Why Cloud Technology Makes Sense for Nonprofits

It was early afternoon on the Thursday before the 4th of July weekend. I had left the office for a lunch meeting and when I came back something was amiss with my MacBook Pro. It was in the midst of a ReStart – which I had not initiated – and it was hung up. I waited. I did a force quit. I waited some more. I panicked. I cancelled an appointment and headed to the Apple Store.

On the way back from the Apple Store, I stopped at Best Buy and bought a new MacBook Pro. The next morning I drove to MacWorks and dropped off the old laptop and prayed fervently on the 17 mile drive home from Austin.

With the new laptop, I was able to access everything that was cloud-based: this website, social media accounts, GoToMeeting (for my client meetings), websites that I manage for my clients, and I was able to continue email communication using my Gmail account.

Why Cloud Technology Makes Sense for Nonprofits – Access to Data

What I couldn’t access, and it was significant, were the Microsoft Outlook applications as well as my spreadsheets, word documents, and primary email. Thinking of the white papers, correspondence, spreadsheets, etc. that I couldn’t access (and maybe never access if MacWorks couldn’t work a miracle on my hard drive), made me sick to my stomach, stressed and depressed.

Even with a backup, more than half of my professional work was either destined for painful recreation that would take a lot of time. Some things I simply wouldn’t be able to recreate, they would be lost forever.

This is the sober reality of on-premises solutions. Every application that was hosted in the cloud was immediately available to me. I saw first hand, in a painful way, the absolute benefit of the Cloud.

Now imagine the same scenario, but this time it’s that old server where your accounting, donor database and other applications reside. As you look to update and replace mission-critical systems for your organization, cloud-based should be at the top of the list.

Why Cloud Technology Makes Sense for Nonprofits – No Sacrifice in Functionality

Cloud-based nonprofit applications have been maturing and are now every bit as robust as their on-premise counterparts. They also have fantastic reporting capabilities. Wouldn’t it be great to ditch the spreadsheets? Cloud applications can generate reports usually with a minimal number of clicks, plus they have dashboard presentation capabilities that are far more useful and convenient then spreadsheet workbooks when it comes to getting a quick look at financials, fundraising effectiveness, online giving stats, etc.

Why Cloud Technology Makes Sense for Nonprofits

Why Cloud Technology Makes Sense for Nonprofits – Anytime, Anywhere Access

The anytime, anywhere availability of cloud applications are so convenient. Last summer, nearby construction knocked out Internet cables. It took a little over a week for the situation to be repaired. While working out of Starbucks and the Community Library wasn’t ideal – I was able to work! Likewise, your nonprofit team (whether traveling or out of the office due to inclement weather, etc.) can access your cloud applications from any location that has access to the Internet.

I learned the hard way how crippling it is not to have access to applications and data. Pain is a great change agent – but it’s not necessary given the affordable technology available.