What should nonprofits ask themselves before moving to the cloud?

Nonprofit groups need to plan ahead when considering cloud solutions.
Date Published
12/18/2013

Donor management can be a complicated task for many nonprofit enterprises. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. Nonprofit organizations have a number of technological resources at their disposal to make sure they’re maintaining updated and highly functional databases. The nonprofit accounting software provider RBP Methods recently looked at the way cloud technology has the potential to impact the nonprofit sector. Before any organization begins considering moving some of their office functions to a cloud-based platform, it needs to ask itself a few questions:

  • What are the benefits?
  • What are the foreseeable drawbacks?
  • What is the timeframe of the move?
  • What partnerships will need to be developed for successful implementation?
  • What is the budget for the initiative?

With regard to the first question, RBP Methods outlined several aspects of cloud computing that nonprofits can take advantage of. For instance, the financial consultancy group explained nonprofit enterprises can save time by utilizing cloud-based software. One of the greatest benefits of the cloud is the significant savings in investments in information technology infrastructure. Most cloud-based systems and software can be updated through the Internet without costly or time-consuming software upgrades. At the same time, employees can leverage the mobile nature of the cloud to access information from a variety of locations. Whether staff is onsite at fundraising, working from home or telecommuting from a meeting location, cloud technology affords nonprofit enterprises greater flexibility.

What about security?
At the same time, some in the nonprofit community have raised their concern over security, according to The NonProfit Times. The greatest worry is accidentally exposing confidential information to outside parties or individuals that don’t have the interest of the nonprofit group at heart. Accordingly, The Times recommended nonprofit groups exercise caution when moving information to the cloud, making sure to have safeguards in place to ensure donor information is held in a secure location.

Privacy protection in place
However, it’s important to remember that many of the privacy-related issues can be avoided when working with a cloud-based software provider. With increasing frequency, many companies have built-in security systems that protect financial and personal information of donors. Fundraising and donation management software offered through the cloud often are integrated with privacy protection systems, but it’s up to nonprofit groups to make sure of it.

Because the majority of cloud solutions providers are based through the Web, most nonprofit groups shouldn’t be restricted by time. These kinds of software and platforms are regularly designed to seamlessly integrate with existing systems, making a transition far easier than a traditional software migration.

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