The internet connection may hold up a bit better this time around but I don’t want to risk it, so I’m going to do the same as the last session and just type up the notes in real time and post as soon as the session is over.  Hopefully tomorrow the connection will sustain some real live blogging with CoverItLive (my favorite live blogging tool).

Peter Campbell’s How to Decide session:

Nonprofits have limited resources, which usually means that we have to make tough choices about where to spend our time and money. Here. we cover best practices in planning for technology projects, providing tools to help you make smart decisions about where to invest those resources. From the forthcoming NTEN book: Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission. Takeaways: 1. Top to bottom outline of the nonprofit strategic planning process, incorporating balanced scorecards, multiple bottom lines and focusing on technology planning. 2. Sound advice on how to evaluate which tech projects need to be done the exact same way that a for-profit would and which ones can be done creatively, with a deep dive into what “creatively” means. 3. Direction as to how to develop of Technology Plan – what goes in it, how do you get it in there, how do you make it a document that others can understand and engage with.

Organizational Planning:

A unified strategic plan ties together the: strategic place, business plans, and budget by using balanced scorecards and business process maps to strictly tie actions and expenses to mission-servicing strategies.

Balanced scorecards: a balanced scorecard identifies four areas that your strategic plan should address: financial, consitutent, internal business processes, and employee learning and growth.

  • Financial, revenue focus
  • Constituent, starting a newsletter or services
  • Internal processes, putting in new phone system
  • Employee training and growth, bonuses, education, etc.

Example:  Supporting Criteria

  • Strategy: increase consitutuent awareness of our accompliments by distributing a monthly email newsletter
  • Area: constituents
  • Objectives: increase mission awareness, increase donations, increase communication
  • Measures: eCRM analytics, donations
  • Targets: 5% increase in new prospects, 7% increase in donations
  • Initiatives: start montly newsletter

Technology planning: you can’t budget effectively on a year to year basis; long term planning allows you to spread out recurring costs and space out larget projects in ways that even out the expense.

Elements of the plan: technology plans should have at least three components: strategy, support, actions.

A plan answers these questions: how will the actions laid out in the plan support the mission and organizational strategic plan? how will staff be resourced to use the technology? Does the organization have a coherent strategy for application support and training?

Comprehensive evaluation: SWOT analyses, technical and end-user assessments of options, clear understanding of business needs versus software assumptions, creativity.

Peter’s philosophy: we do not have money or staff the way most for profits do, so we need to understand where we need to act exactly like a forprofit and where we can do otherwise.

SWOT = Strength, weaknesses, opportunities, threats

Conclusion: good planning requires that you understand who you are, what technology must do well for you, and where you can get away with it by doing things more creatively, etc.

Resources:

Further information and relevant links are at the Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission wiki:  http://www.meetyourmission.org

Contact me: Peter Campbell psc @ techcafeteria.com

Buy Peter’s book!  He’s got a whole chapter dedicated to this subject in NTEN’s new book: Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission!

09NTC How to Decide: IT Planning & Prioritizing
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