I just finished my session on ROI as part of the Online Nonprofit Technology Conference - a two-day virtual conference.
I presented on ROI and Nonprofit Technology. My presentation is based on Chapter 3 of NTEN's book. The chapter includes detailed checklists, case studies, and how-to steps for analyzing ROI for nonprofit technology projects.
I'm started with a very brief primer on ROI which provided a basic overview of the concepts. But the real learning came from a couple of ROI cliff hangers that I've created. Participants applied what they've learned the presentation and their own experience by the interactive features of the Webinar software to suggest ways to resolve a common ROI problem that nonprofits typically face.
The inspiration was Perils of Pauline where each installment ended with Pauline placed in a situation that looked sure to result in her imminent death but was able to escape at the beginning of the next installment. I've created a couple of scenarios where IT staffers Paul or Pauline are faced with a typical ROI challenge.
The three scenarios included:
Episode #1; Fondle the Hammer Syndrome.
His executive director wants to purchase Iphones for all staff. Paul has to use ROI techniques to help the organization make the best decision.
I was really surprised that this situation resonated - one would think that with the economy - shiny object syndrome would die a hard death. But several participants mentioned they had just dealt with that problem.
Episode #2: Lost in Translation
Peter and everyone staff has 12 monitors and have to do a lot of work that requires scrolling. Everyone is frustrated. Peter, the techie, writes a twenty page report to his executive director extolling the features of large screen monitors. His boss says, "Why should we buy new monitors, our current monitors work just fine." How can we help Peter use ROI to get new monitors?
Episode #3: No Buy-In
Pauline works for an organization that is using all manual systems - with an overtaxed copy machine - work grounds to a halt because important procedures/documents are hopelessly out of date. Pauline specs out an intranet by herself and her boss says, "for that money we could hire a staff person." How can we help Pauline and her organization reduce their frustration and get work done using ROI to find the right technology solution?"
If you want a good laugh, watch this one-minute clip of Perils of Pauline movie.