It can seem like each year, if not each month, there is a new piece of technology that everyone is talking about. From chatbots, to AI – it can be difficult to keep up! This is especially true for non-profits who need to be sure the technology they invest in will ultimately further their cause and help them to continue to support their members, donors, volunteers, and supporters.

However, not keeping up with advancements in technology can be risky and leave you with legacy systems which can be harmful for your non-profit. Some of these risks we explore below.

What are legacy systems?

A legacy system is any outdated IT technology or system that is still in use within an organisation and is critical to their day-to-day operations. Systems can become outdated for several reasons including they no longer receive updates or maintenance from the creators of the system, or they are no longer able to be purchased.

What are the risks of keeping legacy systems?

Replacing or updating a legacy system may be a large undertaking for a non-profit organisation, however not doing so could be harming your non-profit in a number of ways.

1. Increased operational costs

Often legacy systems are no longer updated by developers and so it will fall to IT teams to maintain them. Therefore, they can be more difficult to maintain and require more time and resources to do so. Consequently, in the long-term operational costs can often higher for legacy systems.

2. Performance issues

Legacy systems can often suffer higher failure rates, causing downtime on the system. This will prevent staff being productive and may consequently impact the service that will be provided to your members, donors, and supporters.

3. Security vulnerabilities

As many legacy systems are no longer maintained or supported, many are using old security protocols and standards. This can lead to vulnerabilities in the systems that can cause security breaches, which can lead to significant financial implications for non-profits.

4. No single view of audience

As many legacy systems cannot integrate with new, modern systems, data stored on the older system cannot be shared with other departments who are using new technology, creating data silos.

In turn, this may prevent visibility and a 360-degree view of your members, donors and supporters and will hinder your ability to effectively communicate to them and also make data driven decisions.

5. Compliance risks

As modern data protection and privacy regulations such as GDPR have evolved, many legacy systems may now have compliant gaps. If your organisation is not compliant, this can leave your non-profit vulnerable to large fines or penalties as well as reputational damage.


As technology and systems continue to evolve, the risk of being left behind grows. Legacy systems can leave your non-profit vulnerable to security risks and hinder your ability to engage with your members, donors and supporters and further your cause.

There are many considerations to be made when looking to update or replace your IT systems. At Hart Square, we have a wealth of experience in supporting non-profit organisations move on from legacy technology. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can support you.

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