Digital transformation is essential, even for non-profit organizations with cash

A non-profit organization in Kentucky reaches thousands of national customers in need thanks to a well-planned digital transformation.

Image: Derek Poore, TechRepublic

Digital transformation is no longer a choice for organizations that want to remain competitive. This can be a challenge for the non-profit sector because budgets are so thin. Yet the integration of technology in all sectors of an organization can help drive the mission of a non-profit organization and ensure that more customers are served.

Bluegrass legal aid plays a crucial role in Kentucky. The non-profit organization offers legal assistance to people with a low income, often vulnerable. Joshua Crabtree, executive director, said the organization’s legal assistance to needy customers is crucial. “These are the ones who will fall through the social safety net: we keep people together at home and in their families.”

SEE: Digital crafts: what it is, why your organization needs it and how CIOs can manage the costs (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The organization offers services to 33 provinces and more than 200,000 people. Without updated technology, legal aid lawyers cannot reach clients throughout the state. Only a few years ago the group realized that it had to do more and investing in technology was a necessity. “We had to restart the servers once a day,” Crabtree said. “The system was always so slow.”
The first priority was a revision of the servers and a slow migration to the cloud. After that hybrid installation was completed, the focus shifted to updating the firewall, wifi ports, switches, and more. “Portability for employees is so important,” Crabtree said. “Now they can work at home and telecommute in a planned way.”

One of the most important additions to the organization was a mobile office called Justice Bus. The van is equipped with everything that lawyers need to do their work on the road. Because of the technology investment, thousands of Kentuckians now receive rural services.

The organization has not gone through the digital transformation alone; with the help of NetGain Technologies, the plan to achieve a more cohesive, connected office structure was introduced. Robert Patterson of NetGain acts as the virtual CIO for legal aid and he assisted Crabtree and the others with legal assistance at every step. “Whether it is server storage, networking, cloud technologies, we tell them what industry standards are and how they can best integrate the technology that meets their needs,” Patterson said. “Over time, we bring them closer to all best practices.”

The entire digital transformation cost the organization about $ 750,000. Crabtree believes the changes have helped reach thousands of Kentuckians and has better positioned the group to move forward with the next generation of employees. “We are now hiring a lot more technically skilled employees, so it’s great to be able to meet the needs of our new employees.”

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