Reprinted with permission of onPhilanthropy (www.onphilanthropy.com) Copyright © Changing Our World, Inc. 2008. All rights reserved.
The nonprofit "accidental techie" phenomenon is not a new idea. Everyone has one in their office — the staff member who happens to know how to un-jam the printer becomes the go-to person for all manners of organizational and individual technology troubleshooting and repairs. Before he or she realizes what has happened, this person has become the office technology guru.
In challenging economic times, many nonprofits' reliance on the internal, "accidental techie" will remain a necessary strategy. As such, it may be time for the nonprofit community to turn the "accidental techie" concept on its ear and take renewed control of this resource. Flipping the idea that this role is a burden to one that the role is quite purposeful and absolutely vital opens doors to improved focus and effectiveness in meeting the nonprofit's occasional need for internal, immediate and efficient IT support. The time is right to recognize and encourage The Purposeful Techie.
While most Accidental Techies don't set out to become the unofficial technician of the workplace, some of these clever and committed individuals truly enjoy serving their organizations in this added capacity. After all, technology is no longer a luxury. Without a doubt, business today is married to it. Of course, creating a complete information technology department is not a viable option for an organization with only 20 people on the payroll. If technology enables the nonprofit to better deliver services and outsourcing it in part or in whole is not feasible, many passionate techies welcome moving the organization's mission further along with their "side job."
If power of suggestion counts for anything, a refreshing take on the concept "The Purposeful Techie" could drive unprecedented impact and progress for nonprofits everywhere. It starts with retraining organizations and the individuals in this position to think about the role as not that of a passive recipient, but of an organizational victor:
Taking control of the way we think of the accidental techie is the first step toward creating a more empowered and strategic support role within the nonprofit. It moves this important role from that of victim and martyr to an invaluable internal resource with a defined set of objectives.
Image: Computer setup, Shutterstock
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