This paper was presented at the Connecting Up 2011 Conference.
The key question for any nonprofit governing body whose organisation is using IT/Technology internally is this:
- Is IT/Technology working better than what it is meant to replace?
There are varying levels of awareness, confidence and competence among nonprofit governing bodies about the role of IT/Technology in their organisation. It is critical in this day and age that at least one member of a governing body has a background, working knowledge and acute understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with IT/Technology. The role of this person includes helping the board-as-a-whole to understand the:
a) problem to be solved,
b) function to be introduced or improved, or
c) opportunity to be considered and carefully costed.
The role and benefit of the IT/Technology-aware board member can include:
a) interpreting language and jargon,
b) understanding what the board currently knows
c) understanding what the board doesn’t know, and
d) the questions it needs to ask of potential external advisors, tender respondees or suppliers
Each nonprofit Board is also wise to consider these three questions about their own nonprofit:
- Has the development of technology left the importance and value of the human factors (ie people) behind?
- Are we bringing people’s competency along at a rate sufficient for them to be comfortable, confident and competent with technology?
- Is technology working better than what it is meant to replace?