NTEN released its 7th annual Nonprofit Technology Staffing and Investment Report last month with a record-breaking 2,654 respondents from its community of about 30,000 contacts as well as some from The Foundation Center, and Network for Good.
They asked each respondent to rate their approach to technology, and then sorted them into one of the following four categories of tech adoption accordingly:
Struggling: “We are struggling; we have a failing infrastructure, and our technology time and budget generally go towards creating workarounds, repairing old equipment, and duplicating tasks.”
Functioning: “We keep the lights on; we have basic systems in place to meet immediate needs. Leadership makes technology decisions based on efficiencies, with little-to-no input from staff/consultant.”
Operating: “We keep up; we have stable infrastructure and a set of technology policies and practices. Leadership makes technology decisions based on standard levels according to industry/sector information and gathers input from technology staff/consultant before making final decision.”
Leading: “We’re innovators; we recognize that technology is an investment in our mission, and leadership integrates technology decisions with organizational strategy. Technology-responsible staff are involved in overall strategic planning.”
It’s no surprise that the larger organizations in the survey were more likely to be in either the “Leading” or “Operating” categories—they typically have more to spend on technology—but the report suggests that smaller organizations can close the gap by including technology in their strategic plans, and spending money in smarter ways.
NTEN developed the “Org Staff-Per-Tech Staff” metric to gauge how many technology staff are supporting organizational staff. Divide your organizational staff size by your technology staff size to find your organization’s metric.
“Leading” organizations have about 5x more total technology staff than “Struggling” organizations, and on average, each tech-responsible staff member supports almost 29 organizational staff members.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of one DC-area nonprofit that could provide support to organizations with a high “Org Staff-Per-Tech Staff” metric…
Where does your organization fall on the spectrum of tech adoption? Is your organization including technology in its strategic plans?