Non-Profit Managed IT Services & Support
The primary function of a non-profit should be to fulfill its goal, not worry about IT. Learn how non-profits can use managed services to maximize operational efficiency while minimizing IT expenditures.
It seems like a contradiction in terms that non-profits are supposed to make profits, but that’s the way things work in the non-profit world. Since your number one priority is to provide the support needed to achieve your worthwhile goal, you need to raise as much money as possible to plow back into your cause – whether that is providing a needed service, conducting research, or spreading the word. But the big irony is that raising money costs money. Potential donors want to know that the majority of their donations will go towards doing good, so you want to keep your administrative expenses as low as possible. That’s easy enough when you’re just a one or two people operation, but it gets tougher as your organization grows.
Many non-profits find that technology expenses eat up a huge portion of their budget. This requires staffing, software, and hardware just to start out. Then you’ve got to worry about keeping up-to-date and maintaining online security. IT management can become a real money pit, draining funds away from your stated purpose. Considering all the out-of-pocket costs involved in managing technology, you might be asking yourself whether it is really possible for a non-profit to manage to make profits.
The great news is that the answer is yes, with something called managed services. At Unity IT, we provide managed IT services that help non-profits in Fresno manage the technical end of your business, while you concentrate on achieving your non-profit goals. Here’s how it works:
What are Managed Services?
If you are managing your own IT needs, you are responsible for choosing software, worrying about security, and managing the day-to-day functionality. If something goes wrong, you might need to bring in an IT expert at an added cost to fix the problem. On the other hand, managed services can be used to eliminate as much of the internal IT management needs as desired.
As the name implies, managed services are services that are managed by an outside company. In this case, a Managed Services Provider, or MSP, is contracted to manage the information technology needs of the non-profit organization. The MSP provides a defined set of services based on its contract with the non-profit. The contract could cover individual services, or the entire IT gamut, depending on the needs of the organization. Examples of managed services for non-profits might include:
- Day-to-Day Operations: Instead of trying to analyze and upgrade your software and hardware needs, an MSP can be used to provide servers and consistently monitor your network to be sure that it is operating at maximum efficiency.
- Donor Management: Since donations are the lifeblood of any non-profit organization, effective donor management is a high priority goal. Non-profits need to identify and motivate potential donors, while still communicating consistently with current donors to meet fund-raising goals.
- Regulatory Compliance: Organizations are required to adhere to a wide range of regulatory guidelines to maintain their non-profit status, and are often subjected to audits by various agencies. It is crucial to have the necessary data easily at hand to pass these audits with flying colors. The MSP can collect and collate the necessary data on an ongoing basis so there is no need to scramble when informed of an audit. Accurate data is also necessary for reporting to the non-profit’s board or for use in annual reports to donors.
- Online Security: With recent events in the news about data breaches and non-profit phishing scams, your organization needs to be extra vigilant and proactive in its efforts to eliminate security breaches. An MSP can be used to monitor online security and consistently upgrade technology platforms to counteract the latest threats.
The Benefits of Using Managed Services for Your Non-Profit
The main benefit of using managed services for a non-profit is the lower administrative costs. With an MSP, your organization does not need to purchase, maintain and upgrade the necessary hardware and software to operate efficiently. You don’t need to have a team of computer pros on hand and don’t have to spend your time worrying about your IT needs. Simply meet with your provider, communicate your needs, agree on a plan of action, and then concentrate on what you do best – providing a valuable service to your constituents. While you’re running the organization, the MSP is providing:
- Computer Pros: Your organization might find it hard to attract and retain the computer expertise needed to manage your data needs, but an MSP has a team of experts that only deals with IT each and every day.
- 24/7 Management: Can your organization afford to hire more than one computer pro so that you have round-the-clock coverage? What happens if a new threat is detected at night, or a server crashes over the weekend? An MSP has 24/7 coverage so you don’t have to worry.
- Security: It can be impossible for you to stay up-to-date on all the latest cybersecurity threats. That’s where the MSP comes in – all they do is monitor systems for possible breaches. Their job is to look for threats and come up with remedies.
- Updates: Just as soon as you think you have the latest system in place, something new comes out that might put you behind the eight ball. The MSP is constantly evaluating, analyzing and upgrading systems so you get the benefit of the latest and best for your organization.
- Budget Control: With a well-negotiated MSP contract, you’ll know exactly what your IT costs will be for the year, and won’t have to build any “wiggle room” into your budget.
Find out how managed services can make a difference for your non-profit organization.