Whenever I began a new technology consulting project with a nonprofit, one of the first questions I ask is “Do you have a tech plan?” That’s because a good plan is the foundation of being strategic and successful with technology.
Here are five top benefits I have seen organizations reap from technology planning.
You wouldn’t send your staff out to execute on your mission without a plan, so why approach technology – which practically everyone uses in their job – without a plan? Like a lighthouse in a storm, a good plan helps you steer your efforts and helps you avoid the rocky shores of uncertainty.
2. Saving Resources
Technology can be expensive and confusing. Quick fixes and short-sighted “band-aids” lead to spending much more than is necessary. Without a plan that helps to keep your efforts focused, your organization is being inefficient in your use of resources spent managing technology.
3. Increased Effectiveness
By being thoughtful about how they use technology, I have seen organizations increase the number of people they serve by 20% with the same resources. Planning helps identify and reduce inefficiencies. When staff have the right tools for their job, they are more effective in everything they do.
4. Better Decisions
Having a technology plan as a solid foundation leads to making more thoughtful, strategic decisions. Every nonprofit I have worked with on creating a technology plan has seen an improvement not only in technology use but in data management. It often takes the form of reducing the data “noise” that staff and management deal with, focusing on what data is really useful. This in turn improves their ability to make sound decisions based on data.
5. More Funding
A good plan connects your mission with your use of technology. For example, if a funder is interested in increasing the availability of mental health services in your community, you can show how funding your technology project will help achieve that goal. It also provides a basis for showing other funders what your technology costs are for projects they fund.
No matter what their age, experience or comfort level with technology, people from organizations of all sizes and types reap these benefits. They are often surprised when I tell them that they already know 80% of what they need to know to be effective in technology planning, because they know their organization’s culture, history, processes and environment.
Completing a technology planning process boost the results you get from your investments in technology. I guide organizations through a technology planning process that can – and often does – transform those organizations. After all, who doesn’t want to be more effective, efficient and better stewards of resources?