Calculating Your Organization’s Digital Dependence

Don’t believe that civil society rests upon digital infrastructure? Try this…

Imagine your server goes offline for a day and everything on it is lost. Now, calculate the cost of recovering that day. Include the time of your personnel, the consultants, and the marketing, public relations, and disaster communications firms. Calculate the opportunity costs of catching up to where you were. Now make it interesting and imagine the information wasn’t just lost, but stolen. Add in the costs of reputational damage and, possibly, real harm to your beneficiaries. Time lost toward mission. Hard costs of replacing software, hardware, servers, routers (and time to determine all of what you need). Now, double it, because you guessed too low.

If the cost calculation doesn’t convince you, try this. Take your work offline for a day. Use no email, internet, digital phones, printers, faxes, databases, grants management software, enterprise communications tools, spreadsheets, or social media. You may not be able to get on the bus or into your office buildings without using a digital ID card.

If you think I’m being melodramatic here, just check your local news for stories about ransomware. Chances are, you’ll find a story from your own community involving a local hospital or medical facility, most likely a nonprofit one. This isn’t future doomcasting. This is our present.

Convinced yet?

Takeaways are critical, bite-sized resources either excerpted from our guides or written by Candid Learning for Funders using the guide's research data or themes post-publication. Attribution is given if the takeaway is a quotation.

This takeaway was derived from Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017.