Digitising operations may seem like a big step for nonprofits. Consider the potential time and costs involved in rolling out new software or revamping the entire IT infrastructure, and it is not hard to see why these organisations are apprehensive about stepping up their technology game.
Yet recent advancements like cloud computing are offering the benefits of digitisation without those setbacks. Nonprofits can look forward to boosting staff productivity and streamlining operations to better focus on their main task at hand: addressing hard hitting social issues and easing the burdens of the communities they serve.
Not convinced yet? Here are four sure signs it is time for a nonprofit to start rethinking its IT.
Inability to work remotely
Some nonprofits have a dispersed and highly mobile workforce where workers are constantly on the move, be it to visit a beneficiary or meet with government officials. While necessary, it may hinder other work responsibilities, such as coordinating referrals, answering volunteer enquiries and filing reports, which require access to emails and documents.
Nonprofits can consider using cloud-based tools like Office 365, so staff can work from wherever they are. Being able to work remotely can boost productivity and shorten administrative procedures, ultimately enabling them to maximise the impact of their work.
Difficulty collaborating across locations
Collaboration is vital for a nonprofit that is operating across a wide geographical area and different time zones. Yet conducting boardroom meetings, brainstorming for the next fundraising campaign and rolling out new initiatives can be complicated when staff from various locations are unable to collaborate effectively, causing unwanted delays that could potential impact the quality of its services. Social network platforms such as Yammer and Skype for Business are great ways for nonprofits to share information, facilitate discussions and work even better. The plus point? It helps forge stronger relationships among employees despite being located miles from each other.
No central repository for critical documents
As nonprofits thrive to reach new communities and expand their impact, they will need to face the realities of managing large amounts of information. Think of the reports to be generated and analyses to be done. The complexity in performing these tasks will only be compounded when workers have a hard time finding the data and documents they need.
Having a database manager, Microsoft SQL Server for instance, can simplify this process and at the same time offer great benefits, such as allowing staff to access information from anywhere, and without compromising data integrity. This enables staff to get more work done, in and beyond the office.
Inadequate insight into data collected
While most nonprofits are collecting a wealth of data, few know what to do with it—and even fewer say that their decisions are data-driven. Extracting insights is crucial for a nonprofit to improve its services and further its cause, as analytics helps it to assess the effectiveness of a social programme, understand the behaviour of beneficiaries and identify trends within certain demographics. Nonprofits can take a step further by deploying visual business analytics tools, like Microsoft Power BI, to transform their data into stunning visualisations that tell a story instantly.
If these are symptoms you have identified in your nonprofit, Microsoft can help you run your organisation more effectively by offering software and solutions at a discount, or even for free. Find out how you can get hold of these solutions through our for nonprofits, or discover more about these solutions at our Microsoft Philanthropies page.