Welcome to the first of three blog posts in our technology planning series. We’ll be discussing how to maximize your resources with a well-thought-out plan, how to conduct a technology assessment, and technology planning for disaster preparedness.
For now, let’s start with:
It’s been said that “people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” The same is especially true for nonprofit’s technology – without having a plan in place, it’s impossible to spend limited resources wisely. Why? Because technology has a very short life span – it changes and becomes obsolete very quickly. For example, new iPods come out every September. And updates to software and hardware continuously improve the tech experience.
Another issue nonprofits succumb to is what we call “technology by accident.” That’s when well-meaning donors give you their old computers when they purchase new ones. Before you know it, you’re surrounded by old technology that you may not know what to do with.
So how do you decide where to spend your limited resources? Having a technology plan in place will help you focus on where your technology is now, where you want to go in the future, and how you’re going to get there.
A technology plan is important because it:
Start by looking at your mission statement and organization goals and determining how technology can help get you there. Writing out your rationale for why those goals are important can help you prioritize them. It’s helpful if you state your goals in a measurable way. (i.e., “Increase student academic performance by x% by integrating technology”).
Asking three key questions will help you begin to focus the situation:
A good technology plan will:
It can be helpful to put together a technology team to help you create a written technology plan, a group of 4 to 5 stakeholders who can devote the time required. You should include not only the tech-savvy, but representatives from across the organization to identify all pain points and areas for improvement. Their job will be to assess the state of your current technology and determine what your technology strengths and weaknesses are, as well as what technology you need in order to achieve organizational goals. Then make a list, and prioritize the items in accordance with your goals
We’ll have more on how to perform a technology assessment in our next blog. Meanwhile, tell us: has your organization created a formal technology plan? If so, do you have any tips for success?