Leveraging the cloud means “they don’t need to guess about capacity any longer,” Fryhoff says. “This approach has allowed them to scale up to meet the needs of their users for events and scale back when those resources are not being used.”
Here are a few clear candidates for cloud migrations and some ideas on how to think about the rest.
Cloud-Based Collaboration Tools Present Challenges and Potential
One of the strongest opportunities for a cloud transition is collaboration, an area where the tools can take a variety of forms. Some notable examples include Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and Zoom.
One challenge that can emerge with this kind of move is support from organizational leadership. AWS’ Fryhoff notes that leaders can help to push forth the discussion on integration.
“They need to be setting clear direction and expectations with the rest of the organization to get everyone on the same page and working toward the same thing,” Fryhoff says. “It’s easy for others to do nothing or block things if the leadership team isn’t making the move a priority and building a culture for change.”
Strong leadership can help ensure that the infrastructure your organization builds wins out over shadow IT in the workplace.
How to Handle Data with Customer Relationship Management Software
Much of the data nonprofits rely on comes from their donors and constituents, and the ways that data is managed could also benefit from a cloud makeover.
In the past, such data might have been managed on-premises, but recent advances in software for donor and constituent management have made it a good candidate for the cloud. For one thing, notes Fryhoff, it could allow nonprofits to narrow their hardware investment focus.
“By using the cloud, nonprofits don’t have to make large upfront investments in hardware and spend time and effort managing that hardware,” Fryhoff says. “By migrating their on-premises data centers to the cloud, nonprofits can provision exactly the computing resources they need to power their organizations and keep focus on the mission.”
Unlocking the Value of Data with Cloud-Based Data Analytics
Another benefit of putting data into the cloud is access to stronger data-analytics offerings than might be available onsite. This can help introduce efficiencies in marketing and execution for nonprofits.
A number of solutions for cloud-based analytics, such as AWS’ QuickSight, Google Cloud Platform’s BigQuery and Microsoft Azure’s Databricks, can be used in member recruitment or the demographic targeting of donors, improving marketing.
“With the cloud, nonprofits can better visualize and present their data in meaningful ways and support their organization in making faster and more intentional data-driven decisions,” Fryhoff says.
There are also ways to drill down further into data lessons using machine learning and automation, which nonprofit researchers use heavily. “In our work with nonprofit research institutions, AWS is also seeing researchers worldwide use the cloud to accelerate time to breakthroughs,” Fryhoff says.
Every nonprofit has things it must deal with internally, for example, financial and accounting software, human resources information or tools to manage an organization’s intranet. These may not be core to the way the organization works but they are still necessary to manage. These are often perfect candidates for moving off a local server and into cloud infrastructure.