Cloud computing has become popular across all types of organisations, including not-for-profits (NFPs). In fact, NFPs that use cloud computing technology generally report increased donations and improved staff productivity – and in a year when so many Australian charities are struggling to keep going due to COVID-19, not-for-profits need all the help they can get.
So why haven’t more NFPs taken the plunge and embraced the cloud? The biggest reason is usually the perceived expense. This is certainly a legitimate concern at a time when predictions suggest that by September of next year, 14% of NFPs in Australia may not be financially viable. But as organisations learned – many the hard way – this year, cloud computing has revolutionised the way we work, spend money and give. Teams that were able to adapt and work from outside the office, access information, reach out and engage with customers and donors, kept afloat while others did not. Having a cloud-based solution pays off, and it’s usually less expensive than you think.
Still not convinced? Here’s a look at why and how implementing cloud computing helps not-for-profits.
How cloud computing solutions help not-for-profits
All businesses, including NFPs, benefit from cloud solutions because:
- These systems actually reduce IT costs in the long run
- They offer greater flexibility for staff
- They improve collaboration, communication and engagement
- They make donations easier to accept, track and manage
First, with a cloud-based system, not-for-profits reduce IT spending because you’re not paying for servers or hardware. You also free up space, which is often critical for NFPs because you can use that prime real estate for other needs, such as workspace or storage. Plus, you don’t have to pay for ongoing IT upgrades or maintenance as those are included as part of your cloud services, so you constantly have the latest software, patches and fixes.
Flexibility is critically important for staff, as we’ve seen during the COVID crisis. Cloud computing systems allow staff to communicate online, work remotely, check and respond to emails, access customer and donor records, share and edit documents – all safely and securely.
For donors, having the ability to make a quick donation online is critical. If they can’t come to your office or event (or even if they can), you need to be able to offer them secure, easy-to-use cashless donation options that are easy to track, manage and acknowledge.
Staff who have remote access to donor information can reach out quickly and engage with them in emails, by phone and on social networks. Being able to engage remotely is vital at times when many fundraisers and in-person events have been cancelled due to the current health scare. NFPs that can’t engage with donors quickly and conveniently are missing out.
Having centralised, accessible donor data boosts donations, too. A cloud-based CRM (customer relationship management) system brings all your donor information into one hub, allowing you to track donor activity more easily, personalise their experience and nurture them so that they become more active, ongoing supporters.
Cloud computing installation, support and training
One final reason many NFPs are wary of taking on cloud systems is the training involved. Cloud solutions only work if your IT provider is reliable and your staff is trained and ready to go. The best cloud system will never pay for itself unless it is set up properly and your users take full advantage of its benefits.
At Solutions+, we have extensive experience helping not-for-profit organisations across South Australia set up and learn how to use powerful, affordable cloud-based systems. If you have questions or need advice on setting up a cloud-based system for your NFP, please contact us.