Guest blogger David Krumlauf works as a Chief Technologist at the Pierce Family Foundation in Chicago. He is a former biology teacher and ISP owner. He lives in a green home in northwest lower Michigan. Follow David on Twitter and Linkedin.
As a Chief Technologist at the Pierce Family Foundation, my job involves helping our grantees with all of their technology needs. Most small to medium sized nonprofit organizations I know have trouble getting their technology needs funded. Part of the problem is a lack of funder’s technology understanding and the other is the organization’s grant proposal.
I would like to share a story about an organization that got their technology project successfully funded. This organization provides housing and skill training for homeless women, and needed two new servers to connect their remote locations. They worked with their technology consultant, provided me with a complete, accurate quote and details on how they could serve their staff and client needs more effectively. Their proposal also included an up-to-date technology plan with a timeline for the server replacement project. This proposal required very little research on my part. It was an obvious need and they got funded.
Here are some tips for getting funding for your technology projects.
Show Your Impact
A very clear description of your technology needs will help you achieve your organization’s mission. Check out this book for more related tips: Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission: A Strategic Guide for Nonprofit Leaders.
Integrate Technology in Proposals
Include your technology needs as a budget line item for your proposal. For example: If you’re writing a proposal to do a mobile survey of local citizens, include some laptops or netbooks in your proposal.
Don’t apply for a total network overhaul. Start small and work up to bigger requests. Individual donors will more likely fund a piece of a large project than the whole project itself.
Create a Tech Plan
Make the effort to write a comprehensive technology plan. This will help you budget better and apply for the technology you really need when you need it. Here’s a good example.
Leverage Staff Skills
Do a staff skills assessment. You’ll be surprised what you find. It’s so much easier taking on technology projects if you already have staff that can do what you need.