Cloud for Charities? With its familiarity with flexible working and usual willingness to embrace processes which limit operating costs, it’s surprising that the not-for-profit sector didn’t leap on the cloud.
It’s such an affordable, scalable and reliable service to adopt but it seems clouded (see what I did there) with unnecessary confusion and complexity. That’s a real shame.
The charitable sector could benefit from saving money, more efficiency, more innovative solutions and growing their donor base through its adoption.
The nature of the service allows no maintenance costs and a ‘pay as you go’ approach. This is great for seasonable fluctuations or scaling services, as and when it’s convenient and financially sensible. In addition, it allows the software to be used in any location with Internet access – great for charities with large groups of remote workers or home-based fundraisers.
A fully-supported IT infrastructure would allow charities to concentrate on core priorities, but as with many new technologies, the challenge lies in taking that initial leap of faith and working through the transition period.
Whilst many charities are using the cloud for basic admin solutions like emails, few are reaping the benefits of using it for accounting and their fundraising databases.
It may surprise them that SAAS providers can manage donor data in a manner which allows charities to understand their donors and when and how they prefer to donate, thus forging better bonds with their supporters.
Barriers to market listed in most research are security, a lack of knowledge, cost, trust and loss of control.
It’s easy to see why more traditional IT managers may think that data is better stored in house but these solutions are archaic. Research says that almost half of cyber attacks are focused on the charitable sector. The best cloud providers have teams of security experts, identifying threats and ready to spot attacks before they happen.
Stories in the news are there because they are such a rarity, rather than the norm.
I think the missing piece of the jigsaw is an experienced solutions provider who can make sure it’s a seamless transition, not an experience fraught with challenges as research shows is feared.
Every not-for-profit would like to save money and execute their core mission more effectively. The speed with which hardware becomes outdated compared to new versions of software, which are invisibly and almost continually updated from cloud providers, is almost breathtaking.
My advice to any charitable organisation looking into the cloud is to initially perform a cost benefit analysis and really look into where the cloud could help them right now. Future uses can be added as and when. With a clear set of goals and requirements and an expert to guide the process, it really is a no brainer.