Category

E-Learning

3 Steps to Moving Nonprofit Financial Systems to the Cloud

By | Accounting, Cloud, Data, E-Learning, Nonprofit | No Comments

According to a recent story from Forbes, since 2009 spending for cloud computing was reported to grow 4.5 times the rate of IT spending, and with good reason. What does “moving to the cloud” really mean? In short, the cloud shifts hosted data from on-premise servers to remote servers hosted on the internet. Many nonprofit organizations have made the switch to the cloud, and by doing so they transformed the way they budget, prioritize, and store data.

Oftentimes, nonprofit executives lack the time to consider the cost and benefits of migrating their financial systems to the cloud. A lot of nonprofits are just stretched too thin to give migration a good, solid look. A recent study by NTEN supported a 25 percent growth year after year for nonprofits’ cloud implementation.

To get a handle on the benefits – and decide if it’s a right move for you – we’ve broken down the process of moving to the cloud into three steps:

  1. Identify and weigh the benefits
  2. Recognize potential risks
  3. Establish a strategy

 Benefits of the cloud

 There are many benefits to moving to the cloud including:

  • Accessing data anywhere and at any time
  • Specialized IT experts with cloud service providers, so your team can focus more time on your mission
  • Best-in-class security tools to protect you and your donors

And that’s just the start! Many organizations have reported spending up to 80 percent of an IT budget on maintaining legacy software. With a cloud migration you can increase performance and extend the life of the system by receiving the most up-to-date software. Maintenance will also take less effort because updates are automatic, and organizations always have the most up-to-date version.

Depending on the needs of a nonprofit, the benefits can vary in priority and weight. As a starting point, nonprofit accounting professionals and executives alike need to rate and prioritize the benefits relative to the needs of the nonprofit.

Recognize risks

It’s crucial to be well-informed about the risks of operating in the cloud. Some items to consider:

  • Complexity and duration of the migration
  • Training staff – It is necessary to have a good training plan in place to avoid the frustration that can take place with a new system.
  • Does the cloud provider or your fund accounting consulting offer long-term support? Will you be able to partner with them to help your staff in times of need?

Strategy for moving to the cloud

There is not a one-size-fits-all philosophy with cloud computing migrations. Be sure you can build a road-map that meets the needs and priorities of your nonprofit, including:

  • Cost analysis between the on-premises and cloud-hosted software
  • A plan regarding how the migration will support the bottom line and mission of your organization
  • Research and comparing services from at least three cloud providers

Migrations to the cloud can be overwhelming for many of today’s nonprofit professionals. By breaking down the process into three steps, a plan can be effectively crafted and shared with stakeholders across the organization.

Ready to take the next step? Download our whitepaper that allows you to dig deeper into adopting cloud computing, benefits of migrating, and tips on the best way to research and plan for a move to the cloud. Or contact us online today to set up your free cloud migration consultation.

 

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.

10 Essential Keys to Effectively Engage Clients in E-Learning

By | Abila, Accounting, E-Learning, Grant Management, Nonprofit, Training, Webinar | No Comments

As nonprofit professionals, it’s imperative to endlessly observe your member experience and reflect on ways to improve your processes. Here are 10 keys to enhancing your E-Learning to better engage your users.

KEY 1: Get to know your members: What do your members value in educational programs? If you don’t know the answer, it’s time to find out. Get to know their generational and career stage preferences, technology comfort levels, content interests, and more.

KEY 2: Enhance member benefits: Nearly half of all association members who responded to Abila MIP’s™ Member Professional Development Study want a combined, all-in-one option for membership and education. Yet, less than one-third of organizations report having this type of offering. Consider ways to bundle and personalize your membership and education to meet your learners’ needs.

KEY 3: Attract young professionals: With Millennials representing the largest generation in the workforce, having a strategy to attract, engage, and retain them as members is crucial. Millennials want to learn new skills and advance in their careers, so creating programs that cater to these needs will help associations deepen their relationships with this group.

KEY 4: Personalize your learning: Apply what you learn about your members, and deliver the content and communication that keeps them coming back. Content is the single most important driver for why members choose an educational offering over another. Use your data to deliver a personalized learning experience to your members.

KEY 5: Wrap it in a bow: Make the buying process easy for your members with creative and strategic opportunities for them to access your content. Create packages of on-demand programs or a webinar series, or allow users to curate their learning experience with a create-your-own program bundle.

KEY 6: Blend the distribution: We learned that members still use a variety of learning formats for their education. To cater to the different preferences, vary your methods of content delivery and offer multiple mediums for your programs. This will ensure you meet the needs of all your members.

KEY 7: Get the bang for your buck: Offering multiple mediums does not have to be hard. Leverage the content you’ve already created. Take your in-person event and webcast it. Following the event, sell the recording as a whole or  in segments with on-demand and podcast offerings. Don’t forget you can rebroadcast the program as well!

KEY 8: Make it easy: Finding the right technology remains a challenge for organizations, with only one-third or fewer saying they are “very satisfied” with their systems. Finding a system that integrates, has a simple user flow, and offers options for live and on-demand learning content can make for a seamless experience for your users and staff.

KEY 9: Engage your audience: Holding a learner’s attention can be difficult, with most saying they start to lose interest after one hour,. Incorporating interactive elements into your programming, such as polling and chat, can help to keep your members engaged.

KEY 10: Offer certification (Professional Development): Earning certification and maintaining a license is one of the top reasons members seek professional development. Make sure your course and credit offerings meet the needs of your market. If you aren’t in a career that requires a license, consider creating your own certification program.

To learn more about each key and how Abila clients are putting them into action, check out the 10 Keys to Enhancing the eLearning Experience whitepaper.

Welter Consulting

Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.