Information technology (IT) is essential for your nonprofit organization (NPO). It upgrades outdated systems and automates day-to-day workload that slows down operations and drains resources from programs central to your mission — helping others. For instance, nonprofits risk losing excellent candidates because unautomated hiring processes drag on. Or disaster-relief fails to act quickly because coordination and data on underserved populations are not readily available, like in the case of Miami-Dade residents under the poverty line in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Like many nonprofits, yours may not prioritize your budget on in-house IT resources and expertise. Instead, it goes to community services, outreach, and fundraising, which ironically get held back by IT neglect. It’s a budget dilemma that NPOs undoubtedly face. Enter managed services providers (MSPs). By providing enterprise-grade IT resources, an MSP can help you tackle the unique challenges of nonprofits but at a fraction of the cost. Here’s how:
Cost-effective and scaled solutionsNonprofits have varying workloads and budgets throughout the year. A nonprofit’s business activities and funding pick up during annual events and scale down at other times. This cyclical nature of resources and activities make investing in in-house IT not cost-efficient. A managed service plan can be customized to be as dynamic as the nonprofit needs it to be.
- The MSP develops IT solutions according to your needs or budget. You can pay either on a subscription basis or based on hardware and usage. This service contract also adjusts to your organization’s growth.
- With an MSP, it’s easy to scale IT resources anytime, based on funding and demand. But with in-house IT spending, you get stuck with what you paid for.
- As part of their contract, an MSP should handle all IT licensing, upgrades, and maintenance. They streamline your IT budget to cover any unexpected IT-related cost spikes. You pay only one flat rate.
Better data securityIn pursuing its mission, a nonprofit has to work with donor and client data, such as entrusted bank credentials. In most cases, nonprofits don’t possess the resources or the technical expertise to keep this data secure. The risk is compounded by staff who may work remotely, processing donations via unsecured devices and mobile networks. Top cybersecurity threats to nonprofits include weak passwords, outdated software, past employees who retain their access to the data, and insecure payment processors. MSPs fully address these issues and provide multi-level security solutions such as 24/7 monitoring of wireless networks, server and desktop management, email management, secure remote access, software update, management, diagnostics, and troubleshooting, and mobile device management. Regulatory compliance services relieve you of manually reviewing regulations. An MSP automates and streamlines the process of parsing regulations into requirements. This helps your nonprofit comply with security and privacy regulations and avoid hefty fines.
Productivity and efficiencyA number of MSP services makes NPO life easier and expands the reach of nonprofit programs. These include:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – nonprofits pay a monthly fee for cloud-based access to apps, upgrades, and maintenance at a cheaper cost than buying an application off-the-shelf
- VoIP telecommunications infrastructure – has more features than conventional phone lines and makes communication easier, thus an essential for fundraising
- Virtual desktops, Desktop-as-a-Service, or Hosted Desktops – ready access to cloud-hosted computers that eliminate having to purchase and maintain in-office hardware that may seldom be used
- Managed website services – MSPs can build, manage, and optimize your branded donation portal for reliability, security, and visibility. Note that donor-friendly websites that show up on Google’s first page raise six times more money than those that don’t.
- Hardware procurement and asset management – cost-effective solutions to determine, acquire, and maintain high-quality and effective computer systems for your NPO programs