Cloud Computing for Nonprofits?
Increasingly, nonprofits, including charities, industry and trade associations, NGOs, chartered schools, and 501(c) religious organizations are transitioning their business, contact management, and accounting applications to cloud computing for nonprofits.
Cloud computing for nonprofits helps to increase transparency and minimize costs, while gaining improved control over their finances and operations
Take for example the Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute, a US-based 501(c) charitable organization founded and operated by descendants of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi Worldwide switched from conventional desktop QuickBooks to a Cloud9 24/7 hosted plan in 2010.
Cloud9’s tech helped us reduce the total cost of our accounting system by at least 40%, on an annual basis, while reducing stress and increasing access. At important moments myself, the institute’s chairman and our CFO can all assess a real-time accounting picture, each of us from different locations in the world, at the same time in the same file.
Cloud Computing for Nonprofits
Cloud computing-based accounting, for example, provides two primary benefits that are especially attractive to nonprofit organizations.
- First, anyone with permission in the organization may access the accounting system from anywhere, at any time.
- Second, cloud-hosted applications are distinctly more cost effective than operating and managing the financial processes and fund accounting software tied locally. With Cloud9, nonprofits can avoid large upfront cash or capital expenditure charges because they don’t need to purchase software, hardware, or other conventional technology infrastructure in order to deploy a specialized nonprofit accounting system.
Cloud9 Real Time delivers its cloud computing for nonprofits service as a subscription (i.e., software-as-a-service or ‘SaaS’), with a single monthly charge. Additionally, there is no ongoing maintenance of the software or hosting server(s) for an IT team, allowing nonprofits to stay focused on financial and human resources, key strategic elements of their mission.
In addition to providing significant IT savings, as a cloud-based system, cloud computing for nonprofit organizations affords several additional advantages and improvements to financial operations, like gaining real-time operational and financial visibility, delivering robust financial and regulatory reporting, achieving improved stewardship of funds, accelerated billing and collections, and automated revenue management.
Benefits of Cloud Computing for Nonprofits –
From TechSoup.org – More advantages of Cloud Computing for Nonprofits –
- Little to no upfront costs, from Wikipedia: “Cloud computing users can avoid capital expenditure on hardware, software, and services when they pay a provider only for what they use. Consumption is usually billed on a utility (for example, resources consumed, like electricity) or subscription (for example an annual subscription to a newspaper) basis with little or no upfront cost.”
- No IT staff required: Ok, this might be an oversimplification, but many applications available in the cloud require much less in-house IT support because the hosting provider takes care of installs, upgrades, backups and standard maintenance for you.
- No servers need to be researched, purchased, maintained, or recycled.
- Rapid deployment: Often, accounts can be set up in minutes. More complicated pieces of software (CRM, accounting packages, donor management software) still require more set up and probably training of your staff.
- Convenience: Staff and volunteers can access their applications from almost any Internet connection with their login information. No more setting up VPNs or systems to allow remote access to your servers.
- Going green: Last but not least, cloud computing is all about virtualization, multi-tenancy, and shared resources that provide more service for the amount of energy expended when compared to in-house, single tenant solutions.
Small to medium-sized nonprofits who have limited capital, limited space, and limited technical staff can benefit financially and environmentally from using cloud computing. It saves energy, reduces the amount of hardware needed, and is often technically easier to install and maintain than in-house applications. Not every IT function should be migrated to “the cloud,” so you should discuss your situation with your IT staff or a consultant. The concept may be a bit scary for some, but once you get over that hurdle and realize that you are already using cloud computing, I think you will start seeing other ways you can use it to help your nonprofit get your work done efficiently.
Cloud computing is one of the fastest growing areas for nonprofit, and Cloud9 Real Time is seeing a growing number of organizations choose cloud-based accounting and management processes.
Remember Cloud9 Real Time and how our cloud computing for nonprofits and cloud hosted application services can help nonprofit organizations enjoy new efficencies. We look forward to providing your nonprofit with a live demo, a free trial, and answering all of your questions.
Cloud9 Real Time, voted best cloud computing hosting service by more CPAs.
Lynnea Bylund, managing director of Gandhi Legacy Tours, is the president and founder of Catalyst House, an accounting and marketing firm, and has nearly three decades of experience in administration, marketing and business development. She was a nationally recognized spokeswoman for the emerging alternative video and information delivery industries. She has a degree in holistic health-nutrition from the controversial health educator Dr. Kurt Donsbach and is the founder of two small business-based wireless trade associations and has lobbied on Capitol Hill and at the FCC where she has spoken out strongly against the cable TV monopoly, illegal spectrum warehousing and ill-conceived congressional schemes to auction our nation’s precious airwaves to the highest bidder.
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