The Ultimate Guide to Managed IT for Nonprofit Organizations

By: Mark Sheldon Villanueva

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Making a difference in the world takes a lot of work. Yet, it's a challenge that many nonprofit organizations (NPOs) like yours are willing to take day in and day out. Unfortunately, being willing doesn't always translate to being able.  

It's easy to find yourself overworked, understaffed, and unable to realize your vision because of the mountain of everyday operational tasks standing in your way. It's a continual source of frustration that can hold your organization back and limit your impact in the communities you serve. 

That's where IT comes in handy. Technology that can help unburden your team and reduce their administrative workload is a godsend. But it's also expensive, making the modern IT infrastructure many NPOs would need to realize their vision beyond reach.

Thankfully, managed services can help make that dream a reality. 

A reliable managed service provider (MSP) can offer enterprise-grade IT services at more attainable rates. They offer service packages that can not only provide IT support for your NPO but also help secure your data from cyber threats.

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Intelligent Technical Solutions (ITS) is an IT support company with years of experience helping nonprofit organizations streamline their technology. Our mission is to ensure that your IT makes your job easier, so you can focus on making a bigger impact in the communities you serve 

Finding an MSP for your NPO isn't as easy as looking up the most popular one and going with that. It's all about acknowledging the unique needs of your organization and finding the right fit. Fortunately, we have compiled a comprehensive guide that lays out everything you need to know before getting IT support services.    

The Ultimate Guide to Managed IT for Nonprofit Organizations

Who is This Guide for

This guide was made for nonprofit organizations that are looking for a way to streamline their IT processes and help them make the most of their technology. It's not just for decision-makers; it's also for people who are looking to learn what an MSP is and how it can help them. 

What is Managed IT?

Managed IT Services is the process of delegating your IT tasks to an expert third-party organization that specializes in those responsibilities. These organizations are known as MSPs. They can take up anything from portions to all of your IT operations as agreed upon in your Service Level Agreement (SLA). 

MSPs offer many different types of services. Some may specialize in or are better equipped to provide for a client's specific needs. It's never a one-size-fits-all because each organization is unique, and so is each MSP. 

To select the one that would fulfill your organization's IT needs, you will have to determine your business objectives clearly. Setting defined goals will help you find the right IT support company to achieve them. 

Introduction to Managed IT

What is Managed IT

Types of Managed Services

Here are some of the most common managed services offered by MSPs:     

Managed Communications Services 

Managed Cybersecurity 

Data Analytics 

Managed Print Services 

Hosted Cloud

Managed Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing

Managed VoIP

Advantages of Managed IT to Nonprofit Organizations

Your NPO can gain a wide range of benefits from partnering with an MSP. Take a look below at some of the most common ones you can take advantage of: 

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1. Streamline Your Operations

MSPs with experience working with NPOs like yours understand the sector's unique ins and outs. In other words, they can help optimize your systems for critical functions like accounting, project management, document management, and more. That helps streamline your operations as it improves your ability to adopt new technology and boosts the performance of existing systems. In addition, hiring an MSP frees up your team to concentrate their efforts on taking steps to realize your organization's mission, instead of focusing on keeping the lights on.


2. Manage Your Cash Flow

A steady cash flow is crucial for NPOs that are already working with a limited budget. You need cash to reach out to new donors, keep current projects moving forward, and pay your staff. Unfortunately, getting full-time IT support will take a huge bite into your cash reserves. Managed services can help address that. They are often offered at fixed rates and predictable and scalable fees, depending on your organization's needs. The buy-in is also lower compared to building your own IT department from scratch, allowing you to keep more money in your reserves.

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3. Minimize Downtimes

Achieving your organization's goals is already a challenging task. However, unplanned outages and downtime can make it so much worse. They could potentially wreak havoc during key projects or cause you to lose donors and volunteers. A reliable MSP can help minimize downtimes with proactive maintenance that prevents tech issues in the first place. They can also help you recover from system issues much faster, effectively reducing delays.


4. Protect Your Data

According to a 2021 study by Accenture, the number of successful breaches — which include unauthorized access to data, applications, services, networks, or devices — is 31% higher than 2020 findings. Managed cybersecurity is a comprehensive solution that can help you address that. It's a holistic service that can effectively protect you and your data. That helps you keep sensitive and proprietary information safe, as well as prevent and mitigate costly security incidents.


5. Optimize Collaboration with Your Team

Services like managed VoIP and cloud services can drastically improve communication and collaboration between your team and your clients. Those are vital capabilities that can help you make a bigger impact in the communities you serve.


6. Emergency Support

Your technology can fail at any moment, derailing your projects. In those cases, you need an MSP that can offer you support 24/7 so that you can get your tech back online and your projects on time.

