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Digital Solutions for Nonprofit Attorneys

Working as an attorney in the nonprofit sector requires more than just sharp legal skills. In order to provide relevant advice and support to your organization, nonprofit attorneys must not only navigate a unique regulatory environment, but they must also understand and contribute to their organization's mission, constituents, and funding base. This requires developing skill sets that may be foreign to many practitioners, such as data management and analytics, outreach, and development. Having the right tools at your disposal can help ease the transition to the nonprofit space and bring value to your organization.

We've identified some potential pain points for nonprofit attorneys, where a lack of effective tech can slow down processes or leave holes in security practice. Keep reading to see how TechSoup can help!

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Data Protection and Privacy

Many nonprofit organizations collect and store sensitive and confidential information. Attorneys are often a first point of contact when designing data protection programs, assessing the risk associated with storing data, and responding to a potential breach.

Before you start to tackle these issues, you should refresh your cybersecurity knowledge. TechSoup Courses offers a cybersecurity bundle that covers everything a nonprofit attorney needs to know to protect the vulnerable people they serve. You can also make use of great tools like Avast CloudCare, Okta, and Adobe Acrobat's redaction tool to ensure that sensitive information is properly protected.

Secure Document Management

A good document management tool is a must in almost any profession, and nonprofit attorneys are no exception. Whether drafting communications, pleadings, or contracts, legal professionals need to collaborate and iterate. The good news is that TechSoup offers some great document management tools.

Box is widely used among many nonprofits, including the TechSoup legal team. The Box Content Cloud is a cloud-based document management system that allows users to securely access, share, and collaborate on legal documents. You can share large files using just a link, access documents offline or edit them straight from your web browser, and view a comprehensive version history of each file. Box also offers Box Drive for Windows and Mac, an integrated desktop application that allows you to access all of your Box files directly from your desktop, without taking up much hard drive space. This is particularly helpful for those of us who have come to love and appreciate File Explorer.

You can also use the Box Content Cloud to securely store and share files from any location or device without needing a VPN, to collaborate on mission-critical content, to develop workflows for onboarding staff and volunteers, and more.

Data Analytics

At small nonprofits, attorneys can be required to serve multiple roles within an organization, including program management and development. If you find yourself in this position, it is important to know how to measure and communicate the impact of your program and organization as a whole.

One great tool that offers powerful insights is Power BI. Power BI is a business analytics service that allows organizations to create compelling dashboards, gain 360-degree insight on organizational goals, organize dynamic reports, and make smarter, data-driven decisions. Users can gather data from different sources, prepare it, and display it in bar graphs, line charts, maps, and more. This data visualization tool allows attorneys to create persuasive stories about their work that can influence donors, board members, and other decision-makers.

Due Diligence and Grant Management

As an attorney working in legal aid, overseeing grants, or managing charitable programs, you may be responsible for conducting due diligence and grant compliance tasks. Through TechSoup, you can access a range of localized and international due diligence services, which can ease the burden on in-house attorneys.

NGOsource is a project of the Council on Foundations and TechSoup that helps U.S. funders meet their tax law obligations when giving internationally. Other TechSoup programs, such as Validation Services, can provide vetting for corporate donors and CSR services. If you need support in meeting your organization's compliance needs, you can get in touch with the NGOsource team.

Document Preparation

Nearly every final legal document is shared in PDF files, and many nonprofit legal professionals choose to use Adobe Acrobat. PDF is ubiquitous, and you can access discounted subscriptions to Adobe products through TechSoup.

Remote Work

Many attorneys will remember the infamous I am not a cat video that circulated earlier this year. This humorous and relatable mishap demonstrated the need for an adept transition to the remote working environment. There are a wide variety of video conferencing tools available through TechSoup. Including Zoom, Microsoft Teams (included as part of Microsoft 365), and Webex Meetings. All of these platforms allow you to easily communicate with colleagues through video, audio, and sharing files.

If you often travel for work and don't always have reliable access to the internet, Mobile Beacon can provide you with a mobile hotspot that connects you to its broadband service. The hotspot can be used in any location covered by its broadband, which can be critical for attorneys working or traveling in areas with limited Internet access.

Training and Courses

Many attorneys go straight from private practice to an in-house career at a nonprofit, without significant existing exposure to this sector. Understanding the culture, operations, and risk appetites of nonprofit organizations is critical to an in-house attorney's ability to provide informed and relevant advice. This transition also often requires attorneys to brush up on basic administrative and digital skills.

Unlike law firms, where editing and presenting tasks are often managed by paralegals and executive assistants, attorneys working in-house at a nonprofit may suddenly find themselves needing a crash course in things like Excel and PowerPoint. TechSoup Courses offers some great starting points for attorneys new to the nonprofit environment. Try checking these out:

TechSoup Can Help

Whether you are a nonprofit attorney working in-house or as a legal service provider, TechSoup offers many valuable resources to support you. If you are looking to stay safe online, build more efficient workflows, or simply become part of a nonprofit tech network, the TechSoup community can help.