Nonprofit organizations play a vital role in New Jersey by addressing various societal needs and contributing to the well-being of its residents. These nonprofits also stimulate the state’s economy by creating jobs and generating revenue. According to the NJ Center for Nonprofits’s Trends and Outlooks 2022 report, New Jersey was home to more than 40,000 registered nonprofits, employing 330,000 people, enlisting 1.6 million volunteers, and spending around $50 billion a year. These organizations cover a variety of causes, ranging from healthcare and education to social justice and environmental conservation.
Like most modern organizations, nonprofits use IT for their operations. They also experience various IT issues that can hinder their work, such as having limited IT budgets, cybersecurity threats, and inadequate technical skills. However, being a nonprofit brings a unique set of IT challenges.
What makes IT support for nonprofits unique?
Nonprofit IT support is unique because of a combination of the following:
- Limited resources – Nonprofits often operate on tight budgets, which means IT solutions must be cost-effective and efficient.
- Mission-driven focus – Because the focus of nonprofits is mission-driven, their technology solutions need a more customized approach.
- Diverse range of stakeholders – Nonprofit IT support must consider the needs of donors, volunteers, beneficiaries, and staff. Dong so requires a holistic and flexible approach to technology management.
What are the common IT challenges nonprofits face?
Here are some areas where nonprofits commonly experience IT concerns:
Nonprofits need to balance their financial sustainability with their mission-driven goals. They often operate on tight budgets, allocating every dollar to their programs and services. This makes it difficult to invest in essential IT infrastructure, software, and cybersecurity measures. Often, nonprofits must make tough decisions, choosing between technology upgrades and direct service provision.
According to the Technology Challenges Faced in the Nonprofit Sector, and Solutions 2021 report, the majority of nonprofits still use outdated technology. Most of them host their emails, websites, and shared drives on an in-house server, which increases both cybersecurity risks and maintenance expenses.
The ideal cybercrime victim is not a huge organization that can afford robust cybersecurity, but one that’s easy to hack but has a lot to lose. Unfortunately, most nonprofits fit that description. Many nonprofits handle sensitive data from donors, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders. However, they can’t afford to invest in robust cybersecurity measures or hire staff to implement vital security protocols. Also, their reliance on volunteers can make things more difficult to implement cybersecurity best practices.
It is important for nonprofits to keep track of the grants they receive because failure to do so can result in negative publicity, funds cancellation, or worse, criminal prosecution. However, tracking grants can be challenging, especially if it’s decentralized and done manually.
Nonprofits work with a variety of people, from stakeholders and donors to regular employees and volunteers. A lot of organizations also deploy people to do fieldwork. Finding ways to collaborate as a team is a challenge if members are working in different locations.
As nonprofits navigate their growth, their needs change. They may experience fluctuations in funding, shifts in their missions, and program expansion or reduction. Adapting their IT systems to these changes can be complex, especially with limited resources. Nonprofits need to be agile while being cost-effective, which requires their IT infrastructure to be flexible.
What are the best cost-saving IT solutions for nonprofits?
To address these challenges, nonprofit organizations can turn to the following cost-saving IT solutions.
Using the cloud reduces the need for significant investments in hardware and infrastructure. Cloud solutions are easily scalable, allowing nonprofits to adjust their resources as needed. Cloud-based tools also enable data to be accessed from anywhere via the internet, empowering collaboration and remote work. On top of this, they offer enhanced security features as well as reliable data backup and recovery options.
Nonprofits can save money by using open-source tools because these are free to use and have no costly licensing fees. These are powered by a supportive community of developers who provide free, ongoing support, including updates and customization. Open source solutions are often flexible and customizable, allowing nonprofits to examine and modify the source code to meet their specific requirements.
IT equipment and service specialists
Nonprofits can outsource their IT requirements to a managed IT services provider (MSP), enabling them to save on IT personnel costs as well as investments in equipment and software. MSPs can handle security and compliance requirements, and they can easily scale up or down their services according to the nonprofit’s needs. With an expert handling their tech, nonprofits to better focus on their missions.
Why Online Computers is the best partner for your nonprofit
If you’re a nonprofit in and around New Jersey and you’re considering outsourcing your IT needs, partner with Online Computers. Our founder and CEO, Carl Scalzo, brings a wealth of experience from his prior role as the Chief Information Officer of a prominent charitable foundation. He has honed our team’s expertise in addressing the most prevalent IT challenges nonprofits face.
When you partner with us, our IT experts will create a customized plan based on your needs and challenges. They will make the relevant recommendations, propose technology that’s within your budget, and provide appropriate IT support. Want to know more? Contact us today.