Nonprofit tech spending holds steady

Nonprofit tech spending
Nonprofit tech spending

Investments by nonprofits in information-technology staffing, or IT, as well as other tech areas, held steady in 2010, a new survey says.

Among nearly 1,200 nonprofit professionals who filled out the Nonprofit IT Staffing Survey sponsored by NTEN and The NonProfit Times, tech spending represented less than 3 percent of the annual budgets for all respondents’ organizations, although the percentage was significantly higher among small organizations.

Tech spending either stayed the same or grew from the previous year for most of the survey respondents, a sample the sponsors say probably is not representative of the nonprofit sector overall.

The survey characterized less than 32 percent of respondents as tech “leaders,” down 3 percent from the previous year, with larger organizations more likely to be leaders.

Tech leaders, regardless of the size of their organization, continue to spend more money on technology that nonprofits the survey characterizes as tech “stragglers.”

Of nonprofits that did not contract any tech needs to outside consultants, organizations regardless of size spent 55 percent on average of their tech budget to staffing.

And among nonprofits of all sizes, the median budget for tech staffing totaled $50,000, and the average budget for tech staffing was $218,000.

While 64 percent of tech leaders had a formal tech plan, 60 percent of all respondents said their nonprofits do not have a formal plan.

And just 26 percent of respondents said their nonprofit had ever evaluated the return on investment from tech projects or programs, with those that had much more likely to be tech leaders.

“Clearly, planning and evaluation when it comes to technology is something we could all be doing better,” the survey says.

Among organizations of all sizes, tech leaders averaged nearly five tech staffers, compared to about three at tech stragglers.

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