For any organization budgeting for technology should be for more than just hardware replacements. A technology budget can help pave the way for the adoption of new practices and innovative strategies to meet your mission.
We spoke to a few nonprofit leaders to understand how they work technology into their budgets and why they do it. From these conversations we’ve outlined a few key points to think about while budgeting for technology for your nonprofit organization.
1. Embrace the availability and benefits of new technology without fearing change
The adoption of new technology is change, and it will entail a transition period. Often times new technologies require training which will take time and patience, but payoff in the end.
“SVCN realizes the importance of including a technology investment in our annual budget for both new equipment, upgrades and tech support to increase our efficiency. Over the last 4 years, we have upgraded our data system, purchased computers and tablets, invested in learning and using new tech tools to increase our fund raising. Sometimes the learning curve is steep but in the end we have a better infrastructure to deliver our services to the nonprofits in our community.” – Patricia Gardner, CEO, Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits
2. Strategy and tech go hand in hand
Melanie Meyer, Director of Communications and Technology at BVU: Center for Nonprofit Excellence, emphasizes technology should be an integral part of a strategic plan.
“It is important to understand as an organization, where you plan to grow and change. When the strategic plan for the organization is developed, it is imperative that technology be included. Predicting the dollars needed to support program development and growth is important to the success of the organization.”
Melanie recognizes technology is always evolving and makes room in BVU’s budget for updating systems and acquiring new tools.
“During our budgeting process, I am able to look at where we are currently spending our dollars and anticipate our needs for the coming year. Doing this on an annual bases allows me to evaluate the services we are using and see if it is still the best option. Technology moves at a fast pace and what we were using the previous year, might not be the best option for the upcoming year.”
3. Pace your organization for success
When executed properly, the adoption of new technology can take some time. Perhaps you've identified some points in your strategic plan that require new technology - it may not be wise to implement all the new solutions at once.
"I think one of the biggest things to keep in mind when you budget for technology is pace, and knowing that these things don’t happen overnight. Make a list of your technology goals and prioritize them. Define your values, and then identify which projects will have the most impact so that you can put the necessary energy into ensuring their success. A multi-year strategic technology plan will help you stay on course towards completion, and avoid the pitfalls of addressing needs simply as they present themselves." - Drew Thorne, Operations Director, Abilities United
About our contributors:
The Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits champions the interests of nonprofits in Silicon Valley. SVCN works to ensure the nonprofit sector's voice is heard and that solutions are developed in ways in which "Everybody Wins".
BVU: Center for Nonprofit Excellence BVU strengthens nonprofits by involving thousands of volunteers from the community; engaging hundreds of business executives and professionals on nonprofit boards of directors; and providing leading-edge board and management consulting and training services for nonprofits.
Abilities United supports children and adults with disabilities, their families and the community, and champions a culture in which all members of society are included and appreciated for their distinctive contributions.
Have you included Technology in your budget this year? If not, it’s not too late, join Tech Impact’s Director of Technical Services, Linda Widdop, to learn how to include technology in your nonprofit’s budget.