Monday, March 2, 2009

101 ways to align tech with your mission

OK, So here is a brain dump of 101 ways to align technology with your mission.  I am doing this in honor of the upcoming release of the NTEN book called Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission.  Also, this will be the lead up to the best conference in the world, the Nonprofit Technology Conference hosted by NTEN. (No I dont work for them, I am just a huge Holly Ross fan and cant wait to see her dance like Beyonce since they met their fundraising goal!).

Anyway, here is my list:


1.       Spend time with your CEO in a non-work environment to build a relationship.

2.       Stop using the word technology; maybe call it business solutions (AHH another buzz word).

3.       Set goals for your IT department and share them with your org.

4.       Spend some time with the board at your org.

5.       Get IT representation on the strategic planning committee.

6.       Get IT representation at the leadership level.


7.       Don’t write an IT Plan, write a plan to support the orgs goals.

8.       Check your web site strategy against the org’s communication plan.

9.       Look for other orgs with similarities and see how they align their tech.

10.   Does your tech adequately support your fundraising team?

11.   Brainstorm web sites ideas across your org.

12.   Have some fun.

Mission Outreach

13.   Review your web site with one of your constituents.

14.   Get excited about the mission of your org.

15.   Participate in the fundraising process, actually raise money for your org.

16.   Recruit some volunteers for your org.

17.   Get published somewhere outside of your org, then tell your org how cool you are.

18.   Do an assessment of your technology assets against your orgs priorities.

19.   Read a book related to your mission, not technology.

20.   Don’t tie all of your metrics to cost savings, show the direct impact of technology on your mission.

21.   Don’t just create monthly stats of web visits, demonstrate results by collecting feedback from people using your site.


22.   Enhance reporting capabilities.

23.   Start some business process projects.

24.   Build or expand your intranet.

25.   Provide stable technology solutions that just work.

26.   Make technology so reliable people don’t even think about it.

27.   Take people’s IT suggestions to heart, provide a real response.


28.   Instead of training how to create a report, get trainings on interpreting reports.

29.   Train people on what data is available.

30.   Get training for your IT Staff.

31.   Do a casual lunch or ice cream party with non-IT staff.

32.   Take time to do some one on one demonstrations with those that need it.

33.   MAKE time to chat with people while helping them, don’t wait till you have the time.

34.   Teach people how to use your tech tools to work better.

35.   Get your tech tools integrated with existing trainings (for example email tips in a time management class)

36.   Offer lunch-time trainings on a regular basis about tech tools.

37.   Create some online trainings.

38.   Use the excitement around a gadget to get people’s attention on how to apply that technology.

39.   Don’t just give people tools, show them how to use them.

40.   Make time for training, Period.


41.   Communicate to the full org about what the IT business goals are.

42.   Celebrate the successes of your IT department.

43.   Send out an annual IT satisfaction survey.

44.   Actually act on replies to the annual IT satisfaction survey.

45.   Report to the movement that you acted on the replies to the annual IT satisfaction survey.

46.   Be transparent about your project timelines.

47.   Don’t spend all your time dictating policy.

48.   Make the IT team accessible through whatever way your org wants to communicate with you, phone, email, web, IM and whatever. (notice the AND not or).

49.   Visit the sites you work with, get out there.

50.   Show up unexpectedly to talk with some of the key staff in your org.

51.   Schedule online office hours for people with random questions.

52.   Use common language in communications, not tech talk.

53.   Avoid acronyms.

54.   Make fun of yourself and IT in some of your communications, be light hearted sometimes.

55.   Communicate early about system outages.

56.   Did I say communicate? Well I will say it again, communicate, don’t just reply.

57.   Did I say communicate? Well I will say it again, share what is happening.

58.   Quit reading lists of 100 things on the web and go talk to people.

Organization Integration

59.   Have IT Staff participate in committees not related to technology.

60.   Create a technology steering committee.

61.   Have some fun, plan a social event where people meet the IT Staff.

62.   Attend some of the business group meetings outside of the IT group on a regular basis and JUST LISTEN.

63.   Spend time reading your association’s strategic plan.

64.   Form a deliberate alliance with your marketing department.

65.   Have a non tech staff person review your web site with you.

66.   Involve business groups in requirements gathering.

67.   Invite staff to test new tools, as a special opportunity.

68.   Hold a contest to name the new tool.

69.   Have casual conversation with all leadership staff.

70.   Spend time determining business needs of the different areas of your org.

71.   Monitor usage of tools, recognize those that are using it well.

72.   Inspire champions of technology across your org.

73.   Get people excited about upcoming releases of tools.

74.   Don’t do everything online, spend time in person too.

75.   Put away your cell phone when talking to people.

76.   Stop sending so many emails and call them occasionally.

77.   Keep a running list of ideas submitted by staff, then when you implement one of them, tell the whole org.

78.   Participate in creating a cross departmental Business Continuity/Disaster Prep plan.

79.   Make it a privilege to be a part of the launch of a tool, make them apply to participate in a fun way.

Tech Team

80.   Spend time teaching your IT Staff about the mission of your org.

81.   Get your IT Staff to volunteer in a non-technology role.

82.   Post profiles with pictures of your IT Staff, make them human.

83.   Start a blog that is very casual and personal that IT Staff post to, make them human.

84.   Set expectations for response times for the help desk.

85.   Answer people’s email in a reasonable amount of time.

86.   Be transparent and share trouble ticket information.

87.   When you make a mistake, own it, don’t hide it.

88.   Don’t just work regular business hours, be available the same times your org is.

89.   Take time to eat lunch in the break room with others.

90.   Attend a training in your org not related to technology.

91.   Start an exercise or activity group outside of IT.

92.   Have an open house of the IT Department

93.   Stop saying No and take some time to explain alternatives.

94.   Stop blaming the hardware or outside tech consultants for all your problems, own it and fix it.

95.   Ask a select group of people to do a focus group with the IT Dept.

96.   Do a focus group with some of your clients\constituents to see what ideas they have about extending our mission online.

97.   Listen to what people are saying about your org online and share that back to your org.

98.   Run some team building exercises within your IT department.

99.   Make time for casual interaction within your IT department.

100.                        Give people your real address as well as generic addresses like

101.                        While it is important to have tech stuff locked up, don’t hide your IT staff behind locked doors.

102.                        Show a sense of humor.

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