When the computer servers crashed at Sheri Cole's nonprofit, Career Wardrobe, just weeks before her organization's big annual fundraising event, she realized that using in-house technology had put her group at risk.
Gone was the Philadelphia charity's database of donors and other crucial information as her charity was planning an event that usually brings in $100,000.
After the database was rebuilt from thumb drives and home computers, Ms. Cole decided to move her information to the "cloud," online servers outside of her organization's walls that give her and others at the charity access anytime they need it.
The advantage for a small charity is that the company that runs the cloud service is responsible for watching that the computers are working well and that the information is secure.
Many charities are making the same decision, says Dean Graham, senior manager of application services at Tech Impact, a nonprofit formerly known as Npower Pennsylvania.
"You don't have to worry about the technology; you only have to worry about the work you are doing," Mr. Graham says.
In this episode of Fundraising Fundamentals, Mr. Graham and Ms. Cole offer advice to charities considering moving their data to the cloud. For more information about using cloud services, see this article from The Chronicle's annual technology guide.