Patrick Callihan is the executive director of Tech Impact, a leader in nonprofit technology solutions, integration, and support. He has spent most of his 25-year career working with technology and nonprofit organizations.
How much frustration has IT caused you in the last year?
How many times did you want to toss your computer out the window?
I bet it was more than once.
As a nonprofit leader, I haven’t thought about my organization’s IT much in the last year. Why? It’s simple.
I got rid of IT.
Scary thought, right?
Our daily lives depend on IT. Getting rid of IT means we might have to talk to the stranger next to us on the train or throw out our overpriced Apple product that we depend on to help us look cool at the coffee shop. And how would we even continue to run our businesses?
I’m not suggesting that we throw out our devices. They’re essential, and I don’t like the idea of life without them any more than you do. Smart phones give us a way to communicate and be productive with our nonprofit goodness 24/7.
What I’m talking about is simplifying the IT environment.
One of my biggest business frustrations was keeping our server running and our email live. I lost sleep worrying that if the server crashed I could lose all my data – I would have no way to communicate with our board or the nonprofits we serve. And our donor database? I could have lost all access. After a lot of anxiety induced insomnia, I figured I needed to eliminate the server completely.
And that’s just what our organization did.
We went to the cloud.
Huh? What does that mean? Well, this video may be a better, cheaper, faster way to explain what the cloud is:
And speaking of better, cheaper, faster, that’s what the cloud enables.
We don’t have a server anymore.
We got rid of it over two years ago. Now, I sleep better and I’m not constantly worried about our server crashing. Whether I’m on the train or in Starbucks— or thousands of miles from my office—I can easily access the critical information that I need to manage our business. (And, I do this without that annoying thing called a VPN. I got rid of that too.)
If we can do it, you can do it.