Chapter 7: Knowing How to Support and Maintain Your Technology Solution|
Should you accept donations?
When companies replace their computer systems, they often offer the equipment and/or software to education organizations. While this may seem like a boon to your organization initially, it may end up that this equipment is more trouble than it's worth. If your organization is confronted with this situation you will need to weigh both the potential benefits and consequences. Obviously, you can benefit best from donated equipment when it fits with your long term plan for purchasing and replacing equipment.
Thus, when your organization is offered donations, you should be able to refer to an established protocol that dictates whether or not they should be accepted.
We all know that it's tempting to say "yes" to anyone who is offering something for "free." On the other hand, a rule one might want to live by is: "Don't accept a gift you have to feed."
- First of all, all of the standards established in the organization's system architecture should be followed. For that reason, donors should have access to the organization's published system architecture and any other standards established for technology projects.
- Staff should screen potential donations to ensure compliance with adopted standards. Donations can be useful to supplement available funds and equipment. However, to avoid invalidating warranties and creating increased future expenses for maintenance and support, all donations should comply with the same standards that would have been followed if these goods and services had been purchased by the institution.
- Just as with purchases, donations come with associated costs for installation, training, maintenance, power supplies, facilities, associated hardware or software, human resources, etc. (For example, most donations come without an operating system, which leads to the question of who will purchase the Windows or Mac OS?) In cases where donations are not in compliance with established standards, the donor might even be asked to underwrite the additional maintenance and support that the donation will require.