Leverage infrastructure grant programs

By Teddie Linder, business manager, Netlink, Inc
The largest companies in the world are invested in good corporate citizenship. As a nonprofit leader staying up to date on these opportunities could enhance the resources you have available.
One area in particular has options you may want to investigate: technology infrastructure. This phrase simply means the common area where your files, database and company information is stored. Large (or even medium) organizations have a LOT of information that many people have to work with and access regularly. They need to be in a shared area like a server. Premise servers (the big box in the back closet) now cost at a minimum $10,000 and sometimes grow to $18,000 – $22,000 by the time everything is said and done. Finding the funds for this capital expense every 5 to 7 years can be difficult.
These days, many organizations and companies are going to “the cloud.” Clouds are simply large datacenters run by companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
The advantage of utilizing these services means being able to afford the storage and convenience of a server, but paying a monthly fee (operational expense) rather than outputting funds for a large hardware purchase (capital expense).
Then there’s this: the two largest companies in this arena – Amazon and Microsoft – have strong nonprofit programs and are heavily invested in good corporate citizenship. Their programs include grant credits that offset the costs of paying the monthly service fees.
These grants are not difficult to obtain. Depending upon the usage, a grant could cover several months of fees or most of the year.

Amazon web-services grant
Amazon Web Services offers nonprofits a $2000 annual grant that can be used toward AWS services. Depending upon your organization’s needs, this grant could cover several months of payments. One of Netlink’s clients was able to offset an entire quarter. This grant requires you to be a member of Tech Soup and to pay a $175 administrative fee.
Microsoft Azure grant
Microsoft offers nonprofit organizations $5,000 in grant credits toward usage fees. This grant is requested directly from Microsoft and covers all usage fees. A small- to medium-organization may have a monthly fee of $300 to $400. Even at the top end of that range, that pays the usage for the year.

Cloud management is also important!
Which one is best and should you go after the larger grant? That really depends on your organization’s needs, and it’s important to get expert guidance in this area. Infrastructure in tech is just as important as it is in your building. You rely on your technology infrastructure to keep your organization’s digital assets safe.
Your technical experts should be part of your team to make decisions that keep your technology up to date. Look for programs for NFP’s in technology, and let your team know about them to save funds and have a strong technology base.

Posted in: Tech Tips for Business Owners

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