CRM, a Change Campaign: Shine in the Light in Public!

CRM, a Change Campaign - part-2CRM implementation should be modeled like a fundraising campaign – a CRM deployment is not all boring techie geek stuff; it really an excuse to modernize and change your entire business. And like fundraising, a CRM campaign has phases: a silent phase, a public phase and “done but let’s talk about what’s next.”

Today’s topic is the public phase. First, you should create a communications plan bearing in mind that you can and will adjust as you go along. Be flexible. You want to get buy-in from your various stakeholders and end users at the onset and as you go along; if you need to change your communications, do it. You have to be part of the change management yourself.

The theme here is communications. It is time to shine.


  1. Have a plan. What are your vehicles of communication? Are you going to attack on all fronts? How frequently? Who communicates? Is your organization open to having fun with it?
  2. Look and feel. I am a fan of one-pagers in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) format. A good writer can keep the information high-level, catchy and relevant. Ask your users what they want to know, my bet is you’ll nail 90% of the universe of questions. Do not write 10 page memos (or even 3 page memos), do not load up with babble and finally, always show the impact of what you are doing.
  3. Repetition is the key to remembering. So that means host town hall calls, FAQs, smaller groups to answer questions, host very short-video snippets and so on. A highly esteemed colleague once told me repetition is the key to remembering and she said this to me repeated times.
  4. Get your users to buy into your communications plan and actually do the communicating. Have some messaging delivered in their words.
  5. Coordinating, writing and distributing these communications takes time. You cannot blow this off and ideally it should all originate from the business.
  6. Senior management focus and commitment. Senior management gets distracted. You need their enthusiasm and continued support of the project. You need their commitment to see it through 100%. If you sense that waning, it is time for a sit-down (or maybe look for another job).
  7. Expectations management. During the entire project, you must tell all your audiences that you expect issues. That is, to expect the unexpected.

Next post, I will address how to plan for “go live” and what to have in place before and in the weeks and months after you are live. Just because you are “live” does not mean you are done – with a CRM, the work is never done.

Finally, and I say this often, you are asking people with other daily work to engage with you on a project for which they will likely not get a raise or promotion. Thank them, send notes to their supervisors, VPs and CEO. Praise, praise, praise and everyone can shine in the sun.

Lisa Fay Wellek

About Lisa Fay Wellek

Lisa Fay Wellek has worked in the nonprofit sector for 20 years with focus on integrating CRM with fundraising. She is the owner of Philanthropy361 LLC, which consults with non-profits about how to best implement and strategically use CRM. She is a frequent project member with build Consulting. She was with JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) for 10 years in various roles including Chief of Staff for Development and most recently, National Director of CRM Strategy. With Lisa Fay’s leadership, JDRF launched LuminateCRM - a Blackbaud product that uses as its development platform. She believes that in today’s fast paced tech-focused world, non-profits must invest in the right infrastructure and staff in order to be sustainable (let alone grow). Previous posts include: Stevens Institute of Technology, KPMG Consulting and University of Connecticut Foundation.

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