Break Down Communication and Technology Silos

Technology SiloNonprofits are made up of many moving parts that need to work together seamlessly for the organization to function efficiently and effectively.

However, when silos arise within organizations, a once well-oiled machine may unravel. Below, we outline two types of silos that nonprofits may experience, and tips for overcoming them.

Communication Silos 

Little can be accomplished when internal communication efforts are derailed. Siloed communications result in slow internal processes, confusion over responsibilities and unanswered questions throughout your nonprofit. To identify if your organization is suffering from them, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do you find out about projects after they are already in progress?
  • Do team and board members regularly miss deadlines?
  • Are goals and agenda items prioritized differently amongst team members?
  • Is information lost in transit?
  • Do you take time out of your day just to find files and organize information?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, your organization may suffer from communication silos. So, what can you do to combat them?

Start by looking for ways to bridge the communication gaps between internal departments, teams and stakeholders, and facilitate more productive conversations. Technology solutions can be a substantial asset in this process. Below are two examples: 

Grant Management Software

Features such as integrated calendars, reminders and delegation capabilities enhance communication throughout the grant management process. This leads to more timely turn around of materials, met deadlines and better efficiency.

Board Portal

Putting all board members on the same communication platform allows for everyone to be aware of information, activities and responsibilities. The better information is shared, the more engaged board members are.

Technology Silos

Technology silos are another challenge for many nonprofits. Disjointed systems lead to redundant administrative tasks, potential data discrepancies and inconsistent processes. When deciphering if technology silos are a concern for your organization, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does data and information need to be input into multiple systems?
  • Is it difficult to get a firm pulse on overall organizational effectiveness and financials?
  • Is the lack of integration between technologies creating more work for employees?
  • Do you ever wish that specific technologies could just “talk” to each other?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, silos likely exist in your organization’s technology infrastructure. To combat this, look for technology solutions with open APIs or built-in integrations, so that you can connect disparate systems together. While a developer is usually needed for initial set up, the investment is worthwhile.

Connected technologies enable information sharing between platforms, and remove administrative and reporting burdens from your staff.

As an example, our grant management software, AmpliFund, can successfully integrate with your donor database, financial system, human resource technology, etc. through its open API. This provides a 360-degree view of all the moving parts of the organization and how they interact together, thus giving you detailed insight into how money is flowing in and out of the organization for more effective management.

The disruptive and uncooperative nature of silos leaves organizations unproductive, inefficient and ineffective. Has your organization suffered from unattended to silos? What steps have you taken to alleviate them?

Image Source: Gabriel White via Flickr