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Running Head: APPLIED IT PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THE YWCA YORK
Applied IT Project Proposal for the YWCA York
1
APPLIED IT PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THE YWCA YORK
2
Applied IT Project Proposal for the YWCA York
The YWCA York (the Y) is a nonprofit organization located at 320 East Market
Street in downtown York, Pennsylvania. Currently lead by Jean M. Treuthart, Chief
Executive Officer (CEO), the Y “is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women,
and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all” (Washington and Treuthart,
2015, p. 1). Since 1891, the Y has provided the York County community with
community action services, youth programs, health and fitness programs, child care
services, and domestic and sexual violence support services including shelters and
transitional housing for adults and children. In 2015, the Y was operated by 148 staff
members and 485 volunteers in order to serve 28,057 members of the
community. Within the 633 staff members and volunteers, there is a Board of Directors,
Junior Board of Directors, Advisory Board, and Leadership Team to assist with the daily
and long-term operations of the Y (Washington and Treuthart, 2015, p. 2-3).
The Business Scenario
Technology has become an important asset to nonprofit organizations. The
organizations have learned to use the technology to counter the challenges that they
are facing. Some of the challenges that are faced by the organizations include shortage
of resources, staff and the know-how of implementing the technology (Hackler &
Saxton, 2007). To overcome the challenges, the organizations need to solicit more
funds, conduct training, as well as initiate collaboration between the donors and the
private sector. Nonprofit organizations have the opportunity to benefit from emerging
technologies. Such technologies include cloud computing, social media, and mobile
technology (Nah & Saxton, 2012). The main aim of these technologies is to ensure that
the number of clients being served is increased, the clients are effectively tracked, and
the technology supports the mission of the organization. Also, the technologies will
make sure that the quality of services offered is enhanced. Improving the access to
technological services in the nonprofit organizations will ensure that the nonprofit
organizations will improve their work and at the same time increase the quality of the
services offered (Corder, 2001). Nonprofit organizations have to leverage technology in
order to improve the services that are provided to the clients and how the staff delivers
those services. Integration of modern technology into the operations of the services of
the organizations will ensure better service delivery, as well as better outreach, and
more efficient communication between all the parties that are involved.
The Business Pain
Some of the technological barriers that nonprofit organizations face include first a
lack of knowledge. Research shows that approximately 46 percent of all the nonprofit
organizations do not have the appropriate access to the necessary information required
to access the new technological advancements. On top of that, studies show that
APPLIED IT PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THE YWCA YORK
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education is required to bridge the social impact missions with technology. These
organizations might be compelled to train their employees and the staff on the usage of
the modern technology, but the lack of training and may impede the entire process.
Another challenge is associated with inefficient accountability as well as corruption in
the inside operations of the organization (Corder, 2001). This will lead to
misappropriation of funds that could otherwise be directed to projects that can improve
the technological facilities in the organization.
Another impediment that the organizations face is related to the shortage of the
resources that are required in order to adopt the technological amenities. Resource
shortage is the main challenge that prevents the organizations from up taking the
technologies; this is because the few resources that are available are directed into other
programs that are higher on the priority list. Another cause of the inadequate resource
is the increased competition between the organization and other organizations (Hackler
& Saxton, 2007). Increased requirements from the funders so that the funds cannot be
directed to technology but to other facilities. The shortage of the resources may also be
due to increase regulatory mandates, shortage of staff, and also the time to undertake
the changes. Since the installation is an expensive undertaking, the organizations
seem to prefer the projects that do not require expensive investments (Hackler &
Saxton, 2007).
Rexann Richardson, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the YWCA York highlighted
many of these challenges that the Y is currently facing. Perhaps the biggest challenge
for nonprofits, in her opinion, is the lack of knowledge base. Typically, nonprofits have a
small staff and funding compared to for-profit organizations. Because of this, nonprofits
will often elect another staff member to manage IT while maintaining their other
duties. This role is often given to someone with little experience in IT and that person
will only be able to perform minor improvements. An alternative to this option,
Richardson stated, is to contract with an outside IT firm and pay a fixed rate based on
the amount of time spent at the nonprofit facility. This is what the Y currently
uses. While this may seem more effective upfront, the organization can experience
high monthly charges due to very minor issues that potentially could have been fixed inhouse (R. Richardson, personal communication, February 12, 2016). In 2014, a study
of 80 nonprofits in the Fairfield County, Connecticut community was conducted. These
nonprofits had a yearly operating budget ranging from under $249,000 (thirteen percent
of respondents) to $5 million to $9,999,999 (six percent of respondents). Table 1
describes where many nonprofits are obtaining their IT management.
