How a Virtual CIO Helps Not-for-Profits

Not-for-profit organisations are a vital part of our social fabric. They perform all sorts of valuable work in communities around the country and the wider world – and, a lot of the time, they have to do it on a very restricted budget.

For any organisation – whether it’s a charity or a business – IT is a crucial investment. Efficient IT infrastructure can help cash-strapped not-for-profits make their budgets stretch that bit further, enabling them to do more to serve the people they were established to serve.

But for NFPs, hiring an in-house CIO is often prohibitively expensive, which can leave them without access to strategic IT expertise. This is why many are choosing virtual CIOs as a more affordable alternative. But what are virtual CIOs, what do they do and how can they help not-for-profits?

What is a virtual CIO and what do they do?

A virtual chief information officer, or vCIO, provides strategic guidance and oversight of a client’s IT infrastructure and operations on a remote or outsourced basis. An in-house CIO performs the same function but is employed within the organisation, and typically costs more money.

Virtual CIOs play a central role in the development of IT strategy, working with leaders and relevant stakeholders within an organisation to understand its needs and objectives. They will assess the client’s existing IT infrastructure and look for areas where potential improvements are needed.

In addition, vCIOs will develop IT governance policies and procedures so that IT investments are aligned with organisational priorities, as well as overseeing cybersecurity and developing technology roadmaps to support the client’s strategic objectives.

How does a virtual CIO help not-for-profits?

A virtual CIO can help not-for-profit clients get more out of their IT budget. This is particularly crucial for smaller organisations with limited financial resources, and can help them do more to serve the wider community while making their internal operations more efficient.

Here are some of the main benefits a vCIO can offer not-for-profit organisations:

  • Cost efficiency: Virtual CIOs are generally much less expensive than employing an in-house CIO, providing clients with access to strategic IT know-how at a fraction of the cost. This makes them an attractive option for NFPs as well as small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Strategic planning: Virtual CIOs can help clients align their IT investments with wider organisational goals. They will look at an organisation’s current IT set-up, look to see where there is room for improvement, and develop long-term roadmaps to ensure that technology investments support the client’s objectives.
  • Risk management: Cybersecurity threats are ever-growing, and they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated in their execution. A virtual CIO will help NFP clients to bolster their defences against criminals by assessing their existing cybersecurity posture, implement risk mitigation measures and develop cyberattack mitigation plans.
  • Managing vendor relationships: Another area where vCIOs can help NFPs is by managing relationships with technology vendors. Not-for-profit organisations may rely on various providers for hardware, software and other services. A virtual CIO can help with the negotiation of contracts so that NFPs get the best deal.
  • Integrating systems: Not-for-profits often use multiple software systems to perform a range of different functions. However, there may be opportunities to save money by streamlining and integrating these systems. A virtual CIO can help an NFP client do this by integrating systems where possible, ensuring that technologies work seamlessly.
  • Affordable expertise: As we’ve noted, employing an outsourced virtual CIO often works out considerably cheaper than hiring an in-house CIO. Virtual CIOs therefore give NFPs access to extensive expertise and experience, bringing best practices from other organisations and using it to create strategies tailored for the needs of each specific client.

Recruiting a virtual CIO, then, offers a wide range of potential benefits to organisations in the not-for-profit sector. Specifically, having a vCIO on hand can help NFPs benefit from strategic tech expertise, which in turn can enable them to get more out of limited budgets and – most importantly of all – fulfil their mission to the communities they serve.

Solsoft’s virtual CIOs dig deep to understand how your organisation works and what it needs from its IT setup. They’ll then provide you with unbiased, expert opinion informed by thorough research. Get in touch with Solsoft today to find out more about what our vCIOs can do for your organisation.