The right technology can empower nonprofit organizations (NGOs) to improve workflow efficiency and project management, catalyze mission impact, extend outreach and drive fundraising, as well as sustainability. There’s a variety of ways in which nonprofits are utilizing technology and IT services, some more apparent examples include:
- Collecting donations over the phone, through the mail and online
- Call centers require the ability to handle and respond to a large volume of calls, in order to promote the organization’s message and communicate with donors, media outlets and more
- Nonprofit websites require management to host content that can easily educate others and direct donors to online payment gateways
- Routine communication and automated updates indicate to shareholders the well-being of the organization
- Financial management and reporting
With the use of technology, nonprofit organizations can not only evolve and spread their message farther but much more. With nonprofits’ reliance on technology however, means an inevitable need to prioritize cybersecurity. A managed service provider like Computero can keep nonprofits safe, secure, and connected with the help of information technology. There are a lot of IT services and solutions that can be offered to nonprofit organizations.
What are IT Services for Nonprofits?
Although sometimes overlooked, nonprofits organizations would actually highly benefit from having managed IT services. This ranges anywhere from setting up internet, servers, devices, and phone systems, to the monitoring and maintenance of computer networks. Nonprofits require a lot of hardware and software to operate in today’s technologically advanced world. A nonprofit call center, for example, can have upwards of a hundred phones. Perhaps each employee also uses a computer, running on a server, and the necessary hard-wired ethernet internet connection to use these devices. When remote work comes into play, even more security and hardware is necessary to keep organizations running properly. (Personal devices can especially be a vulnerability, such as personal laptops, computers and mobile devices.) Some nonprofits also use specific software for their organization to manage payments, donations, data and more. A lot of information runs through nonprofits, so practicing good cybersecurity is essential to maximize safety.
Having a good managed service provider for your nonprofit can help improve efficiency, increase productivity, and maintain safety for your organization. Important IT concerns and solutions for nonprofits include:
- Protecting any private data managed by the organization, including the personal details of donors, employees, executives, shareholders, and more
- Having effective and reliable modes of communication, both internally and externally
- Using a cost effective service to protect your organization while still staying in line with your mission
- Maintaining uptime and being able to easily recover after any unexpected downtime
Cybersecurity Services for Nonprofit Organizations
Cybersecurity and digital safety practices shouldn’t be overlooked in any industry, including nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits deal with a lot of sensitive information, and being that they’re usually working with less of a budget when compared to for-profits, they can be and have been, a huge target for cyber crime. Cyber attacks can cause all sorts of damage but data breaches in particular can lead to a lack of public trust in the organization and a soiled reputation, on top of stolen information. Cybersecurity is especially critical for nonprofits for this reason; in order to fulfill their mission, nonprofits organizations should be thorough and not take any chances. With cyber threats on the rise, it’s time to take advantage of IT services for nonprofits. Organizations will be able to not only ensure security across data and networks, but leverage these technologies to also improve operations throughout the organization. Good cybersecurity can prevent the risks of malware, ransomware, trojans, viruses, and an overall takeover of a network.
Ransomware as a Threat
Ransomware can be an especially massive threat for nonprofit organizations. A ransomware attack involves malware that hijacks computer systems. Hackers will typically lock data or even entire devices. They then hold this information “ransom,” refusing to return to it access to it unless they receive a payment in return. These ransom fees can range from small to massive sums of money. Some hackers may be thrilled just to receive payment, knowing that they’ve somehow beaten you into submission, while others could be far more clever and cruel. Some of them may not want to waste any time, while others may be more methodical, willing to invest copious amounts of time into reviewing your data and familiarizing themselves with the people and organization they’ve infiltrated. Any kind of documentation, including email exchanges, financial statements and documents, and more, could get scrutinized in effort to paint a fuller picture of just how much you may be willing to bend. Not only could they threaten to not return access or data, they could wipe it entirely or may even threaten to expose it, potentially publicizing something you’d prefer to keep confidential. Nonprofit organizations typically don’t have the kind of money a hacker would request in the case of a ransomware attack, so it’s especially critical that they protect themselves from it ever occurring.
Protecting Donor Identification
Cybersecurity involves the implementation of various protocols to protect networks, as well as sensitive data. Nonprofits accumulate astounding amounts of data from their donors alone, not to mention from various other sources. It’s critical that these organizations protect such sensitive and confidential information. Without the right security measures in place, hackers can easily gain access to private information, creating not only a safety concern but a compliance issue as well, and potentially so much more. Some sufficient cybersecurity methods include two-step authentication, business-grade antivirus, frequent system monitoring, and cybersecurity awareness training, to name a few. A highly reputable managed service provider like Computero, will help your organization with 24/7 server/network monitoring, frequent updates of applications and operating systems, employment of the best antivirus software for businesses and more.
Communication Services for Nonprofits
A highly-skilled and well-trained managed service provider can implement and manage some of the most powerful solutions available for communication systems for nonprofit organizations: VoIP. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone systems operate via a stable internet connection. VoIP is an excellent solution for an assortment of industries, especially the nonprofit sector. Why is that? VoIP offers a plethora of features that can help organizations increase efficiency, stay connected, improve communication, and ensure caller satisfaction. Some of these key VoIP features include:
- Calling queue
- Automatic call distribution (ACD)
- Call forwarding and call routes
- Auto attendant
With VoIP, nonprofits can select the features that best suit their needs and create a tailored solution to sustain their mission. Additionally, with many nonprofits operating out of different areas – perhaps even internationally – the geographic expandability of VoIP is an impressive asset. VoIP makes it easy to scale phone systems— which is perfect for nonprofits that are just starting out or even those that can already foresee growth in the near future! You can learn more about VoIP for nonprofits here.
Cloud Solutions and Services
Nonprofits can benefit from having cloud-based software. Cloud solutions can increase and improve the ability for individuals to collaborate and simply, creates a lot more transparency. This is especially helpful if remote or hybrid work has remained a trend in your organization post-Covid. The ability to save and access work on a cloud can transform workflows, making files easy to find, alter and share. However, while a secure cloud-based system can prove favorable (we’re fans of it too), it’s not the end-all and be-all. Backups will remain fundamental to maximize security and prevent risks (we really can’t stress this enough), and backups are where we shine; we love backups!
Cost Effective IT Solutions and Services
Many nonprofits must juggle between balancing expenses and achieving their mission. Nonprofits are forced to embrace operating with various budgetary constraints, making cost-effective solutions a necessity, as well as something that must be chosen carefully. Today, finding cost effective IT services is paramount to an organization’s sustainability and scalability. Things like a server, computers, personal devices, phone systems, and critical software are some of the expenses that nonprofits might have to face—all of which can undoubtedly add up without the correct research and assistance. Additionally, staying on top of updates and ensuring constant monitoring is essential. This will prevent both external and internal risks. This is all much simpler to digest and address when you employ a managed service provider, such as Computero, to spearhead and maintain all necessary protocols.