For Microstrategy training, visit for more details.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cloud Computing for Nonprofits in 2014

By Krishna Vinjamoori

Many nonprofit organizations don’t even realize that they’re already using computing tools in “the cloud.” They buy and store software, hardware, email and other application essentials via the Internet rather than on a central office server. Common examples of cloud computing are online applications such as email, Skype, Facebook and Twitter. Essentially, it’s a service offered rather than a product that is bought outright. Advantages to nonprofits that use cloud-based donor management tools include the following:

  1. Monetary savings. Free and reasonably priced pay-as-you-go service options, known as Software as a Service (SaaS), are available to nonprofits. The huge benefit to nonprofits is that they don’t have to purchase an expensive in-house server for a large starting fee. There’s also less IT staff required, less network setup and ongoing maintenance, and no software installation.

  2. Mobile, remote use and flexible programs. Staff and volunteers are allowed access anywhere, anytime that there is a secure internet connection available, including from a mobile device or tablet. There’s no longer a need for VPNs and systems that allow remote access to the internal server. Cloud-based donor management tools allow nonprofits to expand their operations easily for free or for a reasonable cost.

  3. Program security. All nonprofit’s data is stored with companies that use data centers protected with firewalls. In addition, the staff employed at the central server location has been background checked. Professional servers are protecting the input data rather than a nonprofit’s internal system, which is frequently outdated or nonexistent.

  4. Green IT. Use of the virtual world and shared resources helps to reduce hardware needed and energy expended. Computer waste is decreased and less energy is consumed as fewer servers are built and kept up and running. And then there are the indirect results of using cloud-based computing: employees and volunteers are encouraged to work remotely, so there’s the indirect result of less automobile emissions and fuel consumed; and, less correspondence is required to be printed, thereby resulting in less trees being cut down and processed! 
Most nonprofits are already using cloud-based applications. As long as there’s an Internet connection available, then cloud-based computing is an effortless way of using technology. It helps nonprofits improve efficiency of their organization while reducing their document costs. This ultimately allows the user to spend his or her time on the important mission work of the organization!