Small NonProfits, Crummy Computers and the Cloud
There are many benefits included in the “value proposition” for cloud computing models, but there are some hidden gems in terms of how these outsourced IT models can specifically and directly address one of the biggest problems facing many smaller nonprofit organizations: they have to use old, outdated, and often just pretty crummy equipment. But now it’s OK, because even crummy old PCs can work just fine when the applications are hosted in the cloud.
Small nonprofit organizations often rely exclusively on donations to keep the business running. Donations don’t always come in the form of dollars; sometimes donations include used computer equipment. For many nonprofits, using donated equipment is the only option they have due to various budgeting constraints, and nonprofits need computers just as badly as any other business. Not only do these underfunded businesses have to try to operate with what most users would consider to be sub-par equipment, they frequently operate their systems and networks without the aid of skilled or experienced technicians. For a small nonprofit organization, keeping up with business is tough when the computers and software aren’t able to fully meet the need.
To complicate things even more, many people working in smaller nonprofit organizations are mobile workers – functioning either as part-time participants or users who simply need to work from a variety of possible locations. And they almost always have to use their own mobile devices. Supporting a remote or mobile workforce is particularly challenging when even the most basic of computing requirements are barely met, so addressing the variables of everyone having their own mobile devices and remote computers is frightful at best.