Advances in technology don’t standstill for associations or nonprofits, no matter how tight their budget. Every year, even the simplest of computing advancements can require upgrades to some hardware or software.
But, failing to keep up with the techno curve and allowing your organization to steadily fall behind can leave your organization in a deep hole. It can cost you more in lost time, money and resources than if you justify the expense of upgrading.
So, you must communicate how to balance the cost of doing nothing with the cost of spending on new technology in a business environment, where every dollar is allocated to supporting your organization’s mission.
The need to present an annual tech budget to an association or nonprofit board has its own unique circumstances, such as adhering to strict or mandatory budgeting requirements. To meet these constraints, consider the following criteria when preparing for your annual budget review with the board:
- Support the mission statement: Be transparent about how any funding is used to further the group’s mission.
- Forecast contributions: Show how future contributions, gifts and grants offset operating expenses.
- Plan for updates: Share how budget updates are handled throughout the year to keep the original budget on track.
Presenting the right budget for your organization materially differs from what is right for another organization. Each organization has its own challenges and needs. Some of these variables can include:
- What an organization is capable of and prepared to spend on technology.
- The access to a discounted or donated upgraded system.
- The ability to absorb implementation and training costs.
- How effectively current technological resources are used.
- The staff available to participate in a technological update.
Although it’s tempting to propose your organization adopt the latest technology, generating a business case to show an immediate and positive return on investment (ROI) using such technology can be a stretch.
For example: Are you able to show your board how present technology is slowing your business processes down to the point it’s causing lost revenue? And, can you show how the proposed upgrade alleviates your staff’s business challenges, resulting in smoother office operations and higher revenue returns?
Your ability to identify your organizations biggest technological challenges and needs will help you better outline budgeting options to your board for their review and approval. Based on a clear understanding of these options, you can present a cohesive set of recommendations your board is more likely to approve.
And remember the importance of comparing the ROI to the cost of upgrading. While showing the cost of doing nothing, you have a better opportunity to garner board approval of your tech budget, which helps move forward your group’s mission.