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Reducing your Tech Overhead

Reducing your Tech Overhead
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How a Small Nonprofit Made Simple Tech Tweaks and Saved $176,000

The Chronicle of Philanthropy
February 20, 2011

Like many nonprofits struggling in the economic downturn, my organization has tightened its belt. A year ago we reduced our work force from 10 to four staff members and cut our operating budget by almost two-thirds.

The Metanexus Institute works to promote interaction between religion and science through publications and symposia at universities around the world and has always prided itself on using cutting-edge computer technology. (We started in 1997 as a moderated e-mail discussion list.) As we looked to trim costs, we found ourselves taking a particularly hard look at the technology we use to run our organization.

We made a number of big changes and small tweaks, which not only resulted in greater cost savings but also made us more nimble as an organization. When the overhaul was complete, we had cut our information-technology expenses—including phone service—from $5,000 per month to $300 per month. We also no longer needed our own technology staff, which gave us additional savings of nearly $10,000 per month. All told, we’re saving about $176,000 a year on an annual budget that now stands at $385,000.

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