it could even help you raise more money!

These tools are not some crazy, new gimmick that will knock your socks off – what I’m talking about is: TECHNOLOGY. Now before you roll your eyes and think to yourself “I don’t have time for that” or “I don’t have money for that” I’m here to tell you need to make time for it.

I have worked and volunteered for many different organizations where so much of our time is wasted (yes I said wasted) on processes that are outdated or where the mention of change sends everyone into a panic. The nonprofit sector is like every other sector you must innovate and evolve to grow with the changes in our community.

So why do so many nonprofit say “It’s the way we’ve always done it, so this is how we’re going to do it.”? In my experience it’s 3 things that cause this:

  1. Costs – it’s going to cost too much to get this tech in place;
  2. Lack of resources – the physical tech (laptops, etc) and the right people who can work the new system; it’ll take too much time to set it up, which will take away from your cause
  3. Fear – “If it’s not broke don’t fix it”; “I don’t understand this tech”; “We’re doing just fine without it”

Except you’re not and here’s my response:

  1. Costs
    There are so many free or low costs options out there, all you have to do is look (or have someone look for you). This is an investment in your cause. Plus when all of your processes are streamlined you can spend your time where you should be: helping those who need your organization.
  2. Lack of resources
    Laptops, computers, tablets – the costs are going down every day and you probably already have one in your office just to run your nonprofit. Now the people who understand this technology or who will help you implement is a little tricker. You need to look for people who help you set it up AND train you (this is one of our main objectives with all of our clients at H & Co.). If that’s not in the budget – look for online tools to teach yourself, look for volunteers can focus on just the tech side of things. Even if you hire a someone on a contract basis just to get things flowing I would bet you that your organization will see its fundraising grow.
  3. Fear
    Technology isn’t going anywhere so you might as well embrace it. Forget that you learned to type on a typewriter or only had 10 tv channels growing up – today is a much different place and you’re living in this time. You can only improve the organization that you’re so passionate about.
    J
    Now fear of change is more personal and it might even make you feel like all these new systems that automate your processes will put you out of a job. Think about it for a minute – yes it will change things and it will free up some of your time but won’t that give you MORE time to focus on what’s important? Maybe you’ll have more time to spend on raising money (heck you could take a prospective donor out for a coffee and end up with a big donation)

So what’s all this technology I’m referring too? What do you need? I’ll bet there’s an app for that! At H & Co. we use so many different apps to improve our services and to help our clients focus on what they are passionate about – why wouldn’t the nonprofit sector want that as well?

Is it making you crazy that I haven’t name that magical app that’s going to fix everything? Well you’ll just have to come back for part two where I’ll talk about some of the tech itself.

PLUS I want to hear from you – what process is eating your time? What system isn’t doing what you need it to do – but you’re keeping it in place because you’ve always done it that way? Email me danielle@hawkins-accounting.ca or comment below and I’ll add it to my list.

And remember…

“Technology is nothing. What’s important is that you have a faith in people, that they’re basically good and smart, and if you give them tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them. ” – Steve Jobs

So let’s find those tools to help you do wonderful things!

~Danielle Ramsten

2 Comments

  1. Andy Bothamley

    All non profits should look at techsoup.ca. This is where non-profits and charities can access discounts on software licenses. It takes a while to register but then you have access to full legal licenced versions of MS Office for $39, Photoshop for $36, QuickBooks for $51.

    1. Allison Hawkins

      Awesome resource Andy – thanks for sharing!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *