TechSoup’s Impact on the Nonprofit Sector

August 30, 2016 The TNS Group

There is a constant struggle among two combatants in the small to medium sized business arena, and it is between BUDGET and INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT). Accounting likes to keep costs under control, while IT engineers want to design the best technical solutions. So which side wins? Is it just a perpetual state of one battle after another, with neither side winning the war?

Specifically, this struggle is very conspicuous in the non-profit arena. It is here where IT infrastructure is likely listed as a ‘need’, but the last place dollars are allotted. Maybe this challenge speaks directly to you. So how do we overcome it? Ask yourself a few questions: Do you feel financially prepared for larger expenditures in technology? Are you caught off guard? Is your organization inclined to allocate spending through an operational or capital basis?

The answers to these questions help IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs) offer guidance that is tailored to you. Let us start by addressing overall cost concerns. IT products, whether hardware or software are relatively expensive. One way to reign this spending in, is to use a partner like TechSoup. If you have not heard of the TechSoup organization, it’s mission is to help provide eligible 501(c)(3) organizations discounts on software, hardware, services, and even training as they relate to IT.

TechSoup has access to more than 375 products from over 90 companies. Among those companies are stalwarts like Microsoft, Cisco, Adobe, and Intuit. These companies provide important IT software and hardware that potentially power your organization’s day to day activities. Why is this important? TechSoup’s discounts vary, but can range up to 100% off in some cases. If your organization qualifies as eligible for TechSoup, and meet the donor company’s requirements, you can benefit from these steep discounts.

Just as important as controlling overall spending on technology, is managing the timing of the expenditures. Large IT projects never seem to come at a convenient time. It is always right in the middle of your busiest time, which may be a fundraising campaign or just as you have decided to take on a big internal project. With an IT Managed Service Provider, you will be able to create a plan to address pieces of your infrastructure in a controlled manner. Phasing out the IT infrastructure you no longer need, and phasing in a properly thought out environment that enables you to work the way you would like and will benefit your organization overall.

Ensuring that proper planning is taking place with regard to WHAT your organization is purchasing is of extreme importance.

Fixing a problem for the sake of fixing it, is not good enough—you need to plan for the future. The opposite is true as well–fixing your problem through over engineering will pose its own risks. The amount of technology spending you are putting forth has to make sense in relation to the problem you are trying to solve. An old switch that is no longer supported, may simply be able to be replaced with its current model, but an old server that used to support your organization when you had 5 employees, will not perform the same way now that you have 20.

The TNS Group can combine planning, and cost control through our experience as an MSP to provide your organization with ideas that make sense. From our Cloud services to developing specific non-profit equipment standards, contact TNS today and we will work with you navigate through your IT needs.

By:  Pete Fuss, Engineering, The TNS Group

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