Meet the newest members of Team NLC

Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Comunications News, Stories

We’re absolutely thrilled to announce the addition of two members to Team NLC and give you a brief introduction to our newest staff here.

Joining us as Director of Strategic Solutions is John Loblack, Ed.D..

John serves the very important function of overseeing our custom solutions division, which offers nonprofits the individualized attention and services they require and deserve, as well as delivering training in our classroom–and offsite!

John is no stranger to NLC or our nonprofit leaders; he’s been an NLC trainer since 2015 and has facilitated breakout sessions at our Leadership Conference in 2017 and 2018.

Of is work with us, John says, “Nothing gives me more joy than helping others grow into their full potential, while helping their organizations fulfill its mission.”

He is a passionate and lifelong learner: As a graduate from the school of “Hard Knocks,” he learned to appreciate the value of hard work and perseverance. And with his single mother as the “principal,” he understood at an early age that a sound education would be his ticket to a meaningful life.

John has served as an elementary school, middle school and high school teacher, a career college instructor, a university campus dean, and a learning and development specialist. John holds a doctoral degree in organizational leadership, a master’s degree in human resource management, an undergraduate degree in sociology, and a diploma in mass communication.

When John shares with his audience, he marries the lessons from academia and from his professional experiences with those he learned on the streets of the small Caribbean Island, Dominica.

You can read John’s bio here and find out a bit more about him from a short Q&A here.

 


Andrew Rametta
is NLC’s first-ever Fellow in Fund Development. Andrew’s position is a learning-while-doing role that we have designed to prepare him to take up a full-time role in any nonprofit after his one-year fellowship with us ends. (If you want to learn more about how our Fellowship came to be, check out this blog post.)

Andrew is a Tampa native–and newlywed!–with a heart for people and service. “When I’m not working, you can find me with people,” he says. “I’m an extreme extrovert and people are my passion. I am also an only child so the friendships I have are like family to me.”

Andrew holds a Masters of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary and finished a two-year residency at Palma Ceia Presbyterian Church in 2018.

Of his new role with NLC, Andrew says, “I’m excited to take this opportunity to soak up all the knowledge and experience that I am about to receive as I start this yearlong journey. I’m looking forward to all the classes that I will be able to attend at NLC and to building relationships with the people of the Tampa Bay nonprofit community–and to hearing all the stories and lessons that this community has to share.”

Lean more about Andrew from a short Q&A here.

Tapping the Fundraising Potential of Your Board

Guest post by Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE News, Stories

There are lots of reasons why people don’t give to charity, but the number one reason is simply because they haven’t been asked. And there’s no more effective asker than a passionate, committed Board member.

After twenty-five years of raising money for a variety of organizations, including many years as a fundraising consultant, here’s what I know with certainty: the success of an organization’s fundraising program rarely eclipses the capacity of its board of directors.  That’s why it’s important to tap their potential as vital members of the fundraising team.

Board members are volunteer advocates whose passion and credibility resonates with donors in a way that is different from paid staff.  There is nothing more effective than a knowledgeable, committed board member and a professional staff member teaming up to ask someone to give. I refer to this as the “dynamic duo” of fundraising success.

For many volunteer board members, and sometimes staff, the fear of rejection is a powerful deterrent to participating in the fundraising process. As a result, board members (and sometimes staff) may focus on indirect ways of raising money such as recruiting teams for a golf tournament, selling tickets to a gala, and sending emails – anything to avoid asking someone face to face for an outright gift.

That’s because they forget one important thing: fundraising isn’t about money. Fundraising is about helping to connect a donor’s goals and interests with the mission of the organization. It’s about giving someone an opportunity to invest in the important work being done by the nonprofit.

