There’s no doubt that technology has transformed the way nonprofits function, expanding their reach and opening up possibilities. The downside of complex technology is that it requires support to remain up-to-date and to function as you need it to. Unfortunately for many nonprofits, hiring skilled IT experts can be costly, and those that you hire are often tasked with the 24/7 job of doing everything from basic support to network security to strategic planning.
That huge task can be too much for one person – or even for a small team – to handle. Most nonprofits, however, don’t have much room in their budgets for more than one or perhaps two IT experts. How can you balance that workload without burning out your experts? What’s more, what happens when your IT person takes a vacation or even a sick day?
There is a solution for nonprofits and their beleaguered tech teams: supplemental IT support. Supplemental IT support allows organizations to get extra help with their technology as needed. We’re not talking about completely outsourcing IT; this method gives your internal IT employees space to breathe and time to focus on the projects and priorities that are critical to be kept in-house. Let’s explore how supplemental IT support can benefit your organization, your donors, and your overall security.
How Supplemental IT Support Can Help
Supplemental IT support has many potential benefits for nonprofits. Here are a few of the most frequently mentioned.
1. Stretching Your Budget
We’ve already mentioned that budgets can be a continual point of stress for nonprofits, who need to keep an eye on administrative overhead. Aggravating that is the fact that good IT experts demand premium salaries and benefits; they are not low-cost employees. By supplementing your in-house IT team with outsourced help as needed, you avoid the expense and commitment of bringing on additional full-time employees for what might just be a seasonal need. That allows you to spend the bulk of your IT budget on getting both a quality in-house IT team and the systems and hardware you need.
2. Project Assistance
Keeping up with the evolving technology landscape and the updates it requires is truly a full-time job. When it’s time to migrate to the cloud, implement a new system, overhaul your network security, or any of a myriad of other complex projects, it pays to bring in experts. These professionals understand the technical nuances of what you are trying to achieve since it is all they do.
Your in-house IT team, on the other hand, would likely have to invest a tremendous amount of time researching best practices for the project and then completing it. While they are doing that, there is a good chance that daily workflows will suffer. That might mean that other employees have to wait longer for help with small IT-related questions and issues, or that donors don’t receive immediate attention. In the worst-case scenario, critical security updates might not be made as scheduled, which can put your organization at risk.
Bringing in supplemental IT support gives your internal team the help they need and the flexibility they require to either delegate daily duties or the large project.
3. Filling Roles
We talked about saving money and saving time, but one additional benefit of supplemental IT assistance is finding balance. At a typical nonprofit that has a small IT department of one or perhaps two people, the sheer volume of requests can be overwhelming. Growth exacerbates the problem, as technical needs increase to match mission creep. In cases like this, there might not be enough additional work to justify another full-time IT person. Yet employing a part-time person still incurs the costs of hiring, training, managing, and more.
By using an MSP, your organization can bring in exactly the type of support you need for precisely the number of hours you need it. And that time can flex as your needs do. This saves the costs associated with hiring a part-time employee in-house and gives you the flexibility you need.
What’s more, this additional support can fill any role you require, and those needs can change over time. If you have an IT director or a Chief Technology Officer in place, they can strategize the big picture while your supplemental IT technician handles daily IT tasks. Perhaps you have wonderful hands-on support, but you need someone to act as a CTO and analyze your needs from a high-level perspective. Supplemental IT support can fill that role as well. Whatever you need, whenever your organization needs it, outsourced IT support can handle it.
4. Breathing Room
Your IT staff is essential to the success of your nonprofit. As we become more dependent on technology, they are the glue that keeps everything running behind the scenes. If you have a one-person IT department, they are likely to be handling calls on off hours, and answering the phone when they should be taking a day off or taking a sick day. Supplemental IT support allows your in-house team to take a break and turn off their phone because they know technical issues will be taken care of while they are away. That’s huge for morale, as it allows them to truly unplug from a demanding role.
It also gives the rest of your team a level of comfort because they’ll know that even if your in-house person takes a sick day, they can still get their tech questions answered and their issues solved. It’s also a seamless process for donors or clients who won’t know that the IT technician who is assisting them isn’t a permanent part of your staff.
The Help Your Team Needs
Adding supplemental IT support can benefit your organization and your internal IT team. Whether your donors need after-hours technical support on your website or you need to migrate your records to the cloud, MSPs have IT technologists who are experts in exactly what you need. They can help your IT department tick items off their to-do list, free them to accomplish long-range goals, or just give them a needed vacation. With supplemental IT support, you’ll get the help you need, with what you need, when you need it – and a happier IT staff. Need help with supplemental IT support? Reach out to us!