Rapidly evolving business technology makes it easier, faster and less expensive for a nonprofit organization to pursue its goals. Technology can help spread the message, recruit new supporters and board members, expand the target audience and deepen communications within the stakeholder groups.
But every new technology should be vetted for consideration of how it will fit into the nonprofit’s business operations. Consider security, internal controls, compliance and governance as a starting point.
Start by doing a ‘walk through’ of the technology from the user’s perspective. Think about evolving industry standards. If you don’t know, get help.
The procedures set up by the nonprofit board can make or break the proposed operation. Pay close attention to the controls built into the process at each step of the process.
A range of state and federal laws apply to the operations of nonprofit organizations. In small nonprofit organizations the President and the Treasurer often handle the bulk of compliance responsibilities but be aware that government holds each board member partly responsible.
In this case, I mean the leadership of both the nonprofit organization as well as the technology provider. Today, for example, I had a telephone conversation with the owner of a software company whose user agreement was worded in such a way as to leave ambiguity and risk user privacy concerns. Nonprofit boards must pay close attention to how the information they collect will be used by themselves and by third party technology providers.