How to find tech solutions as a low resource organization

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How empowered do you feel implementing tech within your org?

  • Depends upon the scope. Working with tech challenged Program Managers are very open to any help.
  • A dedicated I.T. person is new to org. Infrastructure of process and procedures not in place. Security and setup needed. Varies depending upon project and the necessary infrastructure that comes with the project
  • Agency works in law that cannot be replaced by technology. Using same tech as all law firms. Lawyers who try to empower people themselves by solving problems themselves.
    • There is a need for more tech to filter applicants/clients calling & helping people to refer them to the proper agencies.
  • Consults with non-profits to provide technology services.
  • Works with non-profits on communication technology.
  • There is no real funding for what is done but the feeling is empowered.

What does everyone hoping to get out of this session?

  • Need to learn more about efficiency and technology.
  • Project managers inform of stable tools.
  • Listen and learn, find what's out there, what alternatives exist that are less expensive.
  • Learn technology sustainability with Program Managers.
  • Listen and learn. Relatively new to non-profit space. Obtain feedback of how tech is working for them
  • Struggling/fascinated by "making the case"/build effective narratives that leads to funders.
    • how people go about building narrative that...
    • Empowerment piece but depth of projects. Bring in tech that bring in radically different.
    • Leadership buy in.

Universe of Technology Team: Yesenia, I.T. Manager at UCSC. Jessie, Concept Director. Harrison, Front End. Matt, UX design. Max, UX Researcher.

How did you determine next org priority project?

  • Talk with E-team, give tech perspective, customer interviews. Data management issues and org priority.
  • Find a sponsor, don't be alone. Iterating and maintaining needs more than one perspective. Someone in a leadership role is powerful from a change management perspective.
  • Think about training and support broadly. Find tech champions in org. Train the trainers. Enthusiasm makes a difference. They don't have to be a SysAdmin.
  • What is your strategic plan for org?
  • Using leadership sponsorship so that you can get ahead of the curve.
  • What are the internal surprises?
  • Use a SWOT analysis.
  • Part of assessment helps determine tech needs
  • There is the idea that an IT person holds entire knowledge of the world.
    • Miscommunication can occur because of this.
    • Having a timeline helps.
    • Technology committee helps so that one person doesn't hold all of the keys.
    • The team makes a decision.
    • There can be more than one tech sponsor.
    • What's writing for if no one reads it? Sometimes too many meetings already though.

How do you determine core needs or goals of project?

  • The guide recommends having different perspectives, dev, management, infra operations
  • R&D: program managers will come with problem that is then addressed/implemented.
  • One of the needs is communication, working with people, establishing identity
  • Foundational infrastructure lacking readiness. Backups and network access are core needs, come ahead of other less basic needs. Social media grants still need infrastructure to accomplish.
  • Org needs identity definitions upfront, referrals not direct processing. Sorting technology.
  • Need a supporter. ED deadlines overridden by program manager emergencies. Which fire do I put out first? Another perspective helps to determine priorities in multiple fires.
  • 5 minute problems take hours.
  • Figure out who key stake holders in project, leadership and staff members.
  • Clear roadmap of implementing technology.
  • Trying to find right social media platform.
  • Needs to be a way for a clear plan.
  • Before implementing tech solution,
    • Want to understand what is the project going to look like.
    • What capacity in time and day to day in implementing tech.
    • Do you have any supporters?
    • Who do you need to onboard?
    • Who is going to need to know tech going forward?
    • Having an understanding of who people are.
    • Who you are as an org.
    • Measurable stuff needs to be tracked.

Some way that information infrastructure might be lacking in categories.

  • Mitigating catastrophic data loss.
  • Do we have any gaps in foundation pieces?
  • Look at foundational needs and prioritize them. How can gaps be addressed.
  • Org needs more identity as a core need. Have different legal specializations. They don’t' provide legal advice but instead gather people.

After knowing project needs, how do you determine technical capacity of your org?

  • Who is working how many hours/week?
  • Evaluating time/people over budget.
  • The app does use algorithms for assessment.
  • Opportunity considerations, untapped community support, threat considerations.
  • How much time do people in the org have? Uptake of new tech can be disruptive if work is 60-80 hours/week. How much habit formation can reasonably happen?
  • Lack of documentation can disrupt continuity should the IT person no longer be available.

Would be great to have external resources to bounce ideas off of

  • Outsourcing to
  • Crowd sourcing reviews of alternative software to whatever you’re looking for
  • making digestible content of app/map is what is being aimed for


  • Assessments & finding supporters.
  • Aloneness is common.
  • Name roles for projects. Non-techs can provide valuable support.
  • Idea of a committee is a great idea. can be formed for 1 project and disbanded. How to incorporate people from all parts of the organization to have different lenses.