Part of the Fundraising Job: How to Best Manage Your IT Department
You have a job to do — raising funds for your organization — and as much as any job, it depends on technology. Whether it’s the website, the database or just your smartphone’s ability to connect you to a donor, effective technology lets you do your job. And ineffective technology gets in the way. But there’s one thing between you and the effective use of this technology: the IT department.
Yours may be an exception, but unfortunately, IT departments do not have a great reputation for being the most willing and helpful of colleagues. As self-appointed gatekeepers, they control the sites you can browse on the Internet, the apps you can use and even the degree to which you can "slice and dice" the data in your database. Because they control the tools vital to organizations, they wield a power that is disproportionate to their position. But, as Mr. Parker says, with great power comes great responsibility.
The IT staffers don’t mean to be awkward — they have a tough job to do. They have to manage a growing range of devices, operating systems and protocols, while making technology reasonably secure from unwelcome attention. They also have to troubleshoot and support many software applications and, let’s face it, a wide range of competence among users. They might not even work for your organization; if you outsource IT support, they have to look after many organizations’ needs. So IT departments’ natural tendency is to keep everything as simple and secure as possible, without too many variations to remember. Otherwise, chaos would reign.
But they’re supposed to serve organizations’ needs, not the other way around, right? So if you’ve ever returned to your desk in tears after a frustrating encounter with an IT team member, here are a few tips for the next time you need his or her help: