Technology is important to Alaskan nonprofits. However, just as a building alone does not ensure organizational success, neither does technology. Applicants must thoughtfully demonstrate both need and the ability to work effectively with, maintain, and ultimately replace technologies supported by Foundation awards.
The Foundation supports technology–related infrastructure projects for which the applicant clearly describes and documents both its needs and the expected outcomes from the project's implementation. Outcomes are often expressed in measurable terms of new or improved programs, services or processes (and associated revenue), new avenues for collaboration, or new or improved ways of bringing greater efficiency to the organization.
The Foundation supports the following:
- Technology planning efforts as organizational capacity building
- Off-the-shelf software acquisition, installation and integration (with the exception of electronic health records or other types of emerging software for which no underlying de facto or formal technical or data standards exist) where the business case clearly shows that purchase makes more economic sense than "renting" through an application service provider (ASP).
- Basic infrastructure such as desktop and laptop computers, servers, routers, hubs, peripherals, and in special business process-related circumstances only, enterprise roll outs of mobile computing devices (e.g., smart phones, pocket pc)
- Operating system and desktop productivity software
- Telephone system (with the exception of VoIP, see below)
- Multifunction enterprise copier, fax, scan units
The Foundation does not support the following:
- Custom software development projects
- Web site development or enhancements
- Wireless network acquisition or implementations
- Voice over IP (VoIP) acquisition or implementations
- Ongoing operating costs such as service contracts, annual software maintenance fees, or extended warranties.
Note: Because the Foundation expects applicant organizations to "own" its technology including replacement, the Foundation is not generally inclined to support applications that request support for replacement of project components it has previously funded. Should it fund infrastructure a second time, the Foundation expects the applicant to invest the proceeds of its board designated replacement fund to support the large majority of the project.
Applicants may apply for the following types of projects:
- Tier 2 ($25,000 or less) Planning: view instructions
- Tier 1 ($25,000 or less) Infrastructure: view instructions
- Tier 2 ($25,001 or more) Infrastructure: view instructions
Helpful tips for technology application success
- The applicant organization has a current business plan that clearly articulates its business model and identifies its core business processes.
- The applicant organization has created a proactive and defined technology governance structure that includes both staff and board participation.
- The applicant organization has a strategic technology and implementation plans(with associated timeline) that directly support its business plan and business model.
- The components of the proposed project described in the application are logically derived through a documented and submitted business requirements planning process that clearly identifies "needs" versus "wants".
- The applicant organization demonstrates a commitment (through dedicated funding) to proactive maintenance of its current environment (either through demonstrably qualified in house or partner staff) and responsible disposal of aged equipment.
- The applicant organization submits a detailed plan for the proposed project and resume of the project manager.
- The applicant organization has researched and obtained nonprofit pricing.
- The applicant organization acknowledges that it accepts the total cost of ownership, demonstrated by systematic investment in a board designated replacement fund for technology that has outlived its useful life.
Technology strategy and plan: A technology strategy articulates from a business perspective why the organization needs technology and what it hopes to accomplish with it. It is "the process of determining how an organization can best use technology to further its mission." A technology plan spells out the details of making the strategy happen and involves assessing existing resources, defining needs, and exploring solutions. A written technology plan outlines the phases of technology development, and can also be used as a key tool to advocate for funding.