Choosing the right IT partner is a crucial decision for not-for-profit organisations
Digital platforms help create efficient operations, improve service delivery to members and fuels the financial sustainability of NFPs. However, many NFPs are reluctant to invest in technology.
The reluctance is primarily due to several key points.
- - lack the internal skills to identify and implement the right technology.
- - Focusing on cost, instead of value.
- - Backwards procurement processes.
- - Working against the vendor.
If NFPs do not start investing in the right technology they will be left behind by their competitors, struggle to expand their services and reach new clients.
We see a lot of organisations struggling with managing their information, and we see a lot of angst and even ill-health in people because of this problem.
NPF staff and volunteers don’t need the distraction of working with a messy network shared drive, spending hours trawling through hard copy files to find the information they need or feeling overwhelmed by the number of emails in their inbox. They need easy access to the right information at the right time.
Many people remember the good old days as being far simpler, easier, and less complex than today, and they turn the messy reality into a memory of perfection. Sometimes they don’t want to change what they’re doing because it’s “working”. However, for every person that is not interested in changing, there are ten other people who are desperate to implement change if that means getting rid of piles of paper and outdated processes that slow everything down and inhibit productivity and collaboration.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge, and hence a lot of fear, around managing information, in this digital age.
We really don’t blame organisations for not knowing how to move forward. There are so many options and technology choices available that it’s extremely difficult to know which way to jump. It’s hard enough for businesses to know what to choose, and it’s worse for NFP’s who, have very limited budgets and need clarity and the assurance that their investment won’t be the wrong decision because they can’t afford any waste. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options and end up spending a lot of time doing nothing.
So, what’s the answer?
As counter-intuitive it may be, NFP’s going to market for new technology or services need to work closely with the vendors engaged. Allow the vendor representative to take them on their journey. And yes, your concerns are right, you are being sold to. However, when you allow yourself to be taken on the journey you have more time to truly understand the solution and the value it will bring to your members.