Technology changes quickly, and if your main job isn’t to keep up with those changes then efficiently managing and using it to its full potential can be overwhelming. As a non-profit, advancing your mission is your main goal, as it should be, and this is why many nonprofits are starting to place their technology in the hands of a Managed Service Provider.
For MSPs, technology is our main job, meaning you’re free to get back to what you do best.
There are a lot of reasons why a nonprofit might move to an MSP, but everything really comes down to a few large concerns: limited staff & budget, the need for data security, and a lack of productivity/efficiency around technology.
Limited Staff & Limited Budget
Many nonprofits are working with a limited paid staff trying to coordinate countless volunteers and the day-to-day operations of the nonprofit. And as a nonprofit, the majority of your budget is probably going toward helping others, not developing and paying an in-house IT staff. But like we mentioned earlier technology is changing constantly and is critical to keeping your organization working effectively, so having some sort of IT expertise is usually required for any size of organization.
In our experience, that limited budget usually leads to having one “IT Guy” that is beyond overwhelmed and/or paying unexpected fees for hourly “break/fix” IT service companies. An MSP, on the other hand, follows a fixed price model, meaning that you have access to an entire team of experts for a consistent price that can be budgeted for in advance.
If you do happen to be a larger organization, having an MSP partner means that your current IT staff has more time to focus on strategic projects and making sure your technology is in line with your future growth.
The Need for Data Security
In the days of online bill pay, online shopping and Venmo/Paypal, it’s pretty obvious that your donors are going to want to make donations online. This means that you are responsible for the safety of donor information, potentially including credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information. Given the sensitivity of that data, you can’t afford to be lax around the security of your computers and network. Having the right security will help ensure that you don’t follow in the footsteps of the Utah Food Bank, who in 2015 had the personal information of roughly 10,000 donors exposed online.
Another important aspect of security for nonprofits revolves around volunteers. Depending on the organization size, you may have volunteers with your organization’s data on their personal devices. It’s important to have rules and policies in place to keep that information secure and have the ability to remove it should they no longer volunteer for the organization. (For a basic overview on how this can be done check out our post on Mobile Device Management.)
Technology for Productivity and Efficiency
There’s a lot that can be said about technology being able to increase productivity and efficiency.
- A solid network → Increased uptime
- Well thought out and developed processes → Less time spent onboarding/offboarding employees or on figuring out what to do should an emergency arise
- Helpdesk technicians to call → More time working and less time doing this:
And these are just the basics.
Having a relationship with an MSP also means that you have someone to help introduce things like cloud services, giving your employees and volunteers the ability to save, share, and edit documents all in one place. They can also make it possible for everyone to work anytime and from anywhere, securely, with a VPN.
Your MSP also gives you access to a team of experts should you have a big project, like an email migration or possibly a donor drive in which you expect a spike in website/network traffic and need to make sure you can handle it.
If we haven’t already convinced you that MSPs can be a huge asset to nonprofits, we’ve got one more reason.
Your time is important.
As a nonprofit you’re working hard to help those and the community around you and make your mission a reality, not to fix day-to-day issues or resolve security concerns. Your technology should be used to the benefit and not the detriment of your organization and your goals.