Technology is a huge factor in running modern nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and keeping up to date with the latest resources can be difficult without the right leadership. In fact, 76% of nonprofits lack any type of significant data strategy. However, 77% of nonprofits using digital technologies found success in their fundraising. This means despite a low percentage of NPOs using technology to their advantage, a majority of those that do are seeing results. Without a strong data strategy and IT plan, it’s likely a nonprofit could be struggling to maintain funding, establish overall organizational structure, and achieve their mission. But there are ways to implement these technologies with help from an experienced executive without the need to hire full-time C-suite employees, which can be expensive.
Unfortunately a trend with nonprofit organizations is the lack of updated technology. You might be using outdated or legacy technology that can’t keep up with the demands of the current times. Or you might have technology you don’t use or know how to use. This can be an expensive cost for little or no return. What are you using right now? Do you know how you can make the technology better? CIO is dedicated to technology that not only helps the employees run the organization, but in the long run helps the donors.
With fractional executive services, you can hire a fractional Chief Information Officer (CIO) to assist your organization with developing IT strategies and solutions. So what does fractional CIO mean exactly? In this piece, we’ll dive into the fractional CIO meaning and discuss how a new Chief Information Officer can help your NPO create and maintain the best results in your IT department.
A fractional Chief Information Officer (CIO) is an executive that is hired on a part-time or contractual basis to oversee technology within an organization. While they are in charge of technology development, they also create strategies for optimization and innovation tailored specifically to the organization that hires them. In short, a fractional CIO provides the same services as a full-time CIO, but they focus on the current needs of the company to develop a strong technology game plan. An effective CIO must have a strong IT foundation and continually stay current with industry developments. Because they are part-time, typically a CIO is contracted by a company for the interim period or only when necessary.
A Chief Information Officer is the most senior ranking executive in an organization that manages technology, implements research and development for innovation, and ensures the usability of the software and hardware within the company. More specifically, the CIO oversees the impact of information technology (IT) in the company and how targeting data is processed and interpreted. For example, the CIO must consider how employees and volunteers in each department could use technology to make their jobs more efficient.
The CIO roles and responsibilities as the chief internal technology executive include:
In order to maintain the organization’s competitiveness, CIOs frequently study papers and research on new technologies that could be beneficial to the NPO’s internal operations or communication channels. Within an organization, a CIO works with their team to come up with practical solutions to IT problems. A few examples of a CIO job description within their organization’s IT solution examples include:
As a nonprofit, it’s clear that a CIO can bring a lot of benefits to the organization to help with customer and donor management, as well as integrate new technologies. This ensures all software and IT solutions contribute to the betterment of your organization. By having a clear vision for technology within a nonprofit, a CIO should drive success with a mix of technical proficiency, leadership, and communication. CIM offers CIO services for nonprofits in need of aid, like research and evaluation, performance monitoring, and roadmap creation.
If you’re questioning whether interim CIO services are worth the expenditure, keep in mind that fractional CIOs offer the same benefits and experience for significantly less than a traditional, full-time executive. This is especially important when an organization is struggling to meet the technological demands a modern nonprofit faces. A few services a fraction CIO provide include:
With the development and modernization of technology, the role of a CIO has become more essential to NPOs wanting to keep up. Hiring a fractional CIO gives organizations the opportunity to adjust to the current environment accordingly without the need for a full-time executive.
The Chief Information Officer is crucial for a nonprofit organization since innovation and production are essential to operations. Technology is a major driving factor to achieve those goals. While it can be tempting to find an inexpensive solution, like small IT freelancers, you typically won’t find the expertise necessary to run your organization’s technology like you can with an executive officer. With CIOs, you will have a baseline of someone that understands technology and how it impacts an NPO.
A fractional CIO gives you that expertise for less than a full-time senior, but with the peace of mind that your organization is being run with a strong background in leadership and strategy implementation. With a fractional CIO, you’ll receive a tailored strategy for your NPO’s technology needs that plans for the future, instead of addressing only the current problems. Not only that, but a CIO should be versed in running businesses to make sound decisions for the organization. This means a fractional CIO will make business decisions that make sense for the future of your organization.
Every organization has different requirements for technology. Some nonprofits are in dire need of improvements in their software and hardware or overall processes. Others need strong leadership and project management to meet deadlines and develop new strategies. It might be time to consider hiring a CIO if:
While a Chief Information Officer and a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) have similar responsibilities within an organization, they’re not necessarily the same. Considering CIO vs CTO duties is defined on where they concentrate their attention within an organization. A CIO is inward facing, focusing on the needs of the organization and team members. This means internal software or hardware issues are addressed by the CIO, who consults with the senior IT team. A CTO is outward facing, focusing on the needs of customers. With products and services in use by a customer, it’s important to make sure they have a voice if something needs attention.
Because they both manage technology within a company, some duties may overlap, but ultimately they have different objectives.
The CIO reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Operating Officer (COO). Depending on the NPO, typically the CIO is peers with the CTO and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). So is CIO a high position? Yes, a CIO is a part of the leadership team within an organization and oversees all internal technology. Because CIO is a C-suite position, they have a direct impact on the implementation of IT solutions that affect the entire nonprofit organization.
At Computers in Ministry, we know how important technology can be for nonprofit organizations to stay ahead. But without the right leadership, scaling can be a difficult task for growing nonprofits. That’s why we offer CIO and CTO services for your NPO to ensure you get the most out of your IT.
Our Scale package gives you the knowledge and capacity of a full-time leader without the high level of pay, benefits, and overhead costs. We provide technology leadership, strategy, development, planning, integration, and implementation for your nonprofit.
We are always available and considering how to best help your organization. By building roadmaps, assessing technology health, and monitoring performance, CIM gives you the peace of mind that your technology needs are taken care of. Visit our website for more information on the technology services we provide.