APPLIED IT PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THE YWCA YORK
4
Table 1
Who Manages the Information Technology in Nonprofits
(Mintz, 2014, p. 7). As shown, most nonprofits utilize a combination of an outsourced
provider and internal staff members. The Y utilizes this IT management system.
Additionally, Richardson stated that maintaining up-to-date infrastructure is a
challenge for nonprofits. Updates to software, equipment, servers, et cetera is difficult
due to financial constraints. Many nonprofits are service-based organizations and much
of the funding is put towards direct service expenses. This leaves IT as one of the
lowest priorities until the money has to be spent or equipment has completely stopped
working. Richardson continued to explain that for-profit companies are typically on a
two to three year cycle to replace all computers and will remain current on software
updates. To a nonprofit organization, a two to three year old computer is considered
new. However, some nonprofits can benefit from this lifecycle if they have a
relationship with a for-profit organization and the computers are recycled to
them. Nevertheless, if a nonprofit is funded by grants, it is important to include IT
purchases and IT monthly costs in the grants to assist with covering these expenses (R.
Richardson, personal communication, February 12, 2016). Table 2 describes many
nonprofits annual budgets for IT:
Table 2
Annual Budget for Information Technology
APPLIED IT PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THE YWCA YORK
5
As one can see, most nonprofits have either less than $5,000 available for IT (33
percent of respondents in the survey) or no budget for IT (22 percent of respondents)
(Mintz, 2014, p. 6).
Finally, Richardson explained that, just like any business, specialized software is
needed in order to run the daily and long-term operations of the business. For example,
the Microsoft Office products cannot handle all of the needs of a business. For the Y,
they need accounting software, software that is tailored for fitness and child care
billing/memberships, donor software, and web page design that would include online
payments and donations, et cetera. Not only is the software expensive to purchase, it
also entails monthly and yearly maintenance fees. It is also a challenge to integrate all
of this software together so that all programs can work efficiently and effectively in order
to run the business. “All in all technology is expensive, we need it, but it is hard to keep
everything updated and replace equipment in a timely and cost effective
manner.” Richardson stressed the importance of finding ways to streamline the
systems that are needed while managing the funding and expertise that is not as
prevalent in nonprofits as it is in for-profit organizations (R. Richardson, personal
communication, February 12, 2016).
The Business Opportunity
To overcome the challenges that are faced by the organizations in adopting the
modern technology, the first action is to tap the unexploited potential. This can be
achieved by making use of all the donated software and hardware and minimizing
wastage of resources. Another solution to the resources barrier is attracting interest
from a wider community. This can be achieved by raising funds through fundraisers as
well as community outreach programs. Other sources of funds, such as ticket sales,
should be exploited to generate more funds for implementation of technological tools
and facilities. Another solution will be associated with the donors of the nonprofit. Such
donors should be advised to increase the funds that are directed to such
programs. More so the activities of the organizations should be well documented and
APPLIED IT PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THE YWCA YORK
6
subjected to audit occasionally to reduce the chances of misappropriation of funds (Nah
& Saxton,2012).
The benefits that can be achieved by adopting the modern technology, if they are
implemented correctly, include efficient dissemination of information. If the organization
adopts social media, information can be effectively passed on to many people in a short
duration and with lower costs. This will ensure that a larger clientele is served (Corder,
2001). More so, it is certain that implementation of technological tools will allow
dissemination of knowledge and information to the staff as well as to the
clients. Another main benefit is associated to cost reduction as well as efficiency
improvement to make sure that the organizations serve the clients better. In the long
run, the technology will be seen as a long-term administrative cost saver. Finally, the
technologies may add to the operations of the organization. For instance, if the
organization is aimed at saving lives then it will enable them to save more lives and at
the same time make sure that the process is more efficient as well as less costly
(Corder, 2001).
