Forget the Leash, Go to the Cloud

(A guest post by Cheryl Black)

I’d like to start by saying I really like Outlook. It does really cool things.

But…have you ever tried to access your Outlook via webmail? It’s kinda ugly and clunky. That’s because Outlook is software that lives on your specific computer and is best utilized from that computer.

Take Gmail or Yahoo mail on the other hand. It’s web-based…also known as “in the cloud.” It looks pretty great from just about any computer.

Now think about your donor/member database. If it is software that lives on your computer or your organization’s server, it probably looks great when you are at the office. It functions as it was meant to. Have you ever tried to access it from another computer? Can you even do that?

If your database (or other technology) is in the cloud, you can access it from everywhere (just like you can access your Gmail everywhere) and no matter where you are, it continues to function exactly how it does at the office, exactly how it was meant to function.

Think about that. That means you can work from anywhere you like. It means that leash to the office that is your technology resources no longer exists. Cool right?

This opens up a world of opportunity; for IT, for finance, for fundraising and for human resources.

Let’s look at those last two with a couple examples for your consideration.

Scenario 1: Fundraising Gold

Your development director is seated at a Chamber luncheon with a major donor prospect and holy cow, she cannot remember the name of his new start-up. If your donor database is tied to the office, she’s texting you asking for you to look him up and send her the details. But if your donor database is in the cloud, she’s nonchalantly opening it up on her smartphone, scoping out not only his company name but his wife’s name and how they got connected to your organization in the first place. And now she’s asking all the right questions, dropping the right names and building his relationship with the organization.

Scenario 2: HR Victor

Your HR director is stressed because finance just told him this will have to be year three without staff raises. He’s ready to watch all that talent walk right out the front door if he can’t come up with a new, enticing benefit soon. Since you’ve moved to cloud-based technology, he’s able to wheel and deal with organizational leadership to allow everyone one work-from-home day each week. Now commuting costs are lowered, work-life balance is improved and employee retention is rockin’.

Technology that ties you to a desk is so last millennium. It costs more than just a line item in the IT budget; it costs you opportunities. You need technology that is versatile, accessible and flexible.

The cloud can help.

Cheryl Black is a member of YNPN Austin and the Social Media Marketing Specialist for Convio, a leading provider constituent engagement software for nonprofits. All Convio products are in the cloud, enabling nonprofits to serve their missions how they want, when the want, where they want.

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