Importance of a Technology Strategy in Your Nonprofit

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Dan WeissThere’s no turning back from our reliance on computers in business. We simply can’t compete with paper and pencil. When it comes to the pursuit of increased levels of technology, we need a technology strategy to guide good decision-making.


What are our goals? When it comes to technology, are we a market leader or a follower? Even if we want to be at the leading edge of technology, we will want to avoid the “bleeding edge” where the “bugs” outweigh the utility. Whatever strategy we pursue, consistency is a good policy.

What will new technology do for us? I’ve seen too many companies layer on technology, year after year, with the promise and intention of saving labor costs; yet the savings never materialize. That’s because labor costs will continue until management takes an affirmative action to reduce costs, which isn’t always easy. Inertia will lead to higher fixed technology costs along with higher labor costs — a double whammy.


What will it cost? This is a tough one, because I’ve rarely seen technology projects finish within their original budgets. Will a project be worthwhile if we spend 125% of the budget?

While it’s tempting to calculate a return on investment (ROI) to determine whether a project is worthwhile, it’s often difficult to reduce technology “investment” decisions to these terms. Improved customer service and better information for decision making are certainly valuable results, but they can be very difficult to measure in monetary terms.

Are we investing for the right reasons? Business managers are people, so they are prone to making business buying decisions just like they might make personal buying decisions. Sometimes they want the latest and coolest stuff, but that may not be consistent with your organizational goals. Do you have controls in place to prevent those types of purchases?


Technology strategy decisions are among the most important ones that business managers must make. Good decision making requires a comprehensive integration of long-term business goals with cost-effective solutions.


Dan Weiss, founder and President of Counterpart CFO, leads a team of flexible, part-time CFOs specializing in nonprofitsTo read more from Dan, follow him on LinkedIn or subscribe to his blog at

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