Implementing new technology like grant management or donation management software can be tough for foundations and nonprofits. However, it’s important to have an effective plan in place for when your organization does decide to deploy a new platform. As software becomes more sophisticated and nimble, it’s very likely that your organization can find a grant or donation management platform that will meet your needs and budget. Without a set approach to selecting and implementing new platforms, you could run into a sticky situation. Inevitably, the project will not be as successful as it could be.
More organizations need technology plans
According to a 2012 survey from Technology Affinity Group, foundations use a wide variety of different approaches to making technology-related decisions. Some organizations rely on tech staff to start the ball rolling when it’s time to buy a new platform, and some have a steering committee. However, more than 60 percent of all foundations polled reported having no real plan for adopting new technology and more than 10 percent had a plan that was out of date.
Because technology changes frequently, it’s important to have a plan to address what action steps need to be taken when your old grant management platform is no longer the best option for your organization. It’s inevitable that you’ll need to select new tools, so make sure you have an organized approach.
The writers of the report attributed the lack of planning to the executive’s general dearth of knowledge and comfort with technology. While the majority (65 percent) of executives were supportive of technology initiatives, they were also not very knowledgeable about what digital tools can accomplish. In addition, 4 percent reported being “indifferent” about new tools, and 2 percent didn’t see any value in new technology at all.
How planning increases success
There are additional reasons why careful planning is worthwhile, as TechSoup noted. For nonprofits and foundations with limited resources, a thoughtful strategy can allow you to make the most of the budget you have and help you use it to advance your organization’s goals. Here are a few more benefits of a technology plan:
- You can accomplish more by selecting software that advances your goals.
- Save money because you will only buy what you need.
- Be aware of the technology timeline and know ahead of time when new technology will be needed.
A good tech plan will have several important attributes, TechSoup said. First of all, it won’t just be a wishlist, but will actually outline the steps to completion and assign specific responsibilities to certain leadership roles or individuals.
For organizations that don’t have designated technology staff, it may be necessary to appoint a committee to draft the technology plan. This should be a few of the key stakeholders who will inevitably be central to the initiative’s success.
Start by returning to your mission statement, and determine how a new platform will contribute to it. Once you’ve done this, you can set goals for the new platform as well.