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Many charities start up on a shoestring, get the most computer-savvy person in the office to do all the computer stuff, and pretty quickly outgrow that accidental techie model. What's the next step? It's called managed IT services.
First of all, I want to give a big round of applause for our heroic accidental techies. They're the brave souls who, without any real IT training, are game to take on building and maintaining an IT infrastructure. They often work with a mishmash of hardware with all kinds of different software on it, no real data backup system, and no training in IT security.
They get handed a less-than-perfect website and a database that needs to be built from scratch. They do amazing things. With little or no IT budget, relying on an accidental techie is an unavoidable step for most organizations to get going.
At some point, even the most heroic accidental techie just can't keep up. This usually starts to happen when an organization grows to about 8 to 10 people. Printers don't print; the website keeps going down; email is not sending; the hardware and software is getting really old and crashy.
Maybe you've tried getting volunteers to help out or hired an expensive consultant when something went catastrophically wrong. But this "break and fix" model of IT support isn't working.
Managed IT services can be a good, inexpensive solution to your IT problems.
Managed IT services companies support your IT systems by sending someone to your office or, increasingly, by working remotely outside your office. It usually takes them a few hours each month to do maintenance. Their experts use special remote desktop tools that give them full access to your IT system so they can do regular preventive maintenance and fix anything not working. They usually also take calls by phone.
Managed IT services companies will usually
Most importantly, managed IT services consulting firms do this work very cost-effectively for a fixed-fee monthly service that is much lower cost than hiring a full-time IT professional.
Managed IT services pricing is usually based on the size and complexity of your office, including
Prices are usually roughly $100 to $150 per month per seat.
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TechSoup knows managed IT services can be the most efficient, cost-effective way for growing organizations that have outgrown the "break and fix" model to get the tech support they need.
That's why we're happy to announce IT Assist, TechSoup's new managed IT service that is available to any charity or public library anywhere in the U.S.
The TechSoup IT Assist program is designed to be 25 to 30 percent lower cost than comparable services; the service has an added benefit of offering ongoing technology advice for upgrading and budgeting as organizations grow. The service
Get IT Assist
Managed IT services are the way for small nonprofits that have outgrown their accidental techie to get good, affordable IT support at much lower cost than hiring a desktop support person.
We have a non-profit that needs good tech support on an "as needed basis." We have ACT the #1 installed CRM and on site server based Quickbooks. We do not need or want a maintenance or managed program. I suspect most small non-profits can not afford another $150-$300 per month "in case" there is a problem.
Thank you for your feedback. Good point that lots of nonprofits cannot afford additional IT expenses. TechSoup launched IT Assist because we have heard from many TechSoup members that an affordable managed IT service program is an area of need, particularly for growing nonprofits that don't have the budget for in-house tech support.
With a managed IT services program, you're not just supported "in case" there's a problem. You have expert support for the regular maintenance — such as backups, upgrades, and patches — that will keep your technology secure and up to date, as well as support for long-term technology planning. We also believe that a managed IT service model is ultimately less expensive than relying on a "break and fix" model or "as needed" support when something goes wrong. For those organizations that are considering hiring their own in-house IT support person, a managed IT service is also a less expensive option.
We do understand that there are also many TechSoup member organizations with very limited budgets (that's why we do what we do, after all!) and we are currently exploring ways to deliver "as needed" tech support in a way that is effective and cost-efficient. If you would like to hear more about what we're thinking, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.