Non-profit organizations are companies that get a tax exemption from the government. In exchange for this little perk, they are supposed to provide some form of public service. This could include many things, such as overall economic gain, religious teaching, scientific advancement, or maybe just the prevention of cruelty. Either way, they often have a hard time maintaining productivity with all the additional rules that they must follow. Let’s look at a few ways in which non-profits can maximize their office productivity and use managed IT to its fullest advantage.
1. Keep Everything Organized
No matter how busy your organization may be, it is important to see that things are kept organized and orderly. Yes, it will take some time and wages to get this job done, but it will also increase the productivity of your staff. For one thing, an organized environment makes it easier for people to concentrate on their job. Instead of worrying about where that stapler went, or where that file was stored, they can focus on things that are actually productive. In short, time is money, and a well-organized workspace will save time.
A managed IT provider might not be able to help with your physical space, but they can do a lot to help you organize your digital space. Because these companies are dealing with many client companies like yours, they need to maintain a semi-universal set of standards. Otherwise, they would have to train each employee to handle just one account. Because of this fact, they are often very efficient at data organization.
When organizing your data, you will need to educate your employees about the standards and practices of your group. Your managed IT provider might be able to help with this, as they can easily send one of their experts to teach a seminar. They might charge you a little bit for this service, but it will probably be a lot less than the cost of hiring an outside expert. The point here is to make sure that everyone is working by the same set of rules. Consistent action makes for well-organized results.
Managed IT Will Usually Cut Costs
Every business tries to operate in an efficient manner, but a nonprofit has to emphasize that a little more. Because these companies are not allowed to make or hold large amounts of money (at least, not for their usage), they are in a constant battle to keep the operating costs as low as possible. From this perspective, there is no doubt that a managed IT setup will reduce costs somewhat.
When you go with a managed IT approach, all your IT expenses are combined into one monthly bill. This is more convenient, but it’s not just about convenience. These kinds of services tend to be cheaper when they are bundled together, mostly because there aren’t as many people involved. That means fewer salaries to pay, and fewer hands in your pocket!
Apart from these direct benefits, managed IT can often cut your costs in other ways. For instance, they can help you to reduce printer waste by adjusting the settings in certain ways. This might include the use of the ink-saver feature on less-important documents, an extra confirmation before printing (to make sure people are serious), double-sided paper usage, and lots of other things.
Avoid Downtime As Much As Possible
Networking and communication is a large part of what nonprofit employees do on a day-to-day basis. As such, network downtime can be nothing short of a catastrophe. It brings most of your activities to a screeching halt, and there’s no telling when service will be restored. When you are dealing with a standard internet service provider, there will definitely be a lot more of these.
Downtime is a very expensive thing, although the costs will vary from one organization to the other. Most nonprofits get the majority of their money through charitable donations. You never know when a big one is going to come in, so network downtime costs are impossible to fully calculate. However, we will take a stab at it anyway.
Let’s look at some well-known nonprofits in the United States, and examine how much money they report in donations per year. We cannot seem to find any per-day figures, so we will have to average these. The National Geographic Society is the largest environmental/animal nonprofit, and they bring in roughly 1 billion per year. That averages out to about $2,739 per day. Thus, a single week of downtime could cost them as much as $19,178!
Now let’s compare that to the smallest listed nonprofit in this category, which would be Ducks Unlimited. This organization receives about $210,000,000 per year, which comes out to about $575 per day. Thus, a week of downtime would cost them about $4,027. Thus, we can say that nonprofits in this category will lose somewhere between $575 and $2,739 for every day of the outage.
When you go with managed IT support services, you can also mitigate this problem with a good SLA (service-level agreement). This will stipulate the amount of downtime that you will tolerate before the contract is considered to have been broken. Also, when a company has an SLA in all of its managed IT service plans, that’s a good indication of confidence. It would not be practical for them to make these agreements if they could not keep them.
Managed IT Providers Can Be An Information Resource
Depending on the nature of your nonprofit organization, you may or may not have competent IT people on staff. Obviously, if your work is directly related to computers or the internet, you probably don’t need to outsource this service. For everyone else, it is logical to ask “who are the best managed IT providers near me?”
Whether you like it or not, you will have to work with technology in order to run a modern nonprofit. Most donations are processed online these days, as that is the most convenient method for the giver. So, what do you do when your staff is clueless about a tech-related matter? Well, you can simply turn to your managed IT service provider.
Chances are, your IT provider wants to keep your business, as they know you can always take that business elsewhere. As such, they will probably be eager and willing to answer questions and give advice. It costs them nothing and gains them the continued goodwill of their customers, so it isn’t really a burden on them by any means. When evaluating that advice, it is best to focus on proactive solutions…meaning methods that address problems before they become such.
For instance, let’s say that you are noticing a slight downturn in the productivity of your remote workers. Before it becomes a real problem, your IT team should be able to offer some solutions. For instance, they might look at optimizing your network to reduce latency and boost loading times. They might also be able to recommend some specific video conferencing software that will improve remote teamwork. There are all kinds of possibilities, and only an expert can see many of them.
Scalability Is Also A Money-Saver
Although nonprofits are not set up to provide personal gain to anyone, you still probably want your organization to grow. If nothing else, that allows it to have greater reach and greater effectiveness in achieving goals. However, a large and growing organization needs a lot of digital assets in order to manage that growth.
Most of your cost savings in this department will come down to equipment costs. Whenever your organization grows, your network grows as well. As that happens, new servers, cables, workstations, etc. will be required. If nothing else, you will certainly need new computers to accommodate an influx of new staff. Speaking of staff, a larger network will usually require a larger IT staff for its maintenance and monitoring.
On the other hand, a managed IT service provider will already have the necessary equipment that you need. Yes, you will still need to buy end-user materials like desktops and laptops, but all of that network hardware is taken out of your hands. Consider this fact: The average company spends anywhere from 2% to 10% of its income on IT costs. This is a pretty wide variance, and it probably stems from the large differences in cost between in-house networks and managed ones.
Managed IT Also Makes Cloud Computing Easier
Like any other business, a nonprofit should consider the use of the cloud. It may not be right for everyone, but it offers a lot of advantages. If you don’t know what the cloud is, it’s basically just the idea of using the internet to replace a lot of hardware and software. It works through virtualization, which is one of the most interesting computer processes. By imitating a particular environment, virtualization programs can be used to create a near-endless number of digital machines. In the old days, you had one system per machine, and that was usually all.
Using the cloud, you can allow your employees to access proprietary software even if it is not installed on their machine. This is especially good for remote workers who can always use a little more versatility. You can also use the cloud to supplement your existing data backup system. It is important to realize that cloud networks can go down, and they can even be hacked. Thus, you should never put your most sensitive data in the cloud, and you should always maintain extra backups for any information that needs to be retained. The cloud is usually just as secure as a standard network, but it still has certain vulnerabilities.
In many cases, you can purchase cloud services from the same companies that provide IT services. This allows you to consolidate your bills even more. Because savings in revenue will usually translate to enhanced productivity, this will help in many different ways. Cloud providers also offer a wide range of web-based services that can save you a ton of money on software subscriptions. These include everything from project management to web development and all sorts of other things.
Nonprofits have to get creative in order to keep themselves afloat. No matter how prosperous they may be, they have to reckon with a lot of special rules and requirements. That’s just one more reason why efficiency must be the priority for organizations of this sort. All of the methods outlined here should help you to achieve a higher level of efficiency, and thus allow you to work towards your chosen cause without distraction. If we have aided your cause in any way, we invite you to please fill out the contact form below. That will enable us to keep you informed in the future.