By Erica Lorraine Scheidt, Director of Marketing Communications at TechSoup Global

Through my work with TechSoup Global, all kinds of amazing stories cross my desk, but a letter we received from the Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand after their recent earthquake piqued my interest. A year earlier, when they had received donations from Microsoft through TechSoup New Zealand, they had no idea that the software would prove critical to their ability to serve their members after the 7.2 earthquake struck Christchurch on September 3, 2010.

Before the earthquake, Julie Clemmett, administrator for the Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand, said this about her software donation: “Last year when our computer system was limping along, trying to avoid an imminent fatality, Microsoft and TechSoup came to our rescue with software allowing us to upgrade to a server-based system.

What a change! The timely upgrade has allowed our staff more efficient access whilst in the office and also enabled our staff on the road and in remote offices to be able to access the information directly. Before implementing Microsoft Small Business Server, our remote employees would call and have information relayed over the phone.”

Remote access proved crucial to the Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand’s business continuity after the earthquake impaired movement around the city. Clemmett continues:

“I’m working from home today because of the earthquake and that’s only possible because of Small Business Server and Office Professional Plus that we received from Microsoft and TechSoup. It’s a huge boon for our organization, allowing the CEO and fieldworkers access to our data when we’re away from the office.”

NGOs often play a crucial role during and after a natural disaster or crisis. Building their IT capacity, as in the case of the Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand, allows them to continue delivering services even after disaster strikes.

Cystic Fibrosis is New Zealand’s most common life-threatening inherited disease, and the Cystic Fibrosis Association of New Zealand is the only national organization dedicated to all aspects of the condition. The flexibility offered by a stable, secure and scalable technology infrastructure greatly supports the Cystic Fibrosis Association’s mission, no matter what the circumstances.

Erica Lorraine Scheidt is the Director of Marketing Communications at TechSoup Global. TechSoup Global a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in 1987 on the belief that technology is a powerful enabler for social change.