How can technology be funded?
In the nonprofit sector, where funding is typically targeted toward mission-based activities, finding the dollars to invest in your technology infrastructure can be a challenge. But the task is not insurmountable.
With a little research, you’ll find a number of organizations dedicated to connecting nonprofits with technology. Many are targeted to facilitating donations or connecting organizations with professionals offering low-cost or pro bono technology-related services. Tapping into the technology skills and expertise of volunteers can be an effective way to stretch a limited budget.
Adding technology to all grant requests will increase your chances of success. When looking for funding from foundations or individual donors, build technology expenses into your programming budgets and thoroughly explain how technology will support or expand each program. According to Sue Bennett, “The Accidental Techie,” funders want to see that the implementation of technology is solidly aligned with an organization’s mission.
And don’t overlook corporate sponsors and partners. Corporations – especially those in the technology industry – can be a valuable resource for technology funding or to provide in-kind donations in exchange for advertising at events, on your website and the like. Hardware donations from technology companies can be of great value to nonprofits. However, if you’re considering accepting used donations from individuals, you’ll want to give careful consideration to whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Organizations that accept used technology run the risk of receiving outdated hardware that takes time and effort to get up and running. In the end, it may take more work on your part than it’s worth.
Still not sure where to start? How about here:
• Visit TechMD (www.techmd.com) for a vetted list of private, corporate and public funders that support technology for nonprofits.
• Connect with NPower, a network that brings IT services to nonprofits.
• Join TechSoup and access technology donations for nonprofits.