Technology Worst Practices for Nonprofits

Technology Worst Practices for Nonprofits

 We are continuing our series on nonprofit “worst practices.” The internet is filled with best practices, so I figured it might be interesting to flip things around.

Below is a partial list of technology worst practices to avoid. Some organizations have a limited capacity and it may take a while before they can overcome these, but it is something to strive for. If you are seeing any of these things happening in your organization, they should immediately go on your “to do” list to address.  Below is a non-exhaustive list for nonprofits of mistakes to avoid making when considering technology.

·      Not choosing a website platform that allows you to control your content and navigation easily. If you completely outsource this to a vendor, you run a huge risk of being taken advantage of and will lose control.

·      Not understanding all of the functions, functionalities, and limitations of your website software. Too often, nonprofits buy software for bells and whistles they won’t use or because of emotional factors like a charismatic salesperson or fun demos.

·      Not understanding all of the functions and limitations of your outbound email program or CRM. Make sure your CRM can pull all the reports and lists you need. Make sure the software does what you need, now and in the near future. Make a list and check it before buying.

·      Not understanding all the functions and limitations of your donor software

·      Not having reliable access to hardware (copier, printer, scanner, conference phone, reliable computers, smartphones etc.) Consider signing an executive suite-style lease where the landlord handles things like toner, hardware and phone systems.

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·      Not having a reliable and user-friendly email and collaboration software system (Outlook/GSuite, etc.)

·      Not having a central document with all your password and login details (including key passcodes to prove subscription payments). I highly recommend keeping an operations manual that holds the master logins, passwords, and other information about hardware the nonprofit owns and more.

·      Not having some form of social media presence. Even though some social media platforms can be time-consuming or have concerns around privacy, they are essential nowadays for public-facing organizations to organize supporters and find donors.

·      Not having a standard file naming convention for your team if you share a common digital file folder (ex. All files say what the file is and is dated)

·      Not having a clear internal policy for how technology is used, owned, and returned when employees leave. Are your employees allowed to use work computers for private companies? What if hey use a work cell phone to cyber-harass someone? Get a policy.

·      Not being able to access key files or emails when working remotely or traveling

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