The Need for Cost-Effective IT Solutions for Not-For-Profits

While digital transformation is associated with high levels of investment, there are ways to improve digital efforts in not-for-profit organisations by identifying the right tools and support. 

In an increasingly digital world, it’s clear that not-for-profit organisations need to be adapting how they work, how they engage with supporters, and how they connect with users. Essentially, they need to do more to meet evolving needs. But it’s not quite as simple as that. 

Most not-for-profits – particularly in this period of post-COVID recovery – don’t have the funds to invest in digital transformation. So this isn’t about doing more. It’s about doing more, with less. 

And that’s proving to be something of a challenge.

Today, nearly half of all UK charities say that they’re in desperate need of funding to enable them to purchase the necessary software and IT infrastructure they need, to achieve their digital goals. Funding for digital initiatives is now the number one challenge for not-for-profit organisations.

Unfortunately, 45% have not been able to secure this essential funding through grants, leaving them struggling to meet the needs of their users, and to continue offering support to those in need. 

But there is some good news. Digital transformation is associated with high levels of investment. But there are ways to improve digital efforts in not-for-profit organisations by identifying the right tools and support. This can generate a major impact without requiring significant funding. 

What should not-for-profits be looking for?

Moving forward with digital transformation plans in a cost-effective way means looking for four distinct elements in both software and support that can maximise value while minimising costs:

1. Scalability

Look for software offered ‘as a service’, which means that you only pay for what you need. This is hugely important for not-for-profits who often have varying levels of staffing throughout the year, or peaks and troughs in user demand for services. This means you’re able to scale up when you need to support more volunteers or more users, and scale down as needed to maintain affordability. 

2. Flexibility

Cloud-based software sits in the cloud, rather than on the specific device where it has been installed. This means that it can be downloaded to individual devices as required. There’s no need to purchase separate software licences for each staff member or volunteer, as the software can be installed on a set number of devices with a single licence. This can be a very quick, very easy way to reduce costs. 

3. Affordability

High-quality software can be expensive. But some providers do offer grants or discounted packages to not-for-profit organisations as part of their social responsibility initiatives. Microsoft is probably the best example of this. They have a range of non-profit offers which provide eligible organisations with access to a selection of Microsoft 365 tools for discounted rates, to help them help others. 

4. Support & optimisation

One of the biggest – and most costly – mistakes that not-for-profits can make is to implement new software when they already have access to tools that will do the job. At Reliable Networks, we’re on a mission to support not-for-profit organisations to optimise their tech stack, get more from their applications, and minimise their risk. Our aim is to help them lower costs – and do more, with less. 

To find out more about Microsoft 365 for non-profits, and our work with charities, get in touch

Gregory Olczyk

Gregory Olczyk