With so much of a charity’s day-to-day activities moving online, from donations to funding applications, it’s becoming more and more apparent that IT support for charities is a priority. Where it might not have initially been top of the list in terms of updates, this pandemic has  surely shown that an online presence should be in the forefront of many business owners minds. Not-for-profit and charities included.  

For charities, especially those on the smaller side, having a digital presence is becoming increasingly important. Day by day, being accessible online gives you a competitive edge over other organisations. More often than not, if you’re working for a charity, your job title may not cover everything you have to do. You wear a lot of hats as a small business owner, and we can probably guess that IT support is one of the more stressful jobs. Almost 92% of charities can expect to increase their ‘boots on the ground’ impact in their area thanks to implementing a digital strategy. This includes increased donations, efficiency, and productivity, but most don’t know where to start. An important part of any digital strategy is the IT aspect, ranging from email and office packages to cybersecurity.

If you’re already working on a budget, outsourcing your IT support may also seem like an unnecessary extravagance, but when you’re dealing with sensitive information, too much can never be enough. Think of it as disaster mitigation. If you’re ensuring there’s not going to be a higher cost down the line, that saves in the long run. 

Where do we start?

If you don’t consider yourself to be particularly tech-savvy, this might seem like a daunting task. In general, there are a number of different avenues to consider when thinking about your charities priorities. In many organisations, there may be a tech-savvy friend or volunteer who is happy to help, but may not feel comfortable looking after the entire operation. If you need to grow and expand, or your IT volunteer wants to have time off, it’s better to have a long-term infrastructure in place to support you and your plans. 

For charities especially, we always advise to work proactively, not reactively, when it comes to IT support and cybersecurity. Unfortunately, hackers are not above targeting those most vulnerable, infact, they often make easy targets. If you’re a criminal, chances are you’re going to try to make your life as easy as possible with the biggest pay off. That’s why they often target low-profile small companies and charities. Since cyber attacks happen daily, health checks, anti-virus, and proper maintenance are key. Volunteers and seasonal support staff may not have the full picture to help in a crisis.

Have a think about what your business would most benefit from. Go around your volunteers and regular staff and ask them what would be most helpful in terms of IT support. Perhaps your fundraising team might benefit from an upgraded email and team management system. Your marketing staff ask for an online donation system linked to their social media accounts. Sounds a bit much? An IT support company can do it for you. 

What To Look For

When researching IT support for charities you must have a few things in mind. 

Which firms offer remote consultations? How frequent are they? Do they offer 24/7 support or helplines? Do you have a team which is mildly intimidated by approaching computer issues?  You may want to look at those firms which put an emphasis on on-site services. Store lots of sensitive data? Do they offer hardware support? Do your systems and processes need bringing into the 21st Century? Will they carry out an infrastructure audit? All of these questions can be answered by picking up the phone and talking  to an agent at an IT firm. 

There is often a reluctance to want to outsource work for charity or nfps, especially if you work with vulnerable people. If course cost comes into it, but many if not all providers will offer charity rates. IT support for charities is no longer a nicety, it’s a necessity. 

In an increasingly digitised world, it can be intimidating to make the move. But if these last two years have shown us anything, it’s that we must be prepared for the worst. To ensure you’re providing the best for your patrons and your donors, budgets or cours need to be streamlined, but as the saying goes in IT, ‘work on when not if’ and preparedness is the key. Not-for-profits and charities have an extremely unique way of working, we understand that. They are some of the most dedicated professionals we’ve had the pleasure of working with, and want to ensure that they have the opportunity for the most up time as possible. To increase productivity, maintain donations, and keep offering incredible work to those in need. 

Top Tips

  • Ensure you know who your specific point of contact is. By knowing this and sticking to them when discussing your account, you’ll avoid any issues surrounding miscommunication.
  • Don’t be scared of the overhaul. If you are in a position where a complete restructuring is needed for optimising your online operations, it’s best to turn to the professionals. They’ll handle it from start to finish, and you won’t have to worry about a thing. 
  • Talking to IT consultants might seem intimidating, but in reality we’re all very nice and approachable. We’re highly skilled in talking in plain English and explaining things simply without being patronising. 
  • If in doubt, ask! We’re always happy to help, and will never assume any knowledge of you. It’s always better you over-ask than run into miscommunication in the future. 
  • When talking to your trustees about the  return on investment for IT support for charities remind them of the predictable overhead, and reliability of outsourcing to a professional firm.

To learn more about our IT support for charities, then get in touch! Contact us today on 0203 137 7273 or by filling out our interactive online form.