'The trouble with IT spending' said the worried trustee faced with a further bid for resources for another computer system 'is that it blossoms like dandelions after a shower of rain'. The anxious charity director could only agree, knowing deep down that the trustee was probably right, but the director was bit sufficiently equipped to be sure he had asked the right questions himself of the IT manager who put forward the proposal in the first place. If only a simple guide for the confused and anxious had been available, the decision might not have been different, but at least all parties to the decision would have had the sense of operating from a degree of insight. At least, such a guide is available - IT for the Not-For-Profit Sector. I know because I have read it. I also know because I was once that anxious charity director.

The book is simply set out, taking the reader through different aspects of IT within an organisation, be it large or small, identifying the issues that need to be faced and the questions that should be asked. More importantly, it is based on extensive practical experience drawn from Z/Yen's involvement with a range of different organisations. Helpful tables - a typical Harris/Mainelli trademark I am bound to conclude - provide quick reference points for the incredibly busy executive and the book is broken into easily accessible subjects. You won't become a computer expert by reading this book but it will help you to develop a sense of perspective on the way. You may also find that it provides you with ideas on how to do more with IT inside your organisation.

By the way, we went ahead with the computer system and it proved a very effective tool within the organisation - phew!

Ian Theodoreson
Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Barnardo's
February 2001

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