Nonprofits often take one of two approaches to managing their IT systems.
The first is to delegate IT responsibilities to an internal employee. Maybe somebody wears the IT hat in addition to performing another role, or maybe the organization hires somebody to focus solely on IT.
Regardless, at a certain point, technology almost always gets beyond the scope of any one person – and for most nonprofits, hiring a full team is prohibitively expensive. So, the employee is overburdened and unable to service every IT need.
The second is to outsource to a traditional IT provider. But, if this provider operates under the break-fix IT service model, the nonprofit has no access to strategy, and systems are likely to break down more and more frequently without a technology roadmap in place.
To make matters worse, many IT providers don’t prioritize nonprofit needs, leading to a lack of responsiveness and IT issues that hinder nonprofit work.
The bottom line is that most nonprofits are dissatisfied with their IT service.
Here’s how it works.
The path toward better support: managed IT services for nonprofits.
Instead of relying solely on an internal resource or a break-fix provider, nonprofits can opt for managed IT services.
What are managed IT services?
Managed IT services are comprehensive service packages that are tailored to the needs of your business and delivered at a fixed monthly price, no matter what. They enable relationship-based support and strategic planning that prevent issues in the first place.
Why are managed IT services for nonprofits so effective?
There are three key benefits to managed IT services:
1. Managed IT services align the incentives of the provider with the incentives of the client.
The break-fix IT service model, strangely enough, actually incentivizes poor support. Because providers are typically paid by the hour, the longer they spend fixing issues and the more issues there are, the more money they make.
This isn’t to say that break-fix providers intentionally take longer or don’t get to root causes – but it’s human nature to work to incentives, and it’s hard to imagine that there’s no impact from these misaligned motivators.
Managed IT services, on the other hand, are delivered at a fixed rate, so providers are incentivized to create environments without technology issues and to respond as quickly as possible.
Put simply, this model tends to lead to better service.
2. Managed IT services make costs predictable.
Additionally, while break-fix IT service may seem appealing, it results in unpredictable costs, which can hamper the nonprofit budgeting process. If there’s an issue that causes IT costs to blow past what the board approved for a given year, the nonprofit will either be unable to respond or forced to funnel budget away from other initiatives.
Either way, they’ll feel the repercussions.
Managed IT services for nonprofits are appealing because they completely standardize IT costs, making budgeting easy. And, while it might seem counterintuitive, managed IT services are often more cost-efficient than break-fix services in the long run, because they lead to optimized systems and fewer technology issues.
3. Managed IT services provide access to IT strategy.
Finally, managed IT services for nonprofits enable organizations to access a level of strategy that, under other IT service models, simply isn’t available.
Unlike the internal IT option (outlined at the beginning of this article), a managed IT service provider staffs a full team of experts in every area of IT. This means that nonprofits can access cloud experts, network design experts, Microsoft experts, cybersecurity experts – you get the idea.
And, unlike how service is delivered under the traditional break-fix model, the managed IT service model provides opportunity for strategy. IT service is oriented around organizational objectives, and the path forward is planned instead of reactionary.
The end result is that nonprofits get the technology support they need to carry out their missions more effectively.
Looking for nonprofit IT service?
The unfortunate reality is that, even under the managed IT service model, many nonprofits aren’t served well, because many IT providers don’t prioritize nonprofit needs well.
At ATB Technologies, we do.
Our focus on quality service is the reason we haven’t lost a client in over five years. During that time, we’ve helped an array of St. Louis nonprofits to advance their missions – including helping St. Vincent Home for Children win a $92,000 technology grant with strategic IT consulting.
Your nonprofit doesn’t have to settle for subpar IT service. Schedule a free consultation with us, and let’s talk through your current challenges and chart a path toward IT that will never let you down.