Nonprofit organizations have a lot on their plates: initiatives to run, constituents to serve, funding to secure, volunteers to manage… the list goes on and on. With so much to do, it’s easy to let technology fall by the wayside. Yet, the intentional integration of technology into the daily operations of nonprofits can truly drive growth and development. But how do you make this happen without adding costly full-time technology staff to your team?
That’s where fractional executive services come into play. These part-time executives—including chief financial officers (CFOs), chief technology officers (CTOs), and chief information officers (CIOs)—help organizations develop and implement changes that grow their mission and accomplish their goals. In this article, we’re exploring fractional CTO services in particular— what should a CTO focus on and what benefits do they provide for nonprofits?
To put it simply, a fractional CTO is a chief technology officer who works with organizations on a part-time or project basis. Fractional CTOs are full-fledged, experienced executives who are capable of leading organizations’ technology initiatives at scale. In other words, they can take on many of the same CTO responsibilities as their full-time counterparts.
What does a fractional CTO do, then? General chief technology officer priorities include:
Of course, your organization may not need assistance with all of the above responsibilities. In fact, that’s one of the primary advantages of working with a fractional CTO. Because they’re only with you on a fractional basis, you can define the roles and responsibilities that are most critical. At Computers in Ministry (CIM), our fractional CTO/CIO services are designed to support your mission in whatever capacity you need.
For nonprofit organizations, fractional CTOs bring a host of benefits, including gaining an outside perspective on your technology systems, maximizing resources, quickly addressing problems or issues, and saving money. Let’s explore each of these advantages in more detail.
In any industry, it can be difficult for full-time executives—or any full-time employee, for that matter—to approach certain challenges with a clear, objective mind. They’re often too close to the issue, and office politics may even come into play.
This is one area where a fractional CTO can add real value. As an outsider, they can look at existing issues or problems with a fresh new perspective to help organizations uncover the right solution. What’s more—because they work with multiple organizations—fractional CTOs bring a wealth of knowledge and experience. It’s entirely possible they already have experience working with the kinds of challenges an organization is facing.
It can take full-time executives months to get fully up to speed with all the ins and outs of an organization—and for good reason. Full-time CTO schedules are often filled to the brim with critical internal and external meetings, board meetings, employee management, and so much more. But when you need a problem or issue addressed quickly, fractional executives thrive. Because they work with multiple organizations, they’re accustomed to getting up to speed very quickly to tackle whatever challenges they’re tasked with.
Most nonprofit organizations are strapped for resources, with just a few full-time employees heading up fundraising, program implementation, community outreach, communications, and more. And in many instances, some of these responsibilities are even run by volunteers.
Fractional CTOs can help nonprofits maximize their resources in several ways. For example, they can recommend new tech tools or devices to automate or speed up certain tasks, freeing up time for your employees or volunteers to spend on other responsibilities. Second, they can train or mentor your employees or volunteers, ensuring they have the skills needed to use new tech solutions.
Finally, fractional CTO rates are significantly more budget-friendly than what it would cost to bring on a full-time C-suite executive. According to payscale.com, the average CTO salary ranges from roughly $92,000 to $250,000 per year—not to mention the costs associated with benefits. For non-profits with little wiggle room in the budget, these numbers might seem insurmountable. However, because fractional executives work with organizations on a part-time or project basis, their fees are often much more affordable.
Does every company need a CTO? Probably not. But most organizations can benefit from the occasional advice or expertise that only an executive-level professional can bring. At CIM, we work with nonprofits in every industry. We work with your team to design customized solutions that fit your model, your needs, and your budget. We love thinking outside the box, solving your problems, and helping you grow your mission.
We strive to be the best place to find a CTO who truly understands nonprofits and mission-driven organizations. Ready to learn more about how we can partner with your organization to help you accomplish your goals? Reach out today. We’d love to help you advance your mission.