Since introducing the IT Connect Program, we've had a lot of questions about it - what it is, who it's for, how it works, and why we're doing it. So we thought we'd take some time to answer these questions for you!
What is the IT Connect Program?
Put simply, the program is a referral service for organisations that need help with their IT.
We have provided donated and discounted software for many many years, but in listening to our members we realised there was a gap. Many organisations don't have their own IT staff and have not entered a relationship with an IT provider or integrator. Obtaining software such as Office365 or Azure is only the first step in the solution - it needs to be integrated and implemented in your organisation before it can start helping you.
Short of having your own internal staff, an IT support company or IT integrator would be the place to turn. These companies are built on this service - they can help you implement IT infrastructure, set up your complex server environments, and get it all up and running smoothly so all you have to do is come in one day, switch it on, and start using it.
What we learned from our members is that those who are looking for these kinds of service providers can find it difficult to know who to choose. Unless you're already familiar with the IT industry and have a basic understanding of how it works, you may not know what you need to make a choice: whether the service provider can help with your specific needs, whether their customer service is up to scratch, whether they are reasonably priced, or whether they understand the needs of the not-for-profit sector.
This gap is what the IT Connect Program is designed to fill. With Connecting Up's experience in the tech industry, our dedicated account management staff, and our strong relationships with service providers, we worked closely with providers that we know and trust, who are committed to adding value to the NFP sector, and who have an outstanding track record in customer service. This way, you don't have to hunt around and do hours of research to find an IT services provider to take a chance on. You trust Connecting Up, and we can refer you to a provider we trust.
Who is the IT Connect Program for?
Charities and not-for-profit organisations come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very small, some are bigger than a lot of for-profit enterprises. We all need technology to fulfil our mission and make an impact - that's the world we live in. But the needs of each organisation will be different depending on size, activities, and reporting/record keeping needs.
Our database shows that almost 65% of Connecting Up member organisations do not have an ICT (Information and Communications Technology) provider. Of the 35% that do, many have to shop around to get the best deal they can at the time or rely on the local computer shop to sort things out when they go wrong. This equals time and money spent on IT issues that could be better spent having an impact in their communities.
Your organisation may be able to get by with a few laptops connected to an online storage system like Box.org, in which case you don't need an IT service provider or integrator.
You may already have an IT support person who works or volunteers for you and they have everything under control. Or perhaps you already have a relationship with an IT service provider or IT integrator, in which case your IT needs are already well in hand.
The IT Connect Program is for qualified Connecting Up member organisations that need help with their IT but don't have an IT person or service provider already and are feeling a bit stuck. It connects organisations with IT experts that understand their needs and can help without blowing the budget for the year. Furthermore, it connects organisations with trusted service providers that are flexible enough to tailor solutions to their very specific needs.
So, if your organisation:
- needs help with large-scale software such as Office 365, server infrastructure, or a complex VOIP phone integration
- has an IT budget
- does not already have an ICT service provider, and
- is not sure who to turn to
...the IT Connect Program might be the answer you're looking for.
How does the IT Connect Program work?
As mentioned above, the IT Connect Program is a referral service. Connecting Up does not supply the service; rather, we connect you with service providers suitable for your needs.
We have built a pool of providers with a spectrum of different skills and expertise who have been thoroughly vetted, tested, and approved by us. When you register for an IT Connect Program consultation, our account management team will contact you to discuss your situation and figure out exactly what you need.
From there, we tell you who we think is the best fit for you, and obtain your permission to pass your details on to them. They contact you and take over the process, and you end up with your IT taken care of by an ethical IT company for a reasonable price.
We don't promote one provider over the other because the program is about your organisation's needs. We are adding more providers on an ongoing basis to ensure we keep the program flexible enough to suit the highest number of organisations it can.
If you think your organisation could benefit from the IT Connect Program, or you just want to know more about what it is and how it works, register your interest here.