Disadvantages of Managed IT to Nonprofit Organizations

As much as managed IT can help your organization make the most of your technology, there will always be a few downsides when involving a third party in your business. In this case, outsourcing your IT can raise concerns on: 

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1. Loss of Security and Control

When you hire a managed service provider (MSP) to handle your data and equipment, you're basically giving them access to your systems and data. While this is necessary for them to provide the best service, some organizations see it as an issue, especially if your nonprofit entity puts a premium on data security and control of information.

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2. Third-Party Risk

MSPs may have a lot of security measures in place, but many cybercriminals make the effort to penetrate them. As mentioned, MSPs have access to your sensitive data. That means if a provider gets hacked, a cybercriminal could gain access to several organizations simultaneously. Ccases like these are few and far between but it has happened in the past.


3. No Physical Presence

Most MSP firms operate remotely. That means they don't provide an on-site IT team and will often handle issues online or via phone. The process usually involves calling someone or submitting a ticket, then waiting for MSP technicians to get back to you. In addition, if you do need a technician to be physically present, you will have to ensure the provider has a local site near your organization and wait for them to arrive at your location. An in-house IT will be able to handle those tasks a bit quicker as they are already physically there.

When Do NPOs Need Managed IT?

You'll need Managed IT if you are a nonprofit that:  

  • Has regulatory compliance requirements
  • Wants to save money on IT
  • You're looking for cost-effective IT solutions
  • Aims to improve their cybersecurity
  • Requires 24/7 IT support
  • Needs to back up and protect sensitive data
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On the contrary, here are the possible reasons why an MSP may not be a good fit for you: 

  • You have less than 10 people on staff
  • You are not comfortable handing over full control of your IT to a third party
  • You are confident that your existing IT team can handle the ever-evolving vulnerabilities and threats to your network

In this case, you may be better off on your own or benefit more from co-managed IT.  

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How Much Does Managed IT for Nonprofit Organizations Cost?

All organizations want to cut expenses and save costs one way or another. The problem is spending less doesn't mean you're earning or saving more. That's especially true when it comes to managing your technology. With that in mind, you shouldn't think of managed IT services as a monthly expense but rather as an investment toward realizing your organization's mission.   

Learn More About ITS Pricing


How to Choose a Managed IT Service Provider for Your Nonprofit

Choosing an MSP is not a popularity contest. The biggest or most expensive one isn't always the best for your NPO. Instead, seek out the one that can meet your organization's needs. It's all about finding the right fit. What's best for some may not necessarily be the best for you. However, to help you make an educated decision, we've compiled a list of the basics that you need to look for in an IT support company.  

  • Industry Experience

  • 24/7 Support Availability

  • Remote Monitoring

  • Backup and Data Protection

  • Comprehensive Cybersecurity Solutions

Industry Experience

An MSP with a proven track record of working with nonprofits understands your sector's unique culture and workflows. They are familiar with any resistance and integration challenges that come with introducing technology to your environment. In addition, IT support companies that serve NPOs know how important it is to align their strategies with your goals and your vision.  


24/7 Support Availability

If your current IT team doesn't have 24/7 support 365 days a year, then you're not getting your money's worth. Finding an MSP that provides round-the-clock IT support is crucial in helping ensure your tech issues don't cause significant delays to your projects.  

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Remote Monitoring

NPOs usually have offices that are spread out in different areas. At any given moment, members of your staff might need to get in touch with your office administrator or project coordinator. That means your team needs to be able to access different kinds of information remotely. MSPs can help provide the right solutions to optimize and secure that process.  

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Backup and Data Protection

NPOs have a lot of data to protect. That data is critical for your operations, whether it's Personal Identifiable Information (PII), financial data, or other documents. Losing those files is not an option. A reliable MSP can help protect your data, back it up, and recover them for you if necessary.


Comprehensive Cybersecurity Solutions

As we've mentioned before, NPOs are also targets for cybercrime. Hiring a cybersecurity-focused MSP can help protect your business from that threat. They can offer enterprise-level security solutions that will enable you to prevent, mitigate, and recover from cyber-attacks.  


Ready to Get Managed IT for Your Nonprofit Organization?

Managed IT services can offer a wide range of benefits for your NPO. It gives you the opportunity to outsource IT functions so that you can focus on realizing your vision.  

At ITS, we make sure that we can meet our client's needs and ensure that we are a good fit for their business before taking on any project.   

Want to find out if your NPO is a good fit for managed IT services? Schedule a meeting with us or fill out our form for a free tech assessment 

Schedule a Meeting Get a Free Network Assessment


Ready to Get Managed IT for Your Nonprofit Organization?

Managed IT services can offer a wide range of benefits for your NPO. It gives you the opportunity to outsource IT functions so that you can focus on realizing your vision.  

At ITS, we make sure that we can meet our client's needs and ensure that we are a good fit for their business before taking on any project.   

Want to find out if your NPO is a good fit for managed IT services? Schedule a meeting with us or fill out our form for a free tech assessment 

Schedule a Meeting Get a Free Network Assessment