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Flashback to 2009. I was working as a development director for a local nonprofit when my executive director approached me with this very statement:

“With this economy, we need to find new ways to grow our organization!”

At that time, I was responsible for all revenue, volunteer management, special events, grant writing, and the almighty client relationship management (CRM) software—so obviously his statement intrigued me. He continued to stand at my desk and I could sense the urgency in his eyes. I stopped for a moment to pause and reflect… “The US economy is at the beginning of a great recession. Our organization is vulnerable. We need to become more efficient and effective without reducing services to those in need. Where do I turn?”

The solution? Reach out to our outsourced IT partner! Together, the executive director and I identified areas of the organization that could be improved by leveraging technology. Our communications were not unified. Our customer records were not user-friendly. The knowledge was not institutionalized, and yet, the executive director planned on retiring in the next couple of years.

Through an assessment of the organization’s environment, we managed to analyze our special events and generate new revenue by focusing on how technology could make our goal possible. A new communications system was implemented so staff were more accessible in the field. We also converted to a hosted CRM so that information could be shared across the organization.

By working with our outsourced IT partner, we were able to improve operational efficiency, identify another revenue opportunity (which created $125,000 of residual income annually), and reduce expenses by 15 percent. Overall, an established IT budget tied to the organization’s three-year strategic goals was the key to making a positive impact on our organization.

My experience partnering with the nonprofit’s outsourced IT firm opened my eyes to a new kind of business relationship. Instead of fixing problems with various IT ingredients, we assessed the organization’s strategic goals, which allowed us to become scalable.

Seven years later, and this type of business relationship still inspires me. As a virtual chief information officer (vCIO) with MainSpring, my goal is to help recover the hours my clients desperately need to run their organization and place them back into the work day. To accomplish this, I foster business relationships that emphasize client satisfaction, help organizations grow, meet strategic goals, and gain overall better control of their organization. In other words—I am an organization’s partner. Together, we focus on your strategic planning, budgeting, and risk management impact and outcomes—all while aligning IT with business objectives. With MainSpring’s approach, we help CEOs and business leaders create a work environment that is prime for scalability.

So let me ask you…how much is your time worth?

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