Small Org Doesn’t Equal Small Tech: NTC Conference 2011

18 Mar

Small Org Doesn’t Equal Small Tech was the name of a leadership session at this year’s, Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in Washington DC. The session was led by Steve Heye, Digital Services Manager/YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. I really enjoyed the discussion and felt it fulfilled its point in showing that just because you’re a small organisation doesn’t mean that you can’t use innovative technologies to help your organisation to fulfill its goals or indeed grow bigger.

Free services such as blogging platforms like WordPress and networking sites like Facebook are also scalable technologies which can grow with your organisation as it grows. A Facebook page or a blog is also more likely to be suited to the size, resources and technical knowledge of your organisation over a fully developed and costly website.

The fact that these are cost-effective and easy to use can help overcome the main barriers small organisations often use to not engage with developing technologies such as –

  • No budget
  • No staff
  • No tech skills

Heye outlined the importance of organisations, no matter what their size to have a tech strategy in place with some key steps to focus this outlined below.

  • Figure out what core tech you have
  • Find out where you are spending your money and time
  • Categorise core tech (value or community)
  • Review how your efforts, dollars and strategy are spent
  • Source anything that doesn’t add value
  • Refocus towards your mission

As part of this strategy organisations should also divide their technology into Commodity and Value. If your mission is not technology then you should move commodity into the hands of someone who can better manage this, such as a consultant or if budgets don’t  allow this then a more knowledgeable person on the topic such as a volunteer/friend/board member. Rather than spending your days worrying about servers and networks, you would have more time to focus on the non-technological pain points of your organisation which if resolved could add real value and help your organisation to achieve its agreed mission.

Suggested resources in relation to this topic highlighted in the session included the book,  Managing Technology to Meet your Mission: A Strategic Guide for Nonprofit Leaders and referring to the Progressive Technology Project.

Continue to follow the conversation on this topic on twitter by using #11NTCsmall and also follow Steve Heye @steveheye.

One Response to “Small Org Doesn’t Equal Small Tech: NTC Conference 2011”

  1. Steve Heye March 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Thanks for the great recap! I always learn something when I present, the audience has such great insight. NPTECH rocks.

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