Back-office IT Guide

  • June 14, 2016

About this Guide

The opportunities for technology at NGOs have never been greater. All around us businesses are harnessing systems and information to increase productivity, make data-driven decisions, and run leaner operations. Greater sophistication in technology management means that organizations can take advantage of new trends such as cloud infrastructure at an ever-increasing pace, and deliver in minutes what once took significant capital investment and months of work. The mandate for NGOs is clear. 

While rarely cutting-edge technology pioneers, many large and small NGOs are considering employing a more business-style approach to enhance delivery of their social missions; a component of that approach is careful but consequential business investments into core back-office information and communications technology (ICT) systems. In this atmosphere of ever more accessible technology and expectations for what ICT can deliver, what are the best ways to capitalize on these opportunities?

This handbook intends to guide small- to medium-sized NGOs on how to build a strategy for, manage, and implement back-office ICT systems and services to match their organizational needs. The guide leverages the learning from large NGOs and private sector companies and adapts them to smaller and local non-profits, where the needs are abundant but technology skills and resources are not. With the aid of resources and references, organizations should be able to architect a successful foundation to enable forward-thinking technology.


This guide focuses on aiding small- to medium-sized humanitarian, relief and development organizations that want to introduce and use technology in their operations as a means to improve the efficiency, quality and the desired impact of their missions. It provides an overview of the role IT plays across core functional areas as well as insight from private companies and large international NGOs that have leveraged technology for their work and strategy. The guide outlines best practices for initiation, planning, implementation, ongoing maintenance of IT systems and incorporating future innovations.


The primary audiences for this guide are decision-makers and operations managers at small- to medium-sized organizations that want guidance on how to best incorporate technology and ICT services to enhance their operations and organizational strategy.

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