As James Gregory Lord, author of The Raising of Money says, “Money is not given, it has to be raised. Money is not offered, it has to be asked for. Money does not come in, it has to be gone after.”Here are a few suggestions to help tap the fundraising potential of your Board:

 (1) Secure 100% Board giving
Asking begins with giving. Which is why each board member should be asked to make their own personal gift.  Too often this is done at a board meeting in the form of a blanket ask. Instead, board members should be treated like any other prospective donor and asked to give, preferably by a fellow board member, based on their individual ability and interest in the organization. By doing so, each board member experiences an ask from the donor’s point of view which is a great introduction to the asking process. Many prospective donors will expect the asker to have already given which is why making a personal financial before asking others is so important.

Some nonprofit Boards require every board member to give a specific amount. While this can be effective for some organizations, I prefer asking everyone to give at a level that’s meaningful to them.

(2) Demystify fundraising
Board members may think of fundraising as begging or arm twisting. They focus on the ask itself and not on the process of engaging people who are interested in the mission.  Helping board members learn the art and science of fundraising can demystify the process and help board members see themselves as a vital part of the effort.

(3) Educate Board members about fundraising
Board members may be well-intentioned about fundraising but have no idea how to ask someone for a gift. To be successful, they need coaching, on-going education and support. This includes being familiar with thecase the support, cost of services, and how a requested gift will be spent. Prospective donors can tell when a volunteer is flying by the seat of their pants rather than being invested in the organization and outcome of the request.

Be sure fundraising is part of a quality orientation program for new Board members. Throughout the year, utilize board meetings to provide on-going education about fundraising. One way to do this is to share stories and real-life examples of how the organization is making a difference in the lives of people being served. Asking board members to share their successful stories of asking for and receiving a gift can be a helpful tool. Role plays, and hands-on activities can also help board members overcome their fear of asking.

 (4) Set up Board members for Success
When board members are new to the fundraising process, it’s a good idea to help them experience success from the start. Whenever possible, try to schedule their first visit to ask for a gift when it’s likely the donor is going to say yes. The size of the gift is not as important as the commitment to give. I’ve seen this strategy work many times. The confidence gained from getting a “yes” can give new or reluctant board members the confidence they need to ask with greater confidence and to do so more frequently.

(5) Involve Board members in stewardship activities
The person most likely to give is someone who has already given. Thanking donors in thoughtful, personal ways is not only the right thing to do, it’s the first step in earning the right to ask again. Thanking donors and stewarding these relationships  is an ideal opportunity to involve board members in fundraising. Writing thank you notes and making calls and visits with givers are great ways for them to hear directly from donors about why they give and build their confidence in asking others.

(6) Include Board members in the organization’s successes
It’s a good idea to visibly involve board members when the organization is being publicly recognized. By doing so, board members hear directly from the public and grateful recipients about the positive impact of the mission. These activities build their pride in the organization and help to strengthen their personal commitment.

(7) Be an Ambassador
Board members can be the organization’s best ambassadors. Encourage them to seek out opportunities within their sphere of influence to tell their story about the organization and why they serve. Civic clubs, community and faith-based groups, and local and regional business associations are ideal opportunities to spread the word. Sharing their story about the mission can help them open the doors to future donors.

(8) Cultivate, cultivate, cultivate.
The goal of any fundraising program is to develop givers, not just get gifts. Building long-term relationships is key to a robust, sustainable fundraising program. Board members play a vital role in this process and should be actively engaged in educating, cultivating and engaging current and possible donors in the work of the organization. People need to be inspired to be good, regular donors. That means board members are in the inspiration business.

 

Use these tips to help leadership volunteers understand and participate in the fundraising process. Then watch your fundraising goal be met and exceeded!


 

 

Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE, President of Stansbury Consulting, is a 25+ year fundraising and nonprofit veteran, consultant, speaker and co-author of a weekly column called “Notes on Nonprofits.” She has helped countless boards improve fundraising results.

 

Three Steps to Working With Your Board to Advance Advocacy

Guest post by Laurel O'Sullivan, BoardSource News, Stories

Republished with the permission of BoardSource, the recognized leader in nonprofit board leadership.

