Technology has become an essential part of every nonprofit’s resources. As nonprofits, we’ve achieved a lot through tech, from getting donations online and reaching far places to getting volunteers from around the world. While we search for better technology to help us champion our societal courses every single day, there are other questions we need to ask ourselves: is the technology I’m using actually helping my nonprofit grow? Are these technologies slowing down part or all of my work? And what could I do to analyze technology on my work and to improve on my impact?
This is when nonprofit technology assessment comes in. But it’s a tedious process – requiring your time and resources. Thankfully, these and many other questions, are what we’re answering in this blog post to help you get a better grip of your tech stack. We take you through the ins and outs of nonprofit technology assessment and how you can position your nonprofit to better leverage the technologies available to you for greater impact.
Table of Contents
- Understanding nonprofit technology assessment
- Why you should evaluate your technology use
- Steps to conducting a successful nonprofit technology assessment
- Critical factors & questions to consider when evaluating your tech stack
- Post-Assessment considerations and steps to take
- How IndieTech Solutions can help your nonprofit
Understanding Nonprofit Technology Assessment
Nonprofit technology assessment is an examination of your technology use as a nonprofit and the effectiveness of these technologies to championing your courses and making a societal impact.
Evaluating your tech use and how to optimize your current resources should be part of every nonprofit. It’s a continuous process that should not be done once, but rather be conducted from time to time.
But also remember that each nonprofit has its technology needs, how these technologies affect its work and courses. This means the evaluation of your technology use should be unique to your organization.
Why you should evaluate your technology use
While it basically helps you understand your technology technological resources, it goes even deeper than that, to help you:
- Better understand the current software your team is using for their technology activities
- Identify the current loopholes in the technologies your organization uses
- Informs your future technological spending
Steps to conducting a successful nonprofit technology assessment
Assessing your nonprofit’s tech is a tedious process requiring cooperation from your team, a lot of dedication, and being attentive to details. Here’s a step-by-step guide to a successful nonprofit technology assessment.
Set your assessment goals
Your first step to a successful nonprofit technology assessment is to set your goals. As the saying goes, ‘you need to know where you’re going in order to know which route to take’. At this stage, useful questions to ask include:
- What’s our overall nonprofit technology assessment goal?
- Are we looking to upgrade our technology after the assessment?
- Or do we just want to understand our current technology usage?
- Are we trying to know what technology stacks have been created and what are we missing out from the competition?
These questions will set your organization on a better path to fully evaluating your technology.
Make a budget for your assessment
Whether you’re using an in-house team or employing the services of a technology assessment agency, you will need resources to undertake this process. At this stage, you need to make a budget of the assessment by:
- Outlining the number of people needed to undertake this assessment from start to finish
- Making an outline of resource persons (in case you need any).
- If you’re going with an agency, making sure you analyze a couple of these firms and their charges
- And make sure you include any additional resources that would be needed for the successful conclusion of the assessment.
Discovering your current reality
When doing a technology assessment, you need to know how to work within your needs and resources – without becoming unrealistically ambitious. That’s why this discovery phase is highly important. Here, you’re to evaluate your current technology ecosystem. Questions to ask here:
- What is your current technology system like?
- What are the tools you’re currently using?
- How are these tools interconnected and working together for the organization?
Making an inventory of your current tech stack
After the discovery phase, which is a much broader look at your nonprofit’s technology, you need to narrow down to make a list of all the technologies you’re using. Here’s what to do.
- Make a list of all the technology tools you’re using.
- Create minute details of each technology, including device names, manufacturers, serial numbers, and since when you starting using each technology.
- Don’t forget to include every technology you’re using. Don’t limit this to just your computers, printers, and routers, but endeavor to add your current donor or volunteer software and anything technology that’s helping you do your work.
Consider your technology budget
At the end of every technology assessment, there may be the need to add or upgrade a technology. At this stage, you need to prepare for this. Make sure you leave some finances down for upgrades, maintenance, or any other loophole that your assessment identifies.
Actually doing the assessment
At this stage, you’re finally ready to start the assessment. As said earlier, you could do it with an in-house team or even use a technology assessment tool online. However, it’s recommended to hire the expertise of a good agency to do the assessment.
This is where the team gets to work to find out what you’re using, what needs improvement, and tying all together with your organization’s goals.
Critical factors & questions to consider when evaluating your tech stack
Doing a nonprofit technology assessment means you need to have certain questionnaire ready to achieve your goals.
And if you’re using the services of an agency, you need to make sure you prepare your own questions for them, which of course, they will add theirs to make everything complete.
Here are the critical questions to ask:
- Organizational technology roles – document the people working on tech in your organization.
- What’s the current nature of your applications and websites – when was the last time you made changes to these?
- Who are the people that you buy your technology from or the software companies you subscribe to?
- Technology skills – what are the technology know-how of not just your tech team, but also your entire organization?
- Organization’s tech policies – what are the policies around your technology usage as an organization, including security, data storage, file transfer, and tech support among others?
- Training – do you provide training for your tech team? And if so, how often?
- Who is your go-to technology advisor – who are the institutions or individuals that you turn to whenever you need advice on technology usage or technology security in your organization?
These and many other questions that should be designed to suit the needs and visions of your organization – will help you achieve clearly set assessment goals and put yourself in a position to achieving even greater impact with your technology usage.
The end of every technology assessment comes with certain recommendations that your nonprofit should take. This stage should help you implement these recommendations. While these recommendations may differ based on the type of nonprofit you run, certain basic things cut across.
Staff technology training
One of the first things to do is to invest in training your staff. They should be updated on new technologies that you’re going to use or have adopted and how to work together with new technology tools.
Upgrading your tech tools
You will need to make changes to your tech tools based on the findings from your assessment. This could be doing away with a software subscription or adding a new computer.
New technology policies
Following the assessment will also be new technology policies. Of course, having new tools would mean new ways of doing things and policies should be updated to reflect your current tech ecosystem.
How IndieTech Solutions can help
Over the years, the IndieTech Solutions team has worked with numerous nonprofits. Not only are we experts in building, designing, and developing for nonprofits, we’re also masters when it comes to auditing and evaluating nonprofit technology ecosystems. Here’s how we can help your nonprofit.
Evaluate your technology ecosystem.
Our team of experts will give your nonprofit ample time to study what you do, how you impact society with technology, and what new technologies can make you a better organization.
Build technology solutions.
From websites and applications to platforms for nonprofits to find resources during the pandemic, we have built and operated excellent digital solutions for nonprofits. We would use this experience to research your organization and provide you with a digital solution that helps you amplify your impact and achieve your visions.