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CDW sees profit in new non-profit team

What does CDW know that the rest of us don’t know? Is everyone who is being laid off ditching corporate life to do some good for the world or the environment or someone other than himself or herself?

The national reseller/direct marketer/VAR/solution provider (I have no idea what to call them anymore) has established a sales and solutions team that is specifically dedicated to focusing on the IT needs of non-profitable charitable organizations and foundations.

I am more than intrigued, I am thrilled. This is something that I’ve always felt was a natural extension for anyone involved with small businesses but I suppose it’s sort of hard to build a practice around companies that have very strict money management polices. But heck, given that you’re probably having to rethink your accounts receivable policies ANYWAY with people extending their payment terms, why NOT look into a whole new client base?

CDW says the reason it is getting into this area is that it has worked with “hundreds” of non-profits in the past (including the Salvation Army Central Territory and the American Heart Association) and has found (not surprise) very little competition for their business. And yet (again, no surprise) it has found these organizations have very complex IT needs. The Salvation Army, as just one example, supports many, many point-of-sale systems for its volunteers.

Among the sorts of specialists that CDW will devote to its new non-profit team include those focused on security, volume software licensing, telephony, and power and cooling. By the way, I would be willing to bet money (and I am a very low-risk individual) that there’s a whole hardware refurbishment initiative involved here or that COULD be involved here. It just makes a whole lot of sense, especially considering the current strength of the green IT movement.

While it may seem odd to think about earning money from a deal with a non-profit, a charity, for Pete’s sake, it definitely is a growing sector in the U.S. economy. In fact, this WAS a surprise to me: non-profits are growing at a faster pace than both small businesses and the government. There was also a fascinating report about non-profit wages published late last year, and apparently they are rising quickly, which means my initial comment about laid-off workers popping up in this sector isn’t entirely off-base. Which also means that many of these corporate-world refugees will be bringing business-management ideas to their new jobs, including an interest and need for better IT procurement and management policies.

Here’s a link for more info on the CDW non-profit initiative.

And, here’s a site with all sorts of statistics about non-profits in case you want your own primer on the non-profit sector.

I’ll get off my soap box now, but I absolutely think this is worth the attention of any VAR who is tightly involved in his or her local community.

Would love to hear more about this, especially if you’re a VAR or reseller with your own non-profit focus. E-mail me directly to chat.

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