 

BoardSource encourages all nonprofit board members to advocate for their organization’s mission. The following success story comes to us from Jewish Family Services of San Diego (JFSS).

Step One: Persuade the Board to Adopt Advocacy as a Priority

JFSS is a multi-service nonprofit with a budget of $17 million and a mission to empower people of all ages and faiths to reach their goals and build better lives. In 2013, its new CEO, Michael Hopkins, was concerned by its growing proliferation of programs.

“We had lost our sense of mission. We followed the money rather than impact,” he said. “It was impossible for us to talk about so many programs with any sense of coherency. We were an orchestra playing 50 instruments, with no clear sense of what kind of music we wanted to play.”

Over the next year, Michael and his staff had multiple conversations about raising JFSS’ visibility in the community and set a goal of deepening impact in a few key areas including hunger and workforce development. JFSS already played a leadership role in convening the Hunger Network that distributed food to the military and was interested in creating systemic solutions.

“We began to ask the question why were people falling into the river in the first place, rather than how many and for how long can we keep pulling them out,” Michael said.

[Learn about BoardSource’s Stand for Your Mission board advocacy initiative and read more success stories like this.]

Michael’s next task was to strengthen JFSS’ relationships with local elected officials. He also began searching for a model to guide the possible expansion of its advocacy. He met with some peers in Los Angeles and San Francisco to learn more about how their robust advocacy programs were structured.

Michael also knew he needed to engage his board early — he needed time to first educate and then motivate the members to approve the resources needed to support JFSS’ growing advocacy presence. His efforts were aided by his ability to attract a new board member who would go on to become the chair and champion board advocacy.

In the early years, the conversations at the board level were basic and focused on understanding the legal rules. But after several months of education, the vast majority of the board was supportive of, and even excited by, the proposed advocacy work. The members finally understood that high-impact organizations do both service and advocacy. This early education process paved the way for staff to engage the board in a strategic planning process with advocacy as one of the key strategies.­ ­­­

Today, JFSS feels secure about the evolution of its advocacy work because it took the time to establish a solid foundation of understanding.

“It really reflects that when people join the board, they opt into the culture of the organization,” said Shana Hazan, JFSS’ Chief Philanthropy Officer (CPO). “Our members tend to be progressive and the larger policy issues reflect that.”

Step Two: Solidify Support by Demonstrating Impact

Today, advocacy is integrated across the organization and is a deeply ingrained part of the JFSS culture. A full time public affairs manager staffs the public affairs committee and reports to the CPO. More broadly, all senior staff are considered to be part of the team.

The public affairs committee of the board meets six times a year and reports to the board twice a year. Every spring, the board approves the legislative and policy agenda (with specific bill and budget requests), based on the recommendation of the public affairs committee. Board members are also invited to join staff, the CEO, and committee members for an annual advocacy day at the state capital in May. In the fall, members receive an update on the status of the legislative agenda, along with a summary of how various public agency budget appropriations improve or detract from JFSS’ programs.

Today, JFSS’ advocacy work has significantly strengthened the organization in very tangible ways. In 2016, JFSS was named nonprofit of the year for San Diego County, and since making the decision in 2014 to prioritize policy work, JFSS has successfully secured substantially more than $1 million in public grants.

“Advocacy is a significant part of any kind of nonprofit PR strategy,” Michael said. “It has helped strengthen our brand tremendously, and frankly, it’s more cost effective than hiring a PR firm.”

Step Three: Sustain Support Through a Strategic Approach

Given its limited advocacy resources, JFSS is strategic about where it spends its time. “One of the things that has allowed us to be successful is that we aren’t trying to do everything,” Shana said. “We identify a few issues we are best positioned on, and in everything we do, impact is our driver.”

