In the fast-paced world of non-profit organizations there is often a temptation to rapidly adopt new software solutions that promise efficiency and productivity gains. However, when organizations rush to put software into play too quickly it can have the opposite effect, triggering potential setbacks. This is where a qualified and professional help desk is essential. Here are just a few reasons why non-profits should give their help desk the time it needs to vet and test software before integration.

Understanding Your Environment

Non-profits operate in a unique environment with specific needs and constraints that distinguish them from their for-profit counterparts. Budgetary limitations, reliance on volunteer manpower, and a heightened focus on achieving their missions are common characteristics. In this context, it’s essential to carefully consider every resource and avoid unnecessary risks.

The Urgency Conundrum

The urgency to implement new software may stem from genuine needs, such as improved efficiency or enhanced collaboration. However, it’s crucial to balance this urgency with the need for due diligence. Rushing the implementation process without proper vetting can lead to unforeseen complications, disrupt daily operations, lead to frustrations for staff and volunteers, and result in a

waste of valuable resources.

The Role of Help Desks

Help desks play a pivotal role in ensuring the seamless integration of new software for non-profits. They are the first line of defense against potential issues and are responsible for troubleshooting problems, providing support, and maintaining the overall health of your organization’s IT infrastructure. In essence, they are the guardians of operational continuity.

Why Should You Vet Software?

Vetting software involves so much more than simply installing it and hoping for the best. Your helpdesk should be putting it through a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that it aligns with your organization’s objectives, is compatible with your existing systems, and meets your established security and compliance standards. Help desks play a crucial role in this process by thoroughly testing new software in a controlled environment to identify any potential issues before they implement it broadly throughout your organization.

Identifying Compatibility Issues

One of the primary reasons for allowing your help desk to vet and test software is to identify compatibility issues with existing systems. Due to budgetary constraints, non-profits often cobble together a range of hardware and software platforms. In this fragilely balanced environment, incompatible software can disrupt workflows, leading to downtime and frustration among employees and volunteers. By giving them the time they need to test, help desks can identify and address these issues before they become major problems.

Ensuring Compliance

Non-profits often handle sensitive data, including donor information and client details. Installing new software comes with the responsibility to ensure that it maintains the security and compliance of this data. Help desks can thoroughly assess the software’s security features, encryption protocols, and adherence to relevant regulations, mitigating the risk of data breaches and legal complications.

Maintaining Security Standards

No matter what type of software you purchase, your help desk should ensure that it has recognized security standards in place to safeguard your organization. Two of the most critical are Single Sign-On (SSO) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). MFA requires that users enter an additional login authentication, such as approving on a mobile authenticator app or entering a code sent to an email or texted to a phone. This adds a layer of security because even if a hacker gets a victim’s password, they are unlikely to have access to multiple devices. SSO allows a user to log in to several related software systems with a single login credential. SSO eases user experience because employees no longer must recall multiple passwords. When paired together, the duo creates a secure environment that is easy to navigate.

Cost-Effective Solutions

Let’s face it, non-profits’ IT budgets are often tight. These financial realities make it essential to thoroughly examine the cost-effectiveness of any software solution before it’s implemented. Rushing into installation without proper vetting can lead to unexpected expenses for troubleshooting, additional training, or even software replacement. By allowing help desks to vet and test software, non-profits can avoid unnecessary expenses and allocate limited resources more effectively.

Building a Supportive Ecosystem

A good help desk is not merely a reactive entity that addresses issues as they arise; it is an essential piece of a proactive and supportive IT ecosystem. By involving help desks in the vetting and testing process, non-profits can foster a collaborative approach, ensuring that every part of their IT team is familiar with the software and can provide ongoing support efficiently.

Impact on Culture

Beyond the technical aspects, the vetting and testing process can have either a positive or negative influence on your organizational culture. How you go about implementing new software signals to employees and volunteers that their needs are being considered in your decision-making process. Plus, when you involve the people who will be using the software, they are more likely to spot any issues or concerns that your IT team may miss. This inclusivity fosters a sense of trust and collaboration between IT teams and end-users, contributing to a collaborative work environment instead of an us vs. them approach.

Strategic Planning

Allowing your IT help desk to thoroughly vet and test software is not just a short-term consideration; it also contributes to strategic planning and scalability. Understanding how new software integrates with existing systems allows non-profits to plan for future growth without encountering unforeseen roadblocks. It lays the groundwork for a scalable IT infrastructure that can adapt to your organization’s evolving needs.

Before they forge ahead with new software, non-profits should patiently take a step back and lean on their IT teams.  The vital role played by help desks in vetting and testing software cannot be overstated. By allowing your IT service provider the time it needs to thoroughly assess and address potential issues, non-profits can ensure a seamless integration process, minimize disruptions, and ultimately focus on what matters most – making a positive impact on the communities you serve. Patience may be a virtue, but in the realm of nonprofit IT, it is also a strategic imperative for long-term success. Need help vetting new software or getting a help desk in place? We’re here to help! Reach out to us to learn how our Managed IT services can design, build, deliver, and operate IT services for your organization while providing ongoing management and support.