IT Staff, Marketing and Leadership #13ntc

Imtiaz Haiyoom

Imtiaz Haiyoom

We met Imtiaz Haiyoom by accident our first night at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (#13NTC) in Minneapolis a few weeks ago. He was sitting approximately where we wanted to host a little meet and greet, so we basically commandeered his table and forced him join us.

He got a free drink out of the ordeal, but I think we got the better deal after hearing him talk about how nonprofit communications and marketing staff need to involve their IT departments earlier in the decisionmaking process – an idea that his boss, Keith Ackerman, the chief operations officer, and he, the IT director, both said has worked well for their nonprofit, CitySquare, which “feeds the hungry, heals the sick, houses the homeless and renews hope” in Dallas.

Imtiaz was originally just going to do a recap for us of his favorite session, but we thought his response deserved its own post once we realized his favorite session was the one Peter Campbell did, and we discussed Peter’s post in Mixed Links on April 26th.

During the session, Peter, the panel and attendees discussed what IT needs to do to get to the executive table in nonprofit organizations. According to Imtiaz, the panel was of the opinion that IT needs to be at the management level and needs to have a say in major decisions — an opinion Imtiaz and Keith agree with.

Here’s what Imtiaz says in his own words:

“I’ve been in the nonprofit world for more than 10 years, and in general, this is what IT is to a majority of staff: call the IT guys/gals to fix your computer and printer and that’s about it. We (IT) are still considered as someone who helps with buying and installing and troubleshooting computers and printers and anything that has an on/off switch. Very few managers or directors consider IT to be an integral part of a organization’s road map.

We need and want to be aligning ourselves with the mission of the org and to help it do the good work that needs to be done more efficiently.

IT seems to be the last people who are thought of when a program is launched. Why are we not brought in from the beginning so we can ask questions that others aren’t thinking of? We are brought to the table towards the end, and then when we start asking questions, we are oftentimes viewed as troublemakers. We then have to spend more time and effort  than if we had been there from the beginning.

I’ve been lucky to have a boss who has included me in his projects right from the beginning, but that’s not always the case with other program directors. Yes, they are thinking of the clients and how best to help them, but they are not thinking of how technology could help them even more. IT needs to be more aggressive in finding out what’s going on within the org and getting ourselves to the table and having our voices heard. It’s a tough job, but the rewards are great!”

Keith Ackerman

Keith Ackerman

Imtiaz works in IT now, but has a communications background. We asked Keith how having the IT department — and especially someone who understands communications — involved at the upper level of strategic planning has helped CitySquare:

“Having Imtiaz as a member of our Executive Leadership has proven to be a game changer for us as a nonprofit organization. When issues and/or needs are identified, he has assisted by coming in from a different analytical angle to identify solutions, which often times has resulted in improved process efficiency. In addition, having him involved from Day 1 of a new endeavor has become an absolute necessity to ensure that IT functions and systems are included in strategic planning, which ensures that we are maximizing all of our resources and processes. In the past, when Imtiaz was not part of Executive Leadership decisions, we found ourselves having to make system corrections later that cost time and money. His contributions have definitely moved us into being on the leading edge of technology users in our market sector and that has contributed significantly to our organizational impact on the community we serve.”

If you are wondering what any of this has to do with nonprofit marketing and fundraising, you aren’t thinking hard enough. It has everything to do with nonprofit marketing and fundraising. Granted, not all IT directors have a communications background like Imtiaz, but if, like most nonprofit staff, your IT staff are there because they want to help change the world, what can you do as a communications or development director to empower them?

How does your organization view the IT staff? Are they simply there to help when your computer or printer is broken? Or are you working with them closely  to evaluate the best technology choices and to make decisions to support your marketing and fundraising goals?

Can you bring IT in earlier to your decisionmaking and strategic planning processes? Can you talk about not just implementing your communications strategy, but how they can help you create it?