Rather than “getting involved in big broad campaigns that may not actually move the needle but make people feel good,” staff focuses on influencing relevant legislation and meeting with elected and administrative officials to educate them on JFSS’ policy priorities and agenda. Its government relations work includes courting candidates and getting on their radar before they get into office. Finally, JFSS prioritizes civically engaging the Jewish community with candidates’ forums and a Jewish advocacy fellowship program to train cohorts of next generation leaders. 

The final factor to JFSS’ success has been its proactive mindset. The staff has identified the ability to engage directly with its clients in advocacy work as a next level priority, which requires hiring another staff person with a very different skill set.

When he thinks about future advocacy efforts, Michael is optimistic about the possibilities, “Our job as staff is to help make the case to the board that advocacy drives impact, and show the members the evidence, and hopefully the resources will follow. But it takes intention and the ability to be patient and follow a process.”

Find the Reverse Leaders in Your Midst

Scott Edinger, Edinger Consulting Group Uncategorized

In the spirit of reverse innovation, and reverse mentoring, I submit to you that the next trend to watch out for in leadership is, you guessed it — reverse leadership.

You’ve likely seen reverse leadership in action. It happens when someone not in a formal leadership role demonstrates great leadership ability: when a field service agent steps up with a solution to a persistent problem, for example; when a customer service rep inspires her colleagues through her exemplary customer-centric behavior. When someone on an account team improves dramatically after being constructively coached by a fellow team member.

Reverse leadership doesn’t replace regular leadership. Nor is it a sign that the official leaders in an organization are doing a bad job. Quite the contrary. Rarely does strong leadership ability show up at lower levels in the hierarchy if senior leaders aren’t very effective in their roles.

Some reverse leaders are people quite content to remain individual contributors, like the scientist who has no interest in managing a team but cares deeply about the company’s mission. Others are young employees just approaching or on the first rungs of the formal leadership track. Still others have some leadership abilities but lack some vital element of leadership, like the sales professional who excels in creating strategy but doesn’t yet have the skills needed to manage a sales team.

In my work with focus groups, interviews with leaders, and reviews of frontline employees’ performance appraisals, I’m seeing more and more of these reverse leaders. But I’m not seeing many organizations able to recognize them — or cultivate their talents to gain a competitive advantage. What are the characteristics you should be looking for to spot your reverse leaders?

  • They’re the ones with strong interpersonal skills born of self-awareness. Reverse leaders lead through influence, not authority, and they gain that influence by making strong interpersonal connections. To do that they must be self-aware enough to understand the effect their words and actions have on other people. As more and more knowledge work requires people to work effectively with peers, the example of the way these people treat their team members becomes increasingly important to organizational effectiveness for all leaders, formal and informal.
  • They focus more on results than on process. Anyone can follow the process, as the old saying goes, but it takes leadership to know when to break from it. Reverse leaders don’t break rules simply to be rebellious. They break them because they’re focused on the outcomes rather than the process for producing outcomes. In this regard, reverse leaders can be particularly helpful to savvy leaders in formal positions who are wise enough to encourage their reverse leaders to point out when means are being prioritized over ends — and then to listen to them when they suggest ways to address the issue.
  • They exhibit particularly high degrees of integrity. To lead by example requires integrity of character. People who have a choice would rather follow those who say the same thing up the chain as they do with their peers, those who are consistent in their approach in dealing with problems in different circumstances. While this is essential to reverse leaders, it’s an important model for all leaders, regardless of where their authority comes from.
  • They have deep professional expertise in at least one discipline vital to the organization. Whether that deep knowledge is in sales, products, finance, technology, or some area that creates important value for the organization, reverse leaders need to have a specialty. This expertise serves as a source for their authority, giving them the credibility to be taken seriously when they highlight unrecognized problems or propose unanticipated solutions.
  • They maintain an unswerving customer focus. Maintaining a focus on the customer is one way to lead by positive example, and an advantage reverse leaders may have over formal leaders, since they tend to be found further down the organization and by extension closer to the customer. Reverse leaders can be the exemplars of customer-focused behaviors in ways that leaders in formal roles — with their broader responsibilities — can’t. And such focus can have tremendous value to any organization, if properly recognized and encouraged.

