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IT help - free, discounted, donated

Not-for-profits can access discounted, donated or free software, hardware and training through not-for- profit technology "enabler" Connecting Up.

Australia's biggest not-for-profit software and hardware distributor helps more than 35,000 groups with digital technology and has a mission to distribute software and provide training at the lowest cost possible.

Connecting Up also works closely with Infoxchange to deliver training and advice to help groups make the most of that technology.

Connecting Up links with vendors including Microsoft to provide recent technology at the best price, and its stable of products ranges from Microsoft Office 365 to Adobe Creative Cloud to Cisco systems, and even to refurbished computers and mobile phones.

Resources available for free - nix! - to eligible not-for-profits via Connecting Up include other Microsoft business software and Google AdWords grants worth up to $10,000 a month.

There's a gap to fill in IT training

Connecting Up CEO Anne Gawen says the organisation expects to ramp up training for IT strategy and planning for not-for-profits by early 2018, in response to evidence of a growing knowledge gap.

Other courses will target those who lack IT skills, with a focus on increasing knowledge of what is needed to operate digital products such as Office 365.

As Ms Gawen notes, "often the not-for-profit organisation's IT person is not really an IT person at all, but ends up taking on the role by default, simply because they know how to turn on a computer."

"We're creating a few courses and webinars to help those people in particular," she says.

"We see a lot of situations where people don't allocate enough time or resources to IT needs."

So for those people, IT management is also a matter of time management.

"It's vital for them to know how to access digital resources available to them and make the most of them, because small not-for-profits need to be operating as efficiently as possible," she says.

Within Connecting Up's main client base of smaller organisations, Ms Gawen says there's strong demand for training in social media techniques and strategy, digital marketing, website building, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), IT security, and moving to the cloud.

Much of the training is recorded on video and available free via the website.

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