Taking Your NPO to the Cloud: What You Need to Know

Walking around with your head in the clouds isn’t necessarily a great idea. You might be missing out on some great opportunities down below. But if you’re walking around your nonprofit without considering putting your data in the cloud, you’re oblivious to some other opportunities that exist.

So what is nonprofit cloud storage, and is it right for your organization? Simply put, instead of storing your information on a local hard drive, it stores your information on a server over the Internet. So, technically it’s not up in “the clouds.” But it is in a place where you don’t have to deal with the clunky equipment.

Is it right for your organization? Keep reading to determine if the cloud is a viable option for your NPO.

Look for Security

One of the biggest concerns when it comes to the cloud is keeping your organization’s information secure. Building a trusting relationship with your donors is one of the biggest keys to donations, and repeat donations for that matter. That’s why the information that donors provide to your NPO is so important to keep safe.

But that doesn’t mean that the cloud isn’t secure enough for your organization. It just means that you need to be careful about the solution your organization decides to choose.

Things to look for: Ask about infrastructure and the security in place to protect the cloud. If the solution you’re looking into can’t provide any real details about cloud security, and instead simply insists that all cloud technology is safe, it might be a red flag. But if they can tell you about their specific security policies and procedures, you’re moving in the right direction.

Key words that can help you decide include whether or not the cloud solution is PCI compliant, SOX compliant or HIPAA compliant. Also make sure to find out who owns the data and who can see it once you choose a cloud service. Make sure to check out other types of compliance you might want to consider.

A Cost-Effective Solution

You’re already on a budget at your organization. All of your funds are being shoveled into your mission, so there’s not much left over when push comes to shove. And all of the technology equipment can really start to accumulate costs (and space). But if your organization doesn’t need to find physical space and purchase the physical equipment, there will be more room in your budget to make your mission happen.

Bottom Line—Is It Worth It?

The bottom line to consider with cloud technology is the ROI for your NPO. If switching could save you $30,000 in IT expenses, that’s $30,000 dollars you could be putting back into your mission. If you’re spending a large amount on IT services that your organization doesn’t necessarily need, cloud computing might be the right option for your nonprofit. But cloud storage and computing isn’t right for every organization. Checking into a cloud solution for your nonprofit can’t hurt. See if your organization can cut costs, or if the current system you’re using is worth it.

Has your organization floated to the cloud? Why or why not?


Lyndsey Hrabik

Lyndsey is a former editor for Nonprofit Hub and Nonprofit Hub Magazine. She now serves as a guest contributor, writing on topics such as social media, technology, marketing and starting a nonprofit.

February 18, 2014

You May Also Enjoy

Two professionals shake hands, representing a business and nonprofit partnership
Sponsorship v. Donations: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Sponsorship v. Donations: The Drawbacks and Benefits

Needing money is a common denominator among all nonprofits. We may do different things, serve different causes, or even operate in different areas of the world. However, we all need funds. Two of the tried-and-true methods for raising dough, sponsorships, and charitable donations, can cause a lot of confusion. Here’s your guide to keeping them straight and also maximizing their ability to support your mission.

Become a Member

Whether you’re with a large team or a solo entrepreneur looking to start the next great cause, we have a membership package that will help you grow your network and your cause.