Some of these reverse leaders will move up the ladder and progress, as we would expect. Others will need to wait until they develop additional skills. And others will be content to contribute right where they are. But organizations that can recognize them, cultivate them, and learn from their example will be a step ahead of those competitors that don’t and instead squander the services of the unrecognized talent in their midst.

Shared with permission by Scott Edinger.  Originally published on HBR.com.  Scott Edinger is the founder of Edinger Consulting Group. He is an expert in helping organizations achieve measurable business results. Scott is a consultant, author, speaker and executive coach who has worked with some of the most prominent organizations in the world including AT&T, Harvard Business Publishing, Bank of America, Lenovo, Gannett and The Los Angeles Times.  Connect with Scott at www.Twitter.com/ScottKEdinger.

 

Other Articles You Might Like:

Public Speaking & Storytelling to Increase Your Nonprofit’s Visibility

Ashley Pero Resources

Our 5 Articles series features articles covering subjects relevant to nonprofit success, leadership, marketing, human resources, communications, social media, finance and governance. With so much out there to take in, we want to share five that we don’t think you should miss. Today, we’re talking about public speaking and storytelling for nonprofits. Here’s where to start:

Why Nonprofits Need to Be Storytellers by Andy Goodman
Stories can shape people; they can inspire them to think and act differently.  They are what connects people to your cause.

6 Tips for Building a Culture of Storytelling at Your Nonprofit by Amanda Hirsch
Great, easy to implement tips for making storytelling a part of your organization’s culture.

Want to be a Better Public Speaker?  Do What the Pros Do. by Susan Tardanico
Being an effective presenter is a critical leadership skill.  Don’t leave your speaking success to chance, take some cues from the pros.

Ten Ways to Build Your Nonprofit’s Public Speaking Capacity by The Nonprofit Lede
Don’t overlook the core capacity of public speaking at your nonprofit.

Audiovisual Presentations Made Easy(-ier): Tips for Creating an Effective PowerPoint, Prezi, or Keynote by Writing Commons
A great overview with helpful tips.

A Wise Man Once Said

Ashley Pero News, Stories

Sometimes when things get to be a little too much and I need a break, I take out one of my favorite desk books – The World According to Mister Rogers, Important Things to Remember. Growing up I spent many mornings with Mr. Rogers and his comfortable shoes. As I have gotten older I truly realize what a remarkable and wise man that Fred Rogers was in his normal everyday life. The ideas that he shares transcend age and status. Won’t you be my “neighbor” as I share some of my favorite quotes from the book…

“Some days, doing ‘the best we can’ may still fall short of what we would like to be able to do, but life isn’t perfect – on any front – and doing what we can with what we have is the most we should expect of ourselves or anyone else.”

“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.”

“The thing I remember best about successful people I’ve met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they’re doing… and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they’re doing, and they love it in front of others.”

“Little by little we human beings are confronted with situations that give us more and more clues that we aren’t perfect.”

“The gifts we treasure most over the years are often small and simple. In easy times and in tough times, what seems to matter most is the way we show those nearest us that we’ve been listening to their needs, to their joys, and to their challenges.”

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”

“A young apprentice applied to a master carpenter for a job. The older man asked him, ‘Do you know your trade?’ ‘Yes, sir!’ the young man replied proudly. ‘Have you ever made a mistake?’ the older man inquired. ‘No, sir!’ the young man answered, feeling certain he would get the job. ‘Then there’s no way I’m going to hire you,’ said the master carpenter, ‘because when you make one, you won’t know how to fix it.’”

Do you have a go-to book for when your plate is a bit too full? A quote that you really love that is sure to give you a pick-me-up? When’s the last time you pulled it out? Did it help?

