"It's been quite a couple of years" seems destined to be the catchphrase of the decade. The stress and social isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of political and social upheavals and weather disasters have pushed many nonprofit staff and organizations towards the breaking point. Yet we have also seen people dig deeper, stand up, and say, "OK, I'm going to make this work."
In the world of nonprofit technology, we witnessed and supported organizations over the last 18 months as they threw everything they had at unprecedented challenges to their standard way of doing things. For many, this happened in three stages:
- Scrambling to acquire technology early on, just to be able to keep working. This meant purchasing laptops and video cameras and adopting Zoom, Microsoft 365, DocuSign, Box, and Google.
- Navigating a limbo period as COVID surged and receded, trying to figure out whether and how to bring people back into the office, and balancing concerns about the organization's operations with those about home and family. During this period, most organizations found it nearly impossible to think strategically about technology.
- Beginning to create one- to three-year plans for technology adoption and strategy. This includes taking stock of what tech they have and what is most critical to their operations and using that to decide where they should invest next. Some organizations are focusing on staff training to build confidence and competence with the tools they already have. Others are moving remaining systems into the cloud and upgrading staff computers to adequately support that migration.
We Want to Hear from You
Setting a technology plan and road map for the next three to five years is now more important than ever, not only because of the complexity of technology and the potential for integration, but also because many organizations will need this kind of plan in order to strategize funding for it. It's a lot easier to convince a funder to support building tech capacity when you have a clear plan in place.
During that early scramble period in April of 2020, we held a series of webinars where we asked nonprofits to tell us what their needs were. Now we want to hear from you again, as we all look back and look forward at the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's what we want to know:
- What have you been proudest of?
- What has been hard?
- What has surprised you?
- What do you still need help with?
TechSoup remains dedicated to supporting nonprofits — and encouraging other nonprofits to support one another — in every way we know how. In order to facilitate this conversation, we've created a TechSoup Forum to bring our shared ideas, stories, reflections, requests, and advice into one place. We'd love to hear from you soon, so that we can continue to meet your needs and those of your nonprofit where you are today.
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