Nonprofits Need to Be Creative With Tech Purchasing

Folks who work for not-for-profit organizations are used to working with shoestring budgets. They understand that every dollar they spend must have a strong return on investment and that because they qualify for a special tax status, their financial documents are open for public inspection.

It’s understandable that many conscientious nonprofit leaders hesitate to purchase technology for employees, but today’s world demands more efficiency.

It can be difficult and frustrating when employees use different mobile devices with different capabilities and as a result not everyone has the same information. When every employee uses the same equipment, communication and collaboration is much more efficient. In addition, providing smartphones to employees gives nonprofits a greater control over their security. This way they can control who can access the devices and which tools and networks they can interact with.

With all that being said, here are a few ways nonprofits can afford to supply their employees with the latest mobile devices:

Technology Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Nonprofits don’t have to purchase the most expensive devices on the market, like the iPhone 6s. Instead, many outlets sell gently-used and slightly older technology for much less. For example, T-Mobile sells a certified pre-owned Samsung Galaxy S5 for $130 less than the new stock price. The battery, audio, camera, display and operating system are inspected on all pre-owned phones, so employees don’t have to worry about receiving a phone that doesn’t work. In addition, Samsung is one of the leaders in Android technology, and even a two-year old Samsung device stands up to the latest offerings.

Tech Vendors and Groups That Support Nonprofits

Technology businesses often started small, and their founders like to maintain contacts with the communities around them. Making connections with larger companies and receiving donations are great ways for nonprofits to get the supplies they need. Entrepreneur wrote up several businesses in 2015 that have demonstrated strong charitable and community support, including product donation and expert assistance at no charge.

  • Microsoft gave away technologies and equipment to 86,000 organizations in 126 countries from around the world in 2014.
  • Salesforce donates one percent of its employees’ expertise, one percent of resources and one percent of its profits to charitable causes.
  • Google allows employees to donate their time. In 2014, its employees gave almost 80,000 hours.

There are also organizations that help match nonprofits that need technology and equipment to interested donors.

  • Tech Soup is one of the largest organizations that brings together technology providers and nonprofits. Its product donation service operates in over 90 companies, and it supports members seeking low-cost or free products and services. It often waives administrative fees as well.
  • Good360 matches nonprofits to local firms that have resources and expertise to support them. It also offers webinars, documentation and tools to help nonprofit employees develop new skills to help sustain the organization. Good360 brings a strong element of environmental activism.
  • The National Cristina Foundation promotes technology reuse from business and individual donors to 501(c)3 nonprofits, schools and social service agencies. It focuses on reaching groups that directly serve people with disabilities, at-risk students and economically disadvantaged communities.

Written by Guest Submitter


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