What do you think of when I say "Tech Tool"? Is the first thing that comes to mind hardware? Software?
At 501cTECH, we advocate a holistic approach to your organization's technology. The flashiest, shiniest tools sure are cool, but in many cases, your organization wants to spend its resources on something reliable and easy to use.
When you think of Tech Tools, you may think of PowerPoint, or a blog, or mobile optimization for your website. These are of course, great things, but when we talk about Tech Tools, we're talking about:
- Stable Infrastructure
- Cloud Computing (including email+, customer relationship management, online back-up)
- Social Media
- Ongoing Support & Maintenance
Stable infrastructure may not sound particularly glamorous, but when you turn on your computer in the morning, you want to be able to access your organization's files. It's like your car, when you get in and shift into drive, you want to be able to move forward. The same is true of your technology infrastructure. Does it do what you want it to do on a regular basis, or are you constantly making time-consuming repairs?
Are you storing all of your files on a local server? If you're working from home due to a flexible work schedule or because you're ill or the weather's bad, can you access your work files? Cloud storage is a great solution for a mobile workforce-and as a bonus, cloud storage can be cheaper than maintaining your own local servers.
We like to emphasize that social media is just ONE tool in your toolbox. It WILL NOT be the silver bullet to bring your more volunteers, more donors and better job applicants. It is; however, a great tool to have in your arsenal. The next generation of donors and volunteers are probably reading about your organization on Twitter. Or through a blog. It's important to have a presence on social media so that you can start to engage with this audience. Remember though, social media alone will not save your organization.
In the same way that you change the oil in your car on a regular basis, it's important to regularly inspect and maintain your organization's technology. This includes, but is not limited to, regularly checking your cables and connections for corrosion or wear, checking the ink and toner on your printer, and regularly updating software and hardware as it becomes outdated or no longer serviceable. Regular maintenance can prevent the surprise of a sudden breakdown and can help to prevent instances of costly one-time repair.
It's important to keep technology in the forefront of your mind when talking about your organization's long-term strategic plan and budget. We know, it's not glamorous and your limited resources can be used to further your mission. Technology is the tool that helps you achieve your mission though-and it's important that you treat it like a necessary tool, not an afterthought.