The 7 Dos And Don’ts Of Technology

July 16, 2013       The NonProfit Times      

There’s simply no way to avoid technology these days. This isn’t a problem if the sight of computers and other devices excites you but it can be a bit of a hassle if these things are more likely to give you nightmares.

Managing technology can be one of the scariest aspects of your work as a nonprofit leader for two major reasons: It changes all the time and when you make a mistake, it can end up being very expensive. You might think you need a lot of technical skills and training to manage it but, as Holly Ross, executive director of the Drupal Association, wrote in “Nonprofit Management 101,” that isn’t the case.

“The skills that have you on the path to a successful nonprofit career are the same ones that will help you manage technology successfully,” wrote Ross, who explained that some of the main skills needed are creating a vision, understanding your needs, and solid planning.

Ross also identified seven dos and don’ts that will help you as you continue to learn how to make technology work for your nonprofit:

  • DO let your mission and strategy be your guides when making technology decisions.
  • DO establish strong systems. Your staff can’t get much mission-critical work done if they have to reboot the computers every hour.
  • DO plan. You don’t have to get out your crystal ball to plan effectively for your technology needs.
  • DO evaluate continuously. You can’t learn from your experiences if you never stop to reflect.
  • DON’T make technology decisions based solely on cost. Cost is only one factor in determining the value and expense of technology.
  • DON’T forget to include staff in your technology decisions. You’ll need allies as you implement new systems.

DON’T select mission-critical software like a donor database without first documenting your key business processes.