|Building a Technology Plan - August 2008
In many ways technology is a necessary evil of our fast paced society. It has its positive and negatives. A well thought-out technology plan can help your organization:
There are seven components critical to a technology plan for nonprofits, as outlined by TechSoup, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that provides technology advice and assistance to other nonprofits:
- Increase efficiency in your daily operations.
- Manage your budget and spend money more effectively.
- Build an online community and boost fundraising efforts.
- Give donors more confidence in your organization
- Protect your organization from the impacts of employee turnover.
- Establish leadership and support for your technology plan.
By setting up a technology team, and involving management and staff in establishing goals, you can unite the entire organization behind your technology plan.
- Assess your current resources.
Analyze your existing technology system for how well it is working, what you can save and what you can build on.
- Define your needs.
What new technology solutions do you need, and what can they help you do that you can't do already? How can the Internet improve your operation? Clearly defining your needs will help you in developing an effective technology plan.
- Explore solutions.
Now that you've defined your needs, what are your technology options? What Internet services are cost-effective and could make your jobs easier? The search for appropriate Web services, such as site management, online fundraising management and the like, may require that you call on an Internet consultant for some assistance.
- Put your plan in writing.
Your written plan should document your current resources, needs, solutions and planned uses, as well as your budget. It should be a plan of action, concisely written and specifically tailored to your organization.
- Develop a funding strategy.
Your technology plan will guide you in determining how much money you need to raise, and perhaps how to raise it. Many nonprofit leaders today recommend following a 70/30 rule for spending: For every dollar budgeted for technology, 30 cents goes to actual hardware and software purchases and the remaining 70 cents for training and support.
- Implement the plan and a timeline.
By setting a timeline, assigning responsibilities and evaluating your progress, you will make your technology plan a reality