Part One: Getting Started with Your Technology Search
Whenever I sit down to talk with a not-for-profit about technology, more often than not, I am inevitably met with the same talk-tracks:
- We can’t afford technology
- That’s a conversation for next fiscal year
- We’re a volunteer-run organization; we don’t have time to implement new technology
And while all of these concerns are valid and real, I always encourage people to at least think about the technology that they might benefit from. This is a good way to start the conversation, and it can open so many doors. The right technology supports not-for-profit leaders to do their best work and achieve greater mission impact.
Through a four part blog series with Vantage Point, Keela will be providing insights on how and when to find technology that will have lasting positive impact on your organization.
So let’s start at the beginning. How do you determine whether or not your not-for-profit needs technology?
Step 1: Define your Technology Challenges
The first step is to look inward. Define the issues you’re trying to overcome with technology. And most importantly, determine whether or not you already have those resources available to you. The last thing you want to do is to purchase a tech solution when you already had the means to solve the problem at your fingertips. (I know. It’s weird to hear a tech company tell you NOT to buy tech, right? But it’s all about making sure you can increase your impact and do more, with less).
Some great questions to guide your conversations would be:
What are we trying to accomplish?
- What will the next few years look like if we don’t bring in any new technology?
- What resources do we already have that could solve this problem?
- How much money do we have to spend on technology?
Step 2: Think About Implementation.
Once your team has come to a consensus about what your organization requires, it’s time to look at how you can implement the technology if you were to purchase it. Every organization is different and going through this stage is critical to determine which route is best for your organization. Giving space and time to talk out the implementation leads to more informed decision making, while saving time and money down the road.
Have a serious discussion about what steps you can practically take to get your team to start using the technology. Take note of any hurdles that you would likely come across when it comes to adoption. When you have a clear picture of what it would look like for your team to actually start using the technology, you have a better idea of whether or not to take the plunge and buy that technology.
Here are some great questions to guide that discussion:
- How much training would this require?
- Is there a current system that our team would have to be transitioned away from?
- Are there members of the team that are resistant to using technology?
- Is your team actually using the technology that you’ve purchased in the past?
Step 3: Do Your Research, but Avoid the Noise.
This is an important point, and it speaks directly to the work your organization does. When it comes to buying technology, there are tons of options out there. Each one will have pros and cons. The most expensive is not necessarily the best option. But neither is the cheapest. It all depends on how your organization will use the technology and what you’re trying to accomplish.
So it’s important to do your research, read reviews, and get suggestions from other organizations. In fact, if you skip this step, you’ll be taking a major risk. But our advice is to start with yourself.
Steps 1,2, and 3 were all about your organization – about what you want to accomplish, and how your team will actually use the technology. Use these as your parameters when it comes to filtering out what technology to buy.
Follow these first three steps to get started on your search. In the next part of this series, we will delve deeper into how to find the right fit for your organization! Stay tuned.