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Accelerate your Not-For-Profit while staying inside the guardrails

William Palfrey
November 14, 2020, Post a comment

2020 has undoubtedly been a year of significant change, right? We're seeing a huge culture shift in organisations leaning towards flexible working environments, particularly for leaders of organisations working in the NFP space.

While many NFPs have embraced the shift to remote working as a way of ensuring safety and improving flexibility and the reach of their critical services, the lack of traditional ‘face to face’ meeting, particularly in an informal or unstructured setting, also has shown the potential to erode culture, productivity and innovation.  


Threats to security are also threats to innovation

Another unintended consequence of the rapid shift to remote working has been the massive increase in security risk that comes from staff and devices moving off-premises and connecting back in – often through consumer-grade or even public networks. Not only has the prevalence of cyberattacks been increasing, so has the publicity around them. Although the material risk of a security breach is very real, many organisations are reporting a second-order consequence in terms of staff behaviour: a reduction in collaboration and innovation, driven by a lingering fear that they may involuntarily trigger a security incident.


The question now for leaders of NFPs: how to provide a workplace that balances the crucial need for security and safety with the desire for creativity and productivity?

It’s a critical time for many NFPs: facing greater demand for their services due to the challenging times of the pandemic and the economic disruption while, at the same time, fundraising and revenue opportunities have declined significantly. Escaping from the clutches of this ‘pincer movement’ takes the creativity and confidence of the entire team, both staff and volunteers, working to discover new ways to serve their communities and engage supporters.

Here’s where the lessons learned from the private sector can offer a significant shortcut for NFPs: these new ways of remote and flexible working can unleash new opportunities for collaboration and productivity, but only if the digital workplace is configured to support and empower your people.


Leveraging technology to support the way your people want to work

Digital workplaces have undergone a sudden rise in adoption this year, but the underlying tools, technologies and practices have been in development for some time, reaching a level of usability and flexibility that naturally aids easy adoption and integration. That makes now an ideal moment to consider leveraging the full potential of digital platforms like Microsoft 365 for your workplace, allowing you to add new workflows, allow people to work from different locations while also centralising the protection and management of your organisation’s data. We're seeing the benefits of modern, digitally enabled workplaces flow through in three main areas:

Effective collaboration – made possible by Microsoft Teams providing easily accessible and continuous peer-to-peer communication. The Microsoft Teams platform removes barriers, and allows organisations to effectively collaborate, regardless of geographical location or personal requirements.

Mobility, Flexibility and Accessibility –  made possible by Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint Online. Supporting different cultures, views, ideas and needs becomes more achievable when delivered through a flexible and personalised workplace experience. This will require a correlating shift in management priorities - valuing output rather than micro-managing inputs – but that also becomes easier with the provision of devices  and resources that are light, powerful, dependable and portable.

Staff Empowerment and development – made possible by Microsoft 365. The rise in both confidence and competence unleashed by modern workplaces is possibly one of the most rewarding aspects for leaders. NFP's can easily streamline collaboration tools, meet cyber security compliance demands to secure future funding, safeguard business data and streamline costs with a single productivity solution. 


Remove risk, reduce fear, build capability.

Proactive and empowered employees deliver their best work unhindered by fear of a misstep or unintended error that leads to potentially significant data breaches. But with less visibility of employees and their actions, and a bigger IT perimeter to manage, you can’t always protect everyone from making a security mistake. These threats need to be managed in a way that dos not hamper your organisation’s need for access and flexibility. Which is why we strongly recommend you consider:

  1. Asking your IT provider to educate your team with the latest cyber security awareness training, and

  2. Leveraging your existing Microsoft 365 subscription to get the full comprehensive, yet easy to use device management solution powered by Microsoft Intune that helps keep your devices and data secure and your workers productive. Oh and, when we say “powered by Intune,” we don’t mean some watered down
    version. We mean the full power of the product that’s used by Fortune 100 companies and which works across iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows.

Consistency amongst applications, tools and communication channels improves your ability to set up new teams to meet project needs, while internal knowledge management helps identify the right talent for roles and special projects, creating an organisation that can embrace agility without disruption from security threats.

And that’s where technology can help – partnering with the right IT Provider plus the clever cloud technology of Microsoft 365, NFP's can put the guard rails on for their employees, reducing the risk of breaches and giving their people confidence to deliver critical services with flexibility and scale

Click here to learn more about how we help NFP organisations to:


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Turn that IT frown upside down

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