An efficient IT infrastructure is necessary for an organization to run smoothly. If elements become outdated or unwieldy to manage, they can spell trouble for a nonprofit and the pursuit of its mission to create change in the world.
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin (End Abuse), a nonprofit based in Madison, Wisconsin, is dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence in all its forms. Although daunting, this challenge is one that's necessary to face: On average, almost 20 people in the United States are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute.
End Abuse works to effect change in a number of ways. Its prevention initiatives focus on educating and spreading awareness about domestic abuse through the creation of healthy, safe spaces for young people. It also works on state policy to make sure that legislation being passed in Wisconsin provides the necessary framework for survivors of domestic abuse to lead violence-free and meaningful lives.
Lastly, End Abuse staff members provide technical, educational, and financial resources to domestic violence prevention and support programs throughout the state.
"We promote social change that transforms societal attitudes, practices, and policies to prevent and eliminate domestic violence, abuse, and oppression," said Patrick Christ, technology coordinator for End Abuse.
But to do this, Patrick needed a well-functioning technical infrastructure at his disposal — and End Abuse hasn't always had one.
Finite Resources for an Important Job
As a nonprofit, End Abuse puts its mission before all else. However, like many organizations, time and resources need to be optimized to their fullest potential to make the biggest change in people's lives. In the fight against domestic abuse, every moment counts.
Among other things, Patrick is in charge of ensuring that all things tech-related are running smoothly at End Abuse — in terms of both hardware and software. Because of budgetary concerns, he describes an early approach to his organization's hardware concerns that might sound familiar to other nonprofits.
"We were using a hodgepodge of computers that were on sale at the time of purchase," Patrick noted. "While this approach seemed to be the most financially sound, it led to a lot of differences in the way computers worked, what we needed to track for warranties, and was a hassle for high-level administration."
Hassles like these translate into lost hours and other inefficiencies that can have an adverse effect on an organization's mission. But since 2016, Patrick has accessed discount rates on Dell computers for End Abuse through the Dell Discount Program at TechSoup. His membership allowed him to order directly through Dell and receive up to 45 percent discounts on much-needed hardware.
Transformational Technology for Good
"Dell computers really helped us transform into an organization that had a technology action plan," Patrick explained. "Dell has made it easy for us to plan our computer expenses, and they always work with us to make sure we're getting the most for our money. The computers they send us are reliable, and we avoid the hassle that it takes to administer, set up, and install systems from different manufacturers."
He said that freeing up resources in this way has a direct, positive impact on what End Abuse is able to offer thousands of people. These are the folks who benefit from its programs, advocacy, and resources.
"The time this saves helps staff to maximize their uptime and efficiency, which in turn helps them, and me, in our work with programs around the state. Time for us equates to resources, trainings, and assistance that helps bring our state closer to eliminating domestic violence," he noted.
Looking ahead, Patrick is excited about some new prevention initiatives in the works, such as Dare2Know. Dare2Know is a statewide awareness campaign to educate teens about healthy relationships and prevent interpersonal violence.
"Getting Dell computers through TechSoup has helped cut our costs, enabling us to budget for more important things that will increase our organization's efficiency as we continue to expand both our staff and our approach to our mission," Patrick said.
End Abuse serves more than 700 victims of domestic abuse annually and provides support to over 80 programs throughout Wisconsin. In 2017, it trained more than 2,900 people in a variety of topics related to domestic violence, such as obtaining restraining orders and public policy advocacy. And with a strong foundation built on reliable technology, these numbers are sure to keep growing.