Let’s hear your stories — good, bad, or otherwise — about how communications and IT staff can work together at the leadership level to make decisions for your nonprofit. 

© 2007-2017, Nonprofit Marketing Guide. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Post On
  • Thanks for the callouts, Kivi! Like Imtiaz, I’m pleased to be working for an org now that gets it — I report to the CEO and I’m at the management table. Since my org is quasi-Federal (we are a 501(c)(3) that is federally created/funded to allocate federal funds to legal aid programs), we have a small communications department and the webmaster reports to me. So I’m in both areas here, as I have been for most of my career, with one to-remain-unnamed exception. I’ve had experiences that are similar to what Imtiaz describes, like finding out that the communications department started a blog — on TypePad with lousy SEO — because nobody in the department (at that time, they got much better!) knew much about it, and nobody thought to speak with me, even though I’d been running the group blog at Idealware for over a year, and wrote regularly for three or four blogs at the time. Short story is that, while my job is primarily infrastructure, my knowledge of web and social media gives me a great perspective and skills that both make me better at what I do and a better resource for the org as a whole. It’s not about IT vs. Comm; it’s about having people collaborate and compliment each other’s strengths.

    • Let’s change the big world by changing our little nonprofit world first!

  • Pingback: Getting IT Invested in Your Cause()

  • Pingback: Mixed Links for Nonprofit Marketers and Fundraisers()

  • I just want to tell you that I am just new to blogging and site-building and really savored you’re page. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You amazingly come with outstanding posts. Thanks for revealing your web site.

  • Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this post is awesome, nice written and come with approximately all vital infos. I would like to peer more posts like this .

  • I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already 😉 Cheers!

  • hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise several technical points using this site, as I experienced to reload the website a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will often affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords. Well I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much more of your respective fascinating content. Ensure that you update this again soon..

  • Great tremendous issues here. I am very glad to look your article. Thanks so much and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  • Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

  • Pingback: Brian Lock Reviews()

  • I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re wonderful! Thanks!

  • I like looking through an article that will make people think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  • Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to create a superb article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and don’t manage to get nearly anything done.

  • Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!

  • I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  • I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  • I like reading a post that can make men and women think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  • Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

  • You are so cool! I do not suppose I have read through a single thing like this before. So nice to find someone with original thoughts on this issue. Seriously.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  • Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  • Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this amazing site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

  • I’m very happy to uncover this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely loved every little bit of it and I have you book-marked to see new information in your site.

  • Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude!

  • Right here is the perfect webpage for anybody who wants to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject that’s been discussed for ages. Excellent stuff, just great!

  • Good post. I absolutely love this site. Keep writing!

  • This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  • Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  • This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  • Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a great article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t manage to get anything done.

  • Hello, you used to write wonderful, but the last few posts have been kinda boring¡K I miss your great writings. Past several posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

  • An intriguing discussion is worth comment. There’s no doubt that that you need to publish more on this subject, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people don’t discuss such topics. To the next! All the best!!

  • Pingback: florida car insurance()

  • My wife and i ended up being thrilled Louis managed to finish up his analysis through the entire precious recommendations he was given from your very own web site. It’s not at all simplistic to simply find yourself giving for free concepts which often people may have been making money from. And now we take into account we need the blog owner to thank for that. The type of illustrations you have made, the straightforward blog navigation, the relationships your site make it possible to foster – it’s got all exceptional, and it’s really facilitating our son in addition to our family imagine that the idea is entertaining, which is certainly tremendously serious. Thanks for all the pieces!

  • Spot on with this write-up, I really believe that this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the advice!

  • You’re so awesome! I do not believe I’ve truly read through something like that before. So nice to find someone with a few unique thoughts on this subject. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that’s needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

  • I love reading through a post that will make people think. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  • Pingback: the cheapest car insurance in florida()

  • Very good blog post. I definitely appreciate this site. Stick with it!

  • May I simply say what a comfort to uncover an individual who truly understands what they are talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people should read this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular because you definitely possess the gift.