How BYOD policies can affect charitable foundations

Many organizations have incorporated a "bring your own device" policy without fully grasping the impact of allowing employees to bring their personal electronics to work. Initially, having employees use their own mobile devices or laptops at work can seem like an attractive idea. As most charitable foundations are well aware, investing in technological infrastructure brings significant expenses to existing overhead costs.

Cost savings attractive
Forbes highlighted Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group research indicating businesses in the U.S. could save $3,150 per employee every year if they implemented a company-wide BYOD policy. On average, American workers in the study stated they saved 81 minutes per year in productivity by using their personal devices. A 2012 Cisco study reported 36 percent of companies and information technology professionals had a BYOD strategy in place that provided full support across all devices. As a result, there is room for development of this cost-savings strategy. Forbes stated the majority of IT department staff were wary of giving employees complete freedom to use their personal devices.

Understanding the risks
There are risks attributed to BYOD strategies that are becoming more apparent as the practice gains wider acceptance. In fact, Forbes reported 41 percent of workers used a cloud service for data storage that is not accepted by their employer. In effect, they are putting their employer at risk of fraud and loss of intellectual property. Fraud can have a deleterious effect on charitable organizations from many angles. The NonProfit Times indicated that organizations lose an average of 5 percent of their total budget to fraud annually. What's more, occupational fraud results in financial losses to an organization at around $140,000 on average.

Charitable foundations are at an increased risk because of their dependence upon donations for financial support and if there are unscrupulous individuals working inside an organization, they will likely impact donors' perception and an organization's reputation as a whole. The average losses that nonprofit organizations lose as a result of fraud is $100,000. Without a comprehensive IT framework that supports the secured use of personal devices, foundations are running an increased risk of falling prey to fraud.

As a result, members of nonprofit governance should invest in software and hardware that helps keep donor and financial information private. If donors lose faith in the organization they've chosen to support, the negative repercussions will be difficult to ameliorate.

Back to News