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Plan IT Program

Affordable Technology Planning for Nonprofits

Want to use technology to better achieve your mission? Join Plan IT and get a technology assessment and plan! 501 Commons has partnered with companies and individuals that share our vision of helping nonprofits power up their technology so we can offer this program at very affordable rates.

Plan IT

About Plan IT

Technology helps you raise money, be more productive, measure program effectiveness, and communicate. Many technology tools and resources are affordable and easy to use, and better yet, many of these platforms offer special discounts for nonprofits. However, it can be difficult to make good technology decisions when there is so much information out there. Join the 100+ organizations that have capitalized on the Plan IT program to help them make better use of technology.

The training offered in the cohort meetings and the consulting provided by your two consultants are valued at $19,500. However, Plan IT is very affordable because we raise funds from companies and individuals to cover much of the cost! Additionally, our skilled service corps members volunteer their time to serve as your Plan IT consultants.

“We have gained new insights and a plan that will make it possible to increase our capacity to deliver services while improving job satisfaction. Each component of the Plan IT program, including work with consultants, tech talks and round table, oversight from 501 commons was valuable and productive.” - Skate Journeys

How it Works

Your team of 2-3 staff members will meet 3-4 times with the teams from the other participating organizations to learn about technology. You will meet more frequently (at a mutually convenient time) during the 5-month duration with your volunteer consultants. Your consultants have a broad knowledge of technology and are supported by the expertise of 501 Commons staff. Each participating nonprofit will complete:

  • An assessment of your organization’s technology infrastructure and use of technology tools
  • A "key issues" report based on the assessment
  • A detailed action plan

Participating organizations must:

  • Have 501(c)(3) status
  • Provide at least two (preferably three) staff members to participate throughout the 4 month-long process (a board member may participate if an additional staff member is not available)
  • Commit to each participant spending 6-8 hours per month on the program

Four steps to better technology

Cohort Meetings: Participants meet four times throughout the program to learn and share their experiences. The first meeting will be a program launch, followed by two learning roundtables and a final celebration.

Tech Assessment: Plan IT participants complete a comprehensive assessment of their organization's technology. The assessment document will ask questions regarding the organization's technology infrastructure, website, database, use of social media, and general office technology. You will discuss the results of your assessment with your consultants and identify strengths and areas for improvement.

Key Issues Report: Consultants and organizational representatives discuss key issues based on the tech assessment. The Key Issues Report identifies three key issues the organization should address in their Plan IT Action Plan.

Plan IT Action Plan: Project teams will further analyze the three (3) key issues determined from the report, define organizational goals, and list detailed actions the organization will take to accomplish these goals.

Benefits

Organizations that have participated in Plan IT report that they come away with a better understanding of the strengths and challenges with their technology. Having a detailed plan allows them to take practical and often inexpensive steps. The staff feels more confident in making investments in technology, hiring contractors or vendors, and in recruiting and managing volunteers who support technology.

At the end of the Fall 2016 program, satisfaction with the program was universal, with organizations reporting they were ready to take action and 100% of them agreeing they were likely to achieve the objectives of their Action Plan.

Application & Schedule

Apply: Fill out our online application form. Applications are still being accepted.

501 Commons has been raising funds from companies and individuals in order to reduce the participation fees. However, all organizations will pay a share of the costs on a sliding sale based on your budget.

Schedule: The Fall 2017 Plan IT cohort starts with the Program Launch on October 5, 2017 and ends with a celebration on February 27, 2018. If your organization is unavailable October 5, there is flexibility to still participate in the program.

Questions?

Want to know if Plan IT is a good fit for your organization? Contact Crystal Cheairs at crystal@501commons.org.