Management and Leadership in Nonprofits


How much is your outdated IT equipment costing you?

Nov 04, 2019
By: Jeffrey Kueber

As a leader, you’re constantly juggling competing demands for your dollars. Where should you invest to keep your organization efficient and on track for growth? Spend on talent or programming? Advertising or web development? Facilities or software?

Under pressure to do more with less, some organizations choose to make do with aging hardware and computers. Unfortunately, your old IT equipment may be costing your organization more than you realize. 

Technology changes at such a fast pace, so leaders need to find the right balance to stay up to date without rushing to buy the latest and greatest every year. But as you consider your resource allocation, recognize that obsolete technology could be causing problems for you and those you serve.

Outdated technology = productivity declines

After a certain number of years, computers become outdated. As machines age, they get slower and slower. They might freeze more often or take longer to update, creating additional downtime. 

Older machines may also lack the processing speed and memory for new software releases. Employees on aging computers may struggle to use the latest efficiency tools you’ve put in place to keep them productive. 

A common example is when organizations upgrade their internet bandwidth when the network seems too slow. The internet service provider tells you they can upgrade your bandwidth to a faster speed line for the same or even a lower cost than you’re paying today.

Sounds like an easy win, right? Here’s the kicker: The organization’s network equipment (switches, routers, firewalls and wireless) are so old they cannot operate at the new internet speed. The outdated networking equipment becomes the bottleneck — no one in the organization is seeing the benefits of the upgraded internet speeds. 

At Wipfli, we’re on a four-year refresh cycle for most IT hardware, including employee computers. By replacing our machines according to a regular schedule, we save our employees (and our IT team) a lot of headaches. We can plan for a predictable technology spend while reducing downtime and emergency technology issues.

Recruitment and retention

Do you have employees who would rather work at home because their internet is faster, or their home equipment is more reliable? Aging technology can be a point of frustration for employees, leading to decreased job satisfaction and higher turnover. 

IT systems can play a big role in the hiring process, too. According to a study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 54% of U.S. business leaders say company technology plays a key role in whether applicants accept their job offers or not. Another 42% say outdated hardware hurts their ability to retain talent. 

Having grown up with ever-evolving technology as a huge part of their lives, younger generations expect their workplace to have current technology that enables them to do their work better and faster, and doesn’t slow them down. 

What do candidates see as they tour your offices? Do they see traditional desktops with a single monitor? Or do they see mobile-ready laptops with docking stations and dual screens? The latest technology can be eye candy to a prospect. 


Issues of productivity and employee engagement have a trickle-down effect on the satisfaction of those you serve and, thus, your nonprofit’s ability to stay competitive. Naturally, outdated technology makes it increasingly harder to keep up with similar nonprofits that are on top of IT trends.

But when tech issues make it difficult for an employee to do their job, that can have a direct impact on service. Slow processing speeds or inefficient software make it harder to provide a quality experience to your constituents, volunteers, donors and others who are key to your nonprofit’s success and longevity. 

In fact, according to one survey from Microsoft, 91% of people said they would consider going elsewhere to meet their needs if an organization had aging tech. 


Finally, outdated technology creates risk. Aging systems may no longer be supported by their manufacturers, meaning security patches aren’t available. Plus, hackers have simply had more time to find vulnerabilities in older systems. Backup and recovery options are more limited, too, meaning data loss could be imminent. 

Dated technology has one other key security flaw — employees will try to work around it. When employees are frustrated by slow hardware, they’re more likely to use their own devices at work. This could open your network to threats if employees aren’t keeping their own security systems current. 

How Wipfli can help 

Talk to Wipfli about your organization’s technology plan. We assist clients in identifying and implementing technology solutions, from research to delivery. 

Learn about our Technology Health Check to help you evaluate your technology needs and build a realistic, sustainable roadmap for the future. 


Jeffrey Kueber
Manager, Technology Consulting and Procurement
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