SVP’s IT Shared Services has six Investee projects lined up and are discussing more. The only thing holding these projects back is funding—and you can help.
Information Technology (IT) intersects with both the internal and external operations of SVP Investees. From bookkeeping, accounting, and donor management to collaboration tools, data management, communications, and volunteer scheduling, an Investee’s use of IT is critical to their success as an organization.
Unfortunately, the cost of developing or improving IT systems can be prohibitively high, and many of our Investees lack the in-house resources to tackle the issue quickly and effectively on their own. That’s where IT Shared Services comes in.
What is IT Shared Services?
IT Shared Services is an SVP Community of Practice (CoP) which oversees IT projects with SVP Investees. Once a project is identified and approved for shared funding, IT Shared Services matches Investee funding for the project up to a maximum of $5,000.
IT Shared Services is open to both current and alumni Investees, and many have taken advantage of the opportunity including the Writers’ Exchange, Zero Ceiling, Growing Chefs!, Take a Hike, Mom2Mom, ONE TO ONE, NICCSS, Red Fox, Learning Disabilities Society, ArtStarts, and Burnaby MoreSports.
How does it work?
Sometimes an Investee comes to the IT CoP with specific issues or projects, and sometimes with a general sense that their IT infrastructure needs improvement. Once the Investee has expressed interest in working with IT Shared Services, a rigorous three-step process begins:
Step #1: IT Assessment
Members of the IT CoP work with the Investee to conduct a review of their current IT, with the focus placed heavily on understanding the Investee’s processes, workflows, and data flows. Particular attention is paid to pain points and frustrations as well as any potential opportunities to address these.
Step #2: Workflow Reviews
The next stage delves further into the Investee’s most important workflows and data flows. This helps to identify the highest priorities for change. High priority areas are those that alleviate pain points or have the greatest impact on the critical success of the organization.
Step #3: IT Go-Forward Plan
One or more priority projects are developed for the Investee and defined in a brief project plan, budget, and timeline. Project plans are informed by the Investee’s realities, priorities, and needs. These projects then become eligible for co-funding from SVP.
How does it benefit our Investees?
One of the key focuses for our IT Shared Services is to help reduce or eliminate pain points for our Investees. Pain points in workflows or data flows are a drain on valuable time and resources. The more work Investees have to put into administration and data management, the less time they have to devote to developing their programs and serving their clients. Pain points in a work or data flow are often related to IT problems.
For example, if the Investee’s website was built by a developer who later goes out of business or who charges a high fee for changes to the site, it makes it very difficult for the Investee to update the information on their website. Being dependent on the technical skills of a specific contractor (or sometimes staff member) can be particularly problematic if the Investee conducts major communications or donation activities through their site. If they can’t create a new page for a Giving Tuesday campaign, then their website is impeding their ability to fundraise.
CASE STUDY: The Writers’ Exchange
In 2017, after an IT assessment was conducted and a plan formed, the Writers’ Exchange (WE) received a grant from SVP for a new website and CRM system.
Their previous website was difficult and costly to update, and conventional replacements were too expensive. Our IT Shared Services team helped WE to quickly prove out and prototype a new, simpler, and less costly web builder technology, which allowed them to manage their site internally and present an effective “window” for all of their audiences.
The success of WE’s CRM project hinged on finding a CRM with capabilities that matched WE’s workflow and data needs. With these aligned, the new CRM system significantly improved WE’s self-sufficiency as well as their support of, and relationships with, their many stakeholders.
Both projects connected WE with vendors that offered reasonably priced, subscription-based systems and great user support, improving long-term self-sufficiency and alleviating the burden of large upfront costs.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Our goal this year is to raise $50,000 to support IT projects—and we’re nearly half way there! We need another $26,000 to support co-funding grants for five more Investee IT projects. Projects will not be taken on before we know we have the funds to commit.
By supporting these projects, you’ll be helping our Investees to develop efficient and effective IT systems that will enable them to spend less time on administration and more time on the work that really matters—helping children fulfill their potential.
To make a donation, contact Amanda.
Join the IT Community of Practice
Everybody knows something about IT, but nobody knows everything. If you have expertise in an area of information technology that could benefit our Investees, join the IT Community of Practice! With more Partners onboard, we can offer greater support and services to our Investees.