Major Gifts Gives You the Highest Fundraising ROI

Ashley Pero News

The 5 Articles series features articles covering subjects relevant to nonprofit success, leadership, marketing, human resources, communications, social media, finance and governance – articles we’d consider must reads. With so much out there to take in, we want to share five that we don’t think you should miss. Enjoy!

Today’s articles focus on major gifts. With the highest return on investment of all fundraising techniques, is your nonprofit paying enough attention to its major gifts program? 

Giving USA 2014 Annual Report on Philanthropy
Download the free Giving USA 2014 Report Highlights. The Giving USA 2014 report Highlights provides an overview of key 2013 data.

The Tortoise and The Hare: Aesop Had Major Gifts Officers In Mind by Yolanda Rahman
How can this children’s book help major gifts officers? Yolanda explains how it’s full of lessons.

Top 5 Reasons Why People Give by The NonProfit Times
The question that fundraisers have been trying to answer for years… why do people give?

5 Steps to Build a Major Gifts Program from the Ground Up by Gail Perry
Building a major gifts program isn’t easy, but done right it’s worth it. Also, check out this page full of great Gail Perry major gifts resources.

Five Steps for Winning Conversations With Donors by Cody Switzer
You have to make it personal with each donor. These tips will help you get ready for each conversation.


Have you read an article lately that should make the next list? Have an idea for the next series? Send it our way!

Gratitude, Happiness and Smiles, a.k.a Videos to Make Your Day Better

Ashley Pero Uncategorized

You know that website that you know you can go to if you need a little happiness in your day?  For me that is SoulPancake — specifically their YouTube channel.  In my words, SoulPancake is the place I go when I need a little pick-me-up.

In their words: “Our brain batter of artculturesciencephilosophyspirituality and humor is designed to open your mind, challenge your friends, and feel damn good.”

In honor of gratitude and joy–which are productivity boosters, as well–we’re thrilled to share this happiness resource with you, so enjoy!

Warning: You can easily lose large chunks of time by saying “oh, just one more.”  Please enjoy SoulPancake videos responsibly!

 

Volunteer Florida Grant Funding: $360,000 in Funding Available for Florida Nonprofits

Lorraine Faithful News

Volunteer Florida (VF) Announces $360,000 in Funding Available for Florida Nonprofits

“Volunteer Florida’s VGF program helps organizations to more effectively recruit, manage, support and retain skills-based volunteers. Skills-based volunteering is a strategic type of volunteerism that expands the impact of community organizations by engaging professionals from all industries, matching their experience, talents and education with the needs of nonprofits.

“VGF is open to public or private nonprofit organizations, including faith based and other community organizations; institutions of higher education; government entities within states or territories; labor organizations; partnerships and consortia; or Indian Tribes. The FY 2017-2018 VGF program is intended to build capacity that will result in sustainable skills-based volunteer programs. As such, organizations receiving VGF program funds for three (3) years are not eligible for FY 2018-2019 VGF funding.”

Questions? E-mail vgf@volunteerflorida.org

10 Tips to Keep Your Nonprofit’s Data Safe During Storm Season

Data-Tech Uncategorized

 It’s not too late to prepare for those pop-up storms that occur randomly at this time of year, often resulting in everything from wind damage to lightning fires. During this time of year the threat of fire, flood, severe storms, water damage from office sprinklers and even theft is very real.

One of the most valuable assets for any company is its data. Hardware and software can easily be replaced, but a company’s data cannot!

As a reminder, here are some simple things you should do to make sure your company is ready for any natural disaster.

