The Ultimate Guide to Managed IT Services for Nonprofits
As one of the 1.7 million active nonprofits in the U.S., you know the importance of having effective IT solutions to streamline your daily workflow. You have unique IT needs and strict budgetary parameters to work in. IT support for nonprofits can improve your operations. Many people associate managed IT services with the corporate sector. However, as the demand for nonprofit IT services increases, managed service providers are stepping up.
Understanding how managed services can impact your nonprofit can help you make decisions that cut costs, engender donor trust, and allow you to focus on making a difference.
What Are Managed IT Services for Nonprofits?
Managed IT services are information technology services outsourced to a professional managed services provider (MSP). MSPs give organizations expert IT support to reduce costs, improve quality, and free up their internal teams to perform tasks specific to the organization.
Managed services for nonprofits are slightly different than services for for-profit options. Although the basic premise is still the same, multiple software and IT options are built specifically for nonprofits. Like pro-profit organizations, nonprofits must meet IT considerations and challenges, ensure they run smoothly, and reach the right audiences. However, nonprofit IT support is unique for several reasons, including the following:
- Serving a different purpose: As a nonprofit, you have a different purpose in emphasizing service-focused endeavors. This fundamental difference impacts all your technology decisions, and partnering with an MSP that understands this distinction means their services are more effective in your specific context.
- Meeting stakeholder needs: Nonprofits have various stakeholders, including donors, community members, constituents, and the board. These different groups require more sophisticated organizational functions.
- Navigating unique compliance requirements: Nonprofits must meet specific compliance requirements. Depending on the nonprofit, they may have to comply with health care privacy or identity protection regulations, for example. Your IT support provider needs to understand these requirements and ensure your IT infrastructure is always compliant.
- Working within budgetary constraints: Nonprofits must often allocate funds to specific program activities, which can create a challenge in accessing the best technology. Your MSP must understand that you must often strike a delicate balance between budget and administrative effectiveness.
- Relying on specialized technology: With many nonprofits relying on specialized technology, IT support providers must be familiar with these programs to implement and maintain them.
How Do Nonprofits Benefit From Managed IT Services?
Some nonprofits choose to manage their IT internally, but partnering with an MSP has significant benefits, including the following:
Internal IT teams are often subject to significant time constraints. As your nonprofit grows and changes, you’ll need to consider every element of your IT, including tech support, cybersecurity threats, and many other factors. Partnering with an MSP means someone else completes these tasks for you automatically. They set up your system so you know it runs as it should, and your internal teams can focus on your mission and value, spending time on critical tasks.
Use Extensive Scaling Capabilities
Your nonprofit’s IT needs likely change throughout the year. When hosting a big drive or event, you need more specific IT services, but sometimes your requirements are not as detailed. Managed IT services allow you to continue functioning without losing quality, regardless of the increasing requirements.
Access Constant Assistance and Expertise
A good MSP is always available to support your efforts. Partnering with one gives your employees, donors, and supporters instant assistance when they need it the most.
Enjoy Enhanced Flexibility
Your nonprofit needs innovative technology to operate at its best, but sometimes you can’t afford state-of-the-art IT tools. With an MSP, you can access their technology without funding expensive upgrades.
Understand Pricing Expectations
One of the fundamentals of running a nonprofit is managing your expenses effectively. Many MSPs offer a flat rate for their monthly services, so you know what to expect. Framework IT’s Evolution Framework takes pricing a step further with a detailed consultation to fit your requirements to your budget.
Improve Your Cybersecurity
Protecting stakeholder data is essential for any organization. As a nonprofit, you must protect information for your organization, donors, and those involved in your projects. Cyber attacks are becoming more common every year. If your nonprofit experiences a breach, you could lose the trust your stakeholders place in you.
An MSP provides additional cybersecurity throughout your infrastructure. If a new threat appears, they act quickly, and as they are available 24/7, they can deal with threats in real-time.
Partnering with an MSP allows your nonprofit to reduce IT employee salaries and benefits, IT training costs, and overheads to buy the hardware necessary to operate. These savings make managed services a more affordable option than in-house IT for many nonprofits.
The right MSP can help you ensure your IT systems comply with the relevant regulations to maintain compliance without the stress and hassle.
When to Consider Partnering With a Managed IT Service
Knowing when to outsource IT support is critical for nonprofits. You need to be able to reap the benefits, not simply shoulder an extra cost. If you’re considering whether it’s the right time to reach out, ask yourself whether your nonprofit is experiencing IT challenges.
As your nonprofit grows, your needs change, and you may get to a point where managing your IT is too laborious and complex. If you only have time to troubleshoot instead of plan ahead, it may be time to start looking for MSP support. Even if you’re happy with your internal IT team, pay attention to areas where they may fall short, as you can partner with an MSP to augment their excellent work.
How to Choose the Best MSP for Your Nonprofit
As your IT support service needs are unique to your nonprofit, choosing the right MSP is essential to get the IT support you need. With many options, there’s plenty to consider when deciding which MSP to partner with and trust. Keep the following points in mind when evaluating MSPs:
- Nonprofit experience: It’s exceptionally beneficial to partner with an MSP that has experience working with nonprofit organizations. Ask if your potential provider has worked with other nonprofits before.
- Pricing: Budgetary constraints are a reality in nonprofit organizations. Work with a provider that understands your limitations and offers pricing based on your needs and budget. They must be able to provide you with honest value without hidden fees. Hiring in-house IT support or expecting your other team members to handle IT issues can be expensive. Efficient tech solutions and managed services can help your team enhance productivity and make the most of their time.
- Proactivity and responsiveness: Whatever your needs, your provider should be able to provide consistent and fast support. Find out what their response times are like and whether those times are acceptable in your context.
- Reputation: Ask around and find out which MSPs organizations similar to yours are using. Find out whether they’re happy with the service they receive and check for references and testimonials online.
Partner With Framework IT for Your Managed Services Solution
Partnering with an MSP can be the right move for your nonprofit, provided you choose one that understands your mission, values, and IT support needs — partner with Framework IT Services to take the guesswork out of outsourced IT. We understand the unique needs of nonprofits and pride ourselves on an approach and pricing structure designed to give you the best possible value.
We offer managed IT services to help you streamline your workflow and focus on what you do best. Our experts are always available to walk you through any challenges. Feel free to reach out to us for an introductory call, so we can chat about your needs as a nonprofit and start upgrading your IT support today.