Engineering Justice, LLC
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Nonprofit & Small Business Resources Blog

We offer expert advice and opinions, with a focus on nonprofits and small businesses, but relevant to organizations of all sizes.
Over 15 years of combined experience.

Purchasing Computers for Nonprofits and Small Businesses

 
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Many nonprofits and small businesses do not purchase computers for their employees. Instead, they might assist an employee with the purchase of a computer or require employees to come equipped with their own before being hired. This is somewhat understandable, as small organizations often do not believe they have the capacity to purchase or maintain computers. However, we do not recommend this approach. A central component of our internal management methodology is that your organization must operate efficiently. Therefore, it is imperative that all of your employees, or, at the very least, your key personnel, have the most essential tool needed to operate effectively in this digital age: a functioning computer.

The Three Most Important Reasons to Purchase Computers for Nonprofits or Small Business

  1. Accountability. It is hard to keep your employees accountable if you are not providing them with a fundamental tool such as a computer. Providing employees with computers decreases the need to address basic issues, like being non-responsive to emails or missed project deadlines that involve writing and word processing (e.g., “my computer broke!”). If you still run into these problems with an employee after purchasing a computer, then at least you don’t need to debate about the need for one and can focus more squarely on their productivity and/or performance.

  2.  Morale. In this day and age, you are sending a clear signal to new hires if you do not provide such a critical tool, whether you mean to or not. A new employee may equate this approach with being expendable. After all, you are not investing in them. They may internalize this view moving forward, which means it will be harder to convince them otherwise, especially when you need their dedication and loyalty.

    By providing computers to your team, you are signaling that you want them to work effectively, especially with each other. Each employee is seen to have the tools needed to operate at a baseline level. They can then use their energy to motivate each other and feel secure in the stability of their team and roles.

  3.  Efficiency. By administering the process of purchasing all of the computers and software for your organization, you can control the continuity of your programming and outputs. For example, it is easier to develop standardized systems trainings that are dependent on the software you choose to use.  You can then create standards and metrics to track individual performance and organizational progress. The ability to scale and further develop your methods of evaluation are tremendous when you are controlling what hardware and software your employees are using. You are also exhibiting strong leadership when you take this approach, as you are providing your staff with clear direction and expectations through the use of a standardized system of technology.

    An added benefit is that, once your employees move on, there isn’t a risk that the employees will take their work with them.  

Budget
When making your financial projections, make sure to build in a realistic computing budget. If you are uncomfortable with basic IT support, then make sure you also budget for computer maintenance. Best Buy and the Apple store provide most of what you need when it comes to basic IT service. You do not want to go into the red supporting the fundamental need to purchase and maintain computers. So, if this means cutting costs in other areas, even in the area of salary, you should consider prioritizing this as soon as possible and worrying about those other issues later. As we’ve stated, we believe this to be a priority and an imperative aspect of building a successful organization.

How do I choose a computer for my organization?
Macs and PCs make-up the computer universe. Stay tuned for a future post about what we think are their major differences. For now, you should know that you don’t necessarily need to speak with a store specialist to buy them! Buying computer(s) on-line is practical; they come to your door and with less paperwork! Check out our favorite models below. You can’t go wrong with these two:   

 
Engineering Justice, LLC