The Business Case Investment
Many nonprofits use advanced software programs to track client data,
administrative functions, and for project management. The state of Pennsylvania has
more than 800 nonprofit organizations (PANO, 2016). In the York County area, where
the YWCA is located, there are over 100 non-profit organizations. In considering
similarly situated nonprofit organizations, Bell Socialization Services is an organization
which provides services to homeless families. Because of the nature of these
organizations, they are similar in size and similar in service delivery. Bell Socialization
used an adequate tracking system for financial data management, this system was very
basic and lacked many key features. About two years ago, the company transitioned to
a software program called Blackbaud, which is a system designed for nonprofit
management.
Nonprofits like the YWCA can save significantly because of their IT
investments. These investments allow them to utilize donations and track and report
data patterns to funding sources. This is very important for the continued success of
any non-profit organization. As regulations change, it becomes more difficult to obtain
funding, and organized, reliable data is increasingly becomes more important. Effective
software management leads nonprofits, like the YWCA, to be sustainable in their
funding.
Proposed Business Assessment Metrics Over Time
Implementation Phases
Human Impact
Having data management systems which are effective and reliable allow for
better staff time usage, donation management, and reliable data for tracking
purposes. All of these factors affects the quality of care nonprofit organizations offer.
Providing quality care affects the populations served by nonprofits. At the YWCA these
APPLIED IT PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THE YWCA YORK
7
populations include people who experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, or
people needing affordable childcare. People within this population are especially
vulnerable, and thus need the highest quality of care possible.
Employees benefit as well. Their work load decreases and they are able to directly
focus on people when data management is effectively handled. Progress and
achievement significantly benefits those who receive services from nonprofits. As the
YWCA York is in need of cost savings, a well-established software program with trained
employees will enable people to do more work, with an increase in productivity. In an
industry which sees regular funding cuts and struggles to maintain financial stability,
reducing costs by using technology to become more efficient is critical. As some
nonprofits is several states have discovered, even their government-based funding is
not secure. Some states are “not paying on its contracts to nonprofits because of its
own inability to pass a budget” (McCambridge, 2015), which indicates again, how
important it is for cost saving to occur.
Risks and Mitigation Plan
Conclusion
APPLIED IT PROJECT PROPOSAL FOR THE YWCA YORK
8
References
Corder, K. (2001). Acquiring new technology comparing nonprofit and public
sector
agencies. Administration & Society, 33(2), 194-219.
Hackler, D., & Saxton, G. D. (2007). The strategic use of information technology
by
nonprofit Organizations: Increasing capacity and untapped potential. Public
Administration Review, 67(3), 474-487.
McCambridge, R. (2015, October 23). No Money for Nonprofit Contracts, but Report
Efficiencies Still a High Priority in Illinois. Retrieved from Nonprofit Quarterly:
https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2015/10/23/no-money-for-nonprofit-contracts-but-reportefficiencies-still-a-high-priority-in-illinois/
Mintz, E. (2014). The Nonprofit Technology Paradox: Greater efficiency saves money,
but requires investing in oneself. Fairfield County Community Foundation. Retrieved
from http://fccfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2014-FCCF-NonprofitTechnology-Paradox-report-2014.pdf
Nah, S., & Saxton, G. D. (2012). Modeling the adoption and use of social media
by
nonprofit Organizations. New Media & Society, 1461444812452411.
PANO. (2016, 01 10). Membership. Retrieved from www.pano.org:
http://www.pano.org/Membership/
Washington, E. & Treuthart, J. (2015). YWCA York is on a Mission: YWCA York 20142015 Annual Report. YWCA York.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/federicoguerrini/2016/02/20/facebook-new-look-and-newwebsite-for-nonprofits/#5afdf3f522f5
http://www.effectivephilanthropy.org/wpcontent/uploads/2014/07/NonprofitChallenges.pdf
http://www.marketsforgood.org/how-nonprofits-can-take-advantage-of-technology-anddata-a-global-view/
http://jcarroll.ist.psu.edu/files/managingnonprofitit-chimit07.pdf
http://fccfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/2014-FCCF-Nonprofit-TechnologyParadox-report-2014.pdf

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