30 July 2005

Technology costs money. (Round 2)

Heads up, nonprofit executive directors!

This is the 21st century, and you need to buy your staff technology that was developed in this millenium, not the previous one.

What's that I hear you whining? Is it that you don't have the money in your budget for technology?

Here are two urgent messages from Reality:

1) If you don't have the money for technology, you don't have what it takes to operate, and it's time to decide whether to close down or find the money.

2) These days the executive director of a nonprofit agency has to be its Chief Fundraising Officer, so get moving.


Anonymous said...

If you don't have the money for technology, you don't have what it takes to operate, and it's time to decide whether to close down or find the money.

"What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed."

Fidel said...

Sometimes I wonder what position I'm in. I have an idea for a non-profit that should be easily sustainable if I had the money. I know exactly what technology I need. Yes it's a lot. At least for me. Then again.. I don't know. $250,000 for a 5 year lease and 250,000 on gear. roughly $50,000 for PA equipment, another $50,000 for studio equipment, and at least $50,000 for the servers and the core employees personal computers and various equipment. With whatever left over for coffee bar and emergency cash.

Yeah, You definatly need an accountant, and a lawyer.

For my needs I definatly need these people resources:
A hardware specialist (networking)
A software specialist (app dev)
An Audio Engineer
A PR person
and a Secretary/Executive Assistant.

I personally am an artist with a deep grasp of technology, That is if I can't make it work. I at least know who can and when they are bs'ing me for the most part.

There has never been a "well I'll call tech support" ethic in me. I digress. Where I'm floundering is how do I make a presentable business plan. I don't think running it would be hard at all. Delegate responsibility responsibly, diversify your income within reason (Support your risk business with a stable one.), and this is a real important one. Set the underestimated up to succeed. My angle on saving the world is giving the right artists (any kind) the right tools to enable them to make enough money to finish first productions using the quality of equipment they want to buy with thier first check. Enable people to take back creative control. The technology exists to let people create and sell thier own work without institutions like the RIAA or Major Label publishers breathing down thier neck or promoting an artist beyond thier talent or market thereby bankrupting them. Tommorows music media market is going to be based on getting the core product (the music) to the right niche market at the right price and getting those profits most directly back in to the artists hands.

If you have any specific advice I'd love to hear it.


Dave Moffatt said...

In my experience, the $ you spend on hardware or the software it uses, will be dwarfed by the $ you will spend either training your staff on using it effectively, or cleaning up the mess on your hands for not training your staff to use it efffectively.

Also, another rant. These foundations that give grants to NPOs for cutting edge technology pilot projects. Ridiculous! NPOs don't need cutting edge tech. we need reliable mature technology; I believe the vast bulk of the NPO sector (I don't mean the rich NPOs like Gates Foundations or the Council on Foundations or the tech-related NPOs like TechSoup or the on-the-margins NPOs...) will always be behind the technology curve. A little conservatism is sometimesa good thing.

pitsch said...

especially non profits, especially in threshold countries, can easily work with machines from 1999. if you be able to scale down from a microsoft word based attachement heavy, i-print-everything-out workflow, and use more web based applications, use ubuntu and open office,
a thin client with a pIII will easily do it. And if your staff think they need an eMac, wifi-laptop or LCD instead of CRT they might better look for another job. so it can only be a joke and not an argument that non profits should first invest into the latest hardware, 3d cards, terabyte drives and dual core cpus... as long it's about office work, a mature setup, network security and backup strategy is far more important.

CreditUser said...

I think it's natural that nonprofit organizations are short of good, up-to-date technology. Where do they get money for that? And I also think that mature tech that nonprofits have used is more reliable.