How Managed IT Fixes Growth Problems (Nonprofit Case Study)

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December 9, 2021

Two hundred school-age children and forty seniors rely on best-in-class IT.
Agape Youth and Family Center has a bold mission: to empower and support underserved families within its community to discover, embrace, and achieve their full potential.
This is fulfilled by providing academic support and family services focusing on character development, academic achievement, reading proficiency by third grade, successful high school graduation, and post-graduation placement.

Two Major Challenges and a Dream

When Agape Youth and Family Center was introduced to Integris in 2017, they were facing two significant challenges: an upcoming move to an all-new $6M facility and the need to get a dedicated IT provider.
At the time, they were subleasing space from a larger nonprofit, sharing their phone system, and getting ad hoc IT support from that organization’s MSP. Agape also utilized a break-fix resource from time to time.
The pressure was on to make a smooth transition within six months without any gaps in the provision of their various services:

  • In-School and After-school for Elementary and Middle School Students
  • ESOL for Spanish Speaking Students
  • The Ginger Kaney Mentoring Institute for High School Students
  • Ragtime, A Day Program for Seniors and Adults with Disabilities
  • Emergency Assistance for Families
  • GOGIRLGO! and FIT Camp for Boys, Athletic, Health, and Wellness based Summer Camp
  • Reading Readiness – a summer early reading / STEM program for rising kindergarten, first, and second graders
  • The Great Backpack Giveaway serves 2,000+ children annually
  • Extreme Bedroom Makeover – new bedrooms for 170 children and counting!
  • Holiday Gift Programs serving 500+ children each year

While the design, construction, and build-out of their new 35,000 square-foot facility were in full swing with several vendors and an experienced leadership team, Agape’s IT plan was a blank page.
And a detailed blueprint was needed in short order to meet the organization’s goal of serving up to 500 children over the next ten years.
Learn More: The Agape Mission

Strategy, Planning, Project Management, and Execution

The IT piece was created in multiple stages with a wide variety of stakeholders, most of whom were non-technical.
The executive director of this nonprofit was also new to managed IT services, so job number one was presenting premium outsourced IT management as a strategic lever for growth.
Once this big picture proposition was vetted and approved by everyone on the executive committee, Integris implemented a variety of initiatives:

  • Developed a Strategic IT Roadmap and budget to monitor, manage, support, and secure all Agape IT systems and users for a fixed and predictable monthly fee
  • Created a project plan and budget for the timely roll-out of all IT infrastructure to coincide with the client’s occupation of the new facility
  • Provided guidance, procurement assistance, coordination, and technical oversight of telecom vendors, ISPs, cabling and wiring contractors, audiovisual/conference room and classroom solution providers, furniture vendors, building security, alarm companies, and more

Most importantly, Integris took the client live without disruptions to their ability to serve vulnerable populations. Considering the nature and sensitivity of Agape’s work, there’s no margin for error.
Here’s why: Agape provides a supervised, safe haven in the after-school programs at a time of day when teen crime and teen pregnancy spike among unsupervised youths.
Monday through Friday, between 3 pm and 6 pm, is when teen crime and teen pregnancy spike among unsupervised youth. This is a very narrow window.
Thankfully, Agape’s programs start well before 2 pm each day, with academic support staff embedded in each school we serve.
The stakes couldn’t be higher, and smooth and secure IT systems aren’t a luxury. They’re a necessity.
Learn More: Nonprofit MSP Support Examples

Managed IT Services and Ongoing Strategic Guidance

Over the past few years, a lot has happened as Agape (like all Integris clients) has been guided on a journey informed by following a proven IT process based on strategy, standards, and best practices.
We continue to meet quarterly and annually for planning sessions with their internal, external stakeholders and partners to understand their goals clearly.
These sessions with the client’s “IT Steering Committee” allow us to understand Agape’s budget, new challenges and determine which initiatives are most appropriate right now or down the road.
Learn More: IT Steering Committee
As Agape consistently serves more families and adds staff members, older computers have been replaced, Microsoft 365 licenses have been upgraded (and enhanced with new cybersecurity features).
We’ve also conducted regular cybersecurity awareness training and recently recommended they adopt more advanced and automated solutions like KnowBe4.
While Integris handles procurement and everyday tactical support (what MSP doesn’t?), the relationship is primarily driven by a consulting mindset. We’re a business partner using technology to solve business problems.
Learn More: What is IT Consulting?

What’s Next?

We believe all IT solutions should be clearly articulated, strategy-specific, budget-based, attainable, and designed for flexibility and growth.
In other words, designed to serve the mission of the client!
Agape switched out of survival mode into thinking and operating more strategically with a host of notable results:

  • Expanded service capabilities and reach
  • Better management of volunteers and donors
  • Higher-performing and streamlined technology systems
  • More effective data security
  • Predictable IT expenditures
  • Ongoing IT consulting

Are you getting results like this from your provider? You should be!

Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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