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Technology capacity building for nonprofits

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Community IT Innovators’ Katherine Mowers, Senior Consultant, and Matthew Eshleman, Director of Professional Network Services, shared at the about their work to build nonprofit capacity through …

Community IT Innovators’ Katherine Mowers, Senior Consultant, and Matthew Eshleman, Director of Professional Network Services, shared at the about their work to build nonprofit capacity through strategic assessment and implementation of technology, at the Anne Arundel Funders Roundtable Feb. 23, 2012, and event sponsored by Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.

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  • Does the organization, from top to bottom, fully support the project and understand its value andimpact?There are few operational projects more time consuming and difficult than selecting and thenimplementing a new software system, especially when it affects the whole organization.Consequently, these projects cannot be isolated in one department, and require the support of allsenior management. They are difficult because staff must continue to manage their normal day‐todayduties, while at the same time trying to choose and implement a system they likely have neverused, and to translate their current processes into the way the new system will work. Moreover, astechnology becomes further embedded in every aspect of an organization, especially its public‐facingside, there is less and less room for error, which increases the risks and raises the importance of thenew system.Project team: Form a multi‐disciplinary team that will lead the internal project of analyzing yourorganization’s processes and technology needs, and that will serve as the core decision‐making body.The team must be led by a strong project manager, and its direction and composition must have theblessing of senior management, if not their direct involvement. Software selection of key systemscannot be relegated to the IT department, as it is not mainly a technology issue. It should be abusiness development project with strategic value to the whole organization.• Document Requirements: Through a discovery process that involves every appropriate department,create a summary of requirements where you prioritize the functional needs, list the main strategicdrivers, describe the scope of the project, and note technology and integration requirements. Thisdocument will serve as the initial basis of evaluating the software systems and vendors. This will be aworking document, as you will become aware of other needs as you evaluate systems.
  • What really matters is people, not software and hardware – No matter how good the product, it isnot “the solution” on its own. If people are not prepared for the change, trained on the productappropriately, and encouraged to develop the professional skills required of their position, the returnon investment will be greatly diminished. Investing in people makes the greatest difference. Also,there should be an information manager or database administrator that stays abreast of how thesystem is being used, what new features and training are needed, whether the data is accurate andbeing used correctly, and keeps staff accountable to procedures.
  • These are people solutions. Technology is only as good as the ability of the staff to use it. Cloud solutions just enable you to make bad decisions faster.No matter how good the product, it isnot “the solution” on its own. If people are not prepared for the change, trained on the productappropriately, and encouraged to develop the professional skills required of their position, the returnon investment will be greatly diminished. Investing in people makes the greatest difference.Vendor examples are in the next two slides
  • These are people solutions. Technology is only as good as the ability of the staff to use it. Cloud solutions just enable you to make bad decisions faster.No matter how good the product, it isnot “the solution” on its own. If people are not prepared for the change, trained on the productappropriately, and encouraged to develop the professional skills required of their position, the returnon investment will be greatly diminished. Investing in people makes the greatest difference.Vendor examples are in the next two slides
  • Transcript

    • 1. Anne Arundel Funders Roundtable Nonprofit Technology February 23, 2012 Matthew Eshleman, Dir. of Professional Services Katherine Mowers, Senior Consultant
    • 2. Outline• About Community IT Innovators• Assessing the needs of nonprofit organizations• Funder considerations in building the capacity of a nonprofit through a new technology• Cost expectations• Trends• Additional resources
    • 3. About Community IT Innovators• 18 years of experience with an exclusive focus on nonprofit technology needs• Over 900 nonprofit client engagements in our history• 150 ongoing client relationships in which we provide technology guidance and support• As a 40-person IT consulting firm Community IT Innovators is: – Large enough to provide great depth and breadth of expertise – Small enough to value each relationship and provide personalized service
    • 4. Expressions of Our Values• Commitment to social and environmental and financial sustainability• Employee-owned company• Diverse staff from a variety of backgrounds (corporate & nonprofit, domestic & international), joined by a desire to make a difference
    • 5. CapabilitiesCentral offering: a long-term partnership forInformation Technology support and guidance • Technology assessments and planning • Network planning, implementation, support • Database/software application needs assessment, selection, and implementation • Salesforce.com CRM implementation • Remote and on-site
    • 6. Assessing the needs of nonprofit organizations• Outside help from someone w/ technology expertise• Determine functional needs based on business needs of the organization• Prioritize the functional needs• Research and analysis• Define scope and costs of the projects• Set a timeline
    • 7. Technology AssessmentCould cover the following areas: • IT network and computing devices • Email • Productivity software • File sharing and collaboration • File storage and backups • Constituent Relationship Management (CRM), program and functional database(s) (i.e. case management system, fundraising system, etc.) • Web and e-communication needs • Mobile computing • Staffing • Training
    • 8. Assessing Solutions & Cost Expectations• Functionality compared to organizational prioritized needs based in strategic plan/goals• Direct & Indirect Costs • Initial • Ongoing• Future Benefits and Risks• Transition and Migration Plans• Roles to support
    • 9. Trends• Going to “the cloud”• Performance management• Private social networking• Mobile access• Tablets
    • 10. “The interesting thing about cloudcomputing is that we’ve redefined cloudcomputing to include everything thatwe already do. I can’t think of anythingthat isn’t cloud computing with all ofthese announcements. The computerindustry is the only industry that is morefashion-driven than women’s fashion.Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no ideawhat anyone is talking about. What is it?It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane.When is this idiocy going to stop?” Larry Ellison, CEO, OracleFarber, Dan. “Oracle’s Ellison Nails CloudComputing,” in CNET “Outside the Lines”http://news.cnet.com/8301-13953_3-10052188-80.html, retrieved 23 February 2009.
    • 11. Cloud Diagram
    • 12. The Solution Hybrid Cloud
    • 13. Funder considerations• Know and prioritize requirements before examining solution options• Not one size fits all/uniqueness of nonprofit organization’s business• Research solutions/software beyond what you have heard about• Follow the 80/20 Rule
    • 14. What determines success? Technology80 percent of thesuccess of any 20% Peopleinitiative dependson how effectivelythe people andtransition to newprocesses.20 percent Processdepends on theactual technologysolution. 80% People transition The actual technology
    • 15. Funder considerations, cont.• Importance of deciding• Cloud = Outsourcing• Data ownership• What happens if the internet breaks/internet redundancy• Ongoing costs• Incorporate training as part of project budget• Generational differences• Technology capacity building is ongoing
    • 16. Business systems can consist of … A menagerie of tools and software, often times creating duplication of effort… Or it can be purposely planned/decided these are the tools we use to help us accomplish our mission most effectively Free 3rd party tools Paper Excel Excel Access forms files Word databases files files Paper files Email system Excel Donor/ Excel files CRM/Case Contact Excel Accounting files mgmt/ mgmt files system enterprise database database File Server Website Content Mgmt Email blast System system
    • 17. Notable Email and Collaboration toolsHosted file sharing …
    • 18. Notable CRM’s in the market with aCase Management focus
    • 19. Notable CRM’s in the market with anAssociation/Member Management focus
    • 20. Additional Resources http://www.nten.org/ http://idealware.org/ http://home.techsoup.org http://www.citidc.comMatthew Eshleman, meshleman@citidc.com, 202-449-6711Katherine Mowers, kmowers@citidc.com, 202-449-6702

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