Technology Strategy: Decision Making for Nonprofit Boards

Written by Philippa Gamse

Many nonprofit organizations struggle, quite understandably, with technology planning and investment. New computers, sophisticated Websites and database systems can be expensive. Staff members may be resistant to change and to learning new applications.

But, to quote a famous saying from my homeland: "penny wise can be pound foolish". Sound and well-thought out purchases inrepparttar short term haverepparttar 133569 potential to save significant resources inrepparttar 133570 medium to long term.

So, how should your Board of Directors and / or your Technology Committee approach technology planning and investment?

One technique is to start out with a "blue-sky" session. First, take an inventory ofrepparttar 133571 capabilities that you currently have, what's working in your operations, and your limitations and frustrations. Then, without consideration of constraints such as cost or staff resources, listrepparttar 133572 things that you should ideally be able to do.

I like to use "What'srepparttar 133573 One Thing" questions for this process to help you focus and prioritize:

* What'srepparttar 133574 One Thing that you're currently doing that is most valued by your constituents? (i.e. Board, members, funders, staff,repparttar 133575 general public . . .) * What'srepparttar 133576 One Thing that you currently don't do that your constituents wish that you would? * What'srepparttar 133577 One Thing that would give you maximum competitive advantage? (or fundraising edge, or whatever is your most burning need . . .)

Look atrepparttar 133578 procedures that are currently absorbing staff time and resources. Is there potential to streamline these, or to recreate them in a way that would be more cost-effective?

For example, many organizations produce small informational leaflets, brief white papers, or regularly updated research findings. These are sold for a few dollars, which may not coverrepparttar 133579 true cost of printing, mailing, and check or credit card processing.

An alternative is to provide these as downloadable e-books on your Website. Whenrepparttar 133580 buyer enters their credit card, they gain instant access to your materials in whatever format you choose - Adobe Acrobat (pdf), Word, html, etc. Once this system is set up, you should have few maintenance or support issues, and you're in business on a 24/7 basis. You can changerepparttar 133581 documents whenever you need to, without leaving stocks of outdated print copies.

Are you using e-mail as effectively as you could? There are two elements to successful implementation of e-mail:

1. Maintaining a comprehensive database of allrepparttar 133582 contacts that your organization has, including appropriate details of your dealings with each one.

This allows you to create personalized, targeted and timely e-mail messages that you can send to selected recipients, such as:

What's 200 Words Have To Do With Your Computer?

Written by Maria Marsala

When I worked on Wall Street, I considered a move from one type of bond department to a new type of department. Even though I had been successful inrepparttar industry for 7 years, I was still afraid I that I wouldn't know how to be successful in my new department. Then I spoke with one ofrepparttar 133568 other traders, George Adelle, who was also moving torepparttar 133569 new department, about my fears. He said I'd do fine... I'd just need to learn some new words and a different way to dorepparttar 133570 math on this security. This conversation forced me to think and what I ended up realizing was that all that separates one thing from another is learning 200 new words! That's not only true for securities... it's true for so many things in life.

Take computers. They come with 200 new words you need to learn. Using email means learning a list of 200 acronyms. Each new program comes with its own 200 words to learn. Actually each new "thing" in life seems to come with its own 200 words! Next time you're about to stress out as you learn something new, remember... its just 200 new words!

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