Computers and the software installed on them is always a problem for any organisation.
But there is good news for nonprofits! But before I get to the good news, I have something to remind you.
Just as it is important for your organisation to use computers and software in your day to day nonprofit activities. It is vitally important for your organisation to be up to date with your operating systems and software, and to make all attempts to ensure that your computers are up to date, secure, and free from viruses and malware.
Not only will this save you time and money in the long run. But, if you have insurance policies, or you act as a intermediary, or supplier for a larger organisation. Then you will probably find that you will have a legal requirement to do so.
So please don’t use old software that is no longer being supported. And don’t use pirated software.
Not when you may be able to replace it with free, or low-cost alternatives!
Operating System & Software
Would you like a fully legal copy Microsoft Windows 7 or 8.1 for less than £10? Would you like a fully legal copy of Microsoft Office 2013 for less than £10?
Microsoft Corporate Citizenship is Microsoft’s NonProfit programme, and offers savings of over 90% on many of their products. Find out more about Microsoft Corporate Citizenship, and if you use Microsoft software then I would suggest that you enroll today.
Perhaps you would like $10,000 per month to spend on advertising with Google? Would you like to use Google Apps for free? Would you like to use Google Maps and Google Earth in your charitable endeavors?
Google, not to be outdone, have their own nonprofit programme. And they offer far more than just $10,000 advertising grants! You can find more details about Google NonProfit here, and again this is a must enroll for any nonprofit organisation.
In the UK hardware prices are extremely competitively priced already. There are some great prices on computer equipment, and new equipment comes with a warranty and support. And if you buy a new computer without Windows pre-installed, you might be able to save yourself some money that way.
Secondhand Computers (Don’t do it!)
Everyone loves a bargain, but sometimes penny pinching leaves you with more problems that you anticipated. Here’s some good information on considerations with donated computer hardware.
Personally, I would only suggest using donated computers if you have an experienced IT person in your team, there are just too many risks involved. But if you are in the UK, and you have IT support, then IT For Charities provides a list of companies that supply donated and refurbished computer equipment.