  1. Have a written plan. As simple as it may sound, just thinking through in ADVANCE what needs to happen if your server has a meltdown or a natural disaster wipes out your office, will go a long way in getting it back fast. At a minimum, the plan should contain details on what disaster could happen and a step-by-step process of what to do, who should do it and how. Also include contact information for various providers and username and password information for various key web sites. Writing this plan will also allow you to think about what you need to budget for backup, maintenance and disaster recovery. If you can’t afford to have your network down for more than a few hours, then you need a plan that can get you back up and running within that time frame. You may want the ability to virtualize your server, allowing the office to run off of the virtualized server while the real server is repaired.  If you can afford to be down for a couple of days, there are cheaper solutions.  Once written, print out a copy and store it in a fireproof safe, an offsite copy (at your home) and a copy with your IT consultant.
  2. Hire a trusted professional to help you. Trying to recover your data after a disaster without professional help is business suicide; one misstep during the recovery process can result in forever losing your data or result in weeks of downtime. Make sure you work with someone who has experience in both setting up business contingency plans (so you have a good framework from which you CAN restore your network) and experience in data recovery.
  3. Have a communications plan. If something should happen where employees couldn’t access your office, e-mail or use the phones, how should they communicate with you? Make sure your plan includes this information including MULTIPLE communications methods.
  4. Automate your backups. If backing up your data depends on a human being doing something, it’s flawed. The #1 cause of data loss is human error (people not swapping out tapes properly, someone not setting up the backup to run properly, etc.). ALWAYS automate your backups so they run like clockwork.
  5. Have an offsite backup of your data. Always, always, always maintain a recent copy of your data off site, on a different server, or on a storage device. Onsite backups are good, but they won’t help you if they get stolen, flooded, burned or hacked along with your server.
  6. Have remote access and management of your network. Not only will this allow you and your staff to keep working if you can’t go into your office, but you’ll love the convenience it offers. Plus, your IT staff or an IT consultant should be able to access your network remotely in the event of an emergency or for routine maintenance. Make sure they can.
  7. Image your server. Having a copy of your data offsite is good, but keep in mind that all that information has to be RESTORED someplace to be of any use. If you don’t have all the software disks and licenses, it could take days to reinstate your applications (like Microsoft Office, your database, accounting software, etc.) even though your data may be readily available. Imaging your server is similar to making an exact replica; that replica can then be directly copied to another server saving an enormous amount of time and money in getting your network back. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your preferences, configurations or favorites.  To find out more about this type of backup, ask your IT professional.
  8. Network documentation. Network documentation is simply a blueprint of the software, data, systems and hardware you have in your company’s network. Your IT manager or IT consultant should put this together for you. This will make the job of restoring your network faster, easier AND cheaper. It also speeds up the process of everyday repairs on your network since the technicians don’t have to spend time figuring out where things are located and how they are configured. And finally, should disaster strike, you have documentation for insurance claims of exactly what you lost. Again, have your IT professional document this and keep a printed copy with your disaster recovery plan.
  9. Maintain Your System.  One of the most important ways to avoid disaster is by maintaining the security of your network. While fires, floods, theft and natural disasters are certainly a threat, you are much more likely to experience downtime and data loss due to a virus, worm or hacker attack. That’s why it’s critical to keep your network patched, secure and up-to-date. Additionally, monitor hardware for deterioration and software for corruption. This is another overlooked threat that can wipe you out. Make sure you replace or repair aging software or hardware to avoid this problem.
  10. Test, test, test! A study conducted in October 2007 by Forrester Research and the Disaster Recovery Journal found that 50 percent of companies test their disaster recovery plan just once a year, while 14 percent never test. If you are going to go through the trouble of setting up a plan, then at least hire an IT pro to run a test once a month to make sure your backups are working and your system is secure. After all, the worst time to test your parachute is AFTER you’ve jumped out of the plane.

Shared with permission by Data-Tech.  Originally published at http://www.datatechitp.com/disaster-planning-essentials-for-business-networks/#ixzz2v6vdsuHE.  Data-Tech provides cloud computing and managed IT services to local businesses. They offer discounted not-for-profit pricing and annual contributions to our partners programs.  Learn more at datatechitp.com.