Is Your Nonprofit Organization CRM-Ready?

Is Your Nonprofit Organization CRM-Ready?

Just as Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) greatly improves your nonprofit organization’s relationships with its constituents, it also impacts the way your staff manages its data. Before implementing a CRM solution, it’s important to consider the end users and how their interaction with the system will affect your organization’s long-term success. Here are three questions to help shape a successful CRM implementation and continued use from an end-user perspective.

What Do You Want Out of Your CRM System?

With all the bells and whistles that a CRM solution can provide, prioritizing what’s most important to your organization can sometimes be overwhelming. Today’s CRM platforms are flexible; there is very little limit to what can be accomplished. It’s totally ok to dream big, but stay rooted in what’s manageable for now.

Setting a roadmap that moves from core functionality to automated nirvana will help keep your organization’s expectations grounded. Sharing this roadmap with users will make them feel invested in the process, which will lead to more valuable feedback and increased adoption.

Is This the Right Time?

The first few phases of deployment are the most critical to a CRM system implementation. This time requires focus and attention that may divert your users from their standard tasks. Consider your organization’s events and fiscal calendar when scheduling your launch. For example, if a large portion of your fundraising stems from events, implement your CRM system during a slower period so you have adequate time to dedicate to these new processes and your financial risks are lower.

Your organization’s ability to handle change is also a large factor in choosing the right time to launch your CRM system.  Take into account any other recent cultural shifts at your org that may need to be tackled before your staff is ready for a sea change.

Do You Have Leadership in Place?

Leadership does not have to come in the form of an executive title. Those closest to the day-to-day efforts can also be invaluable champions for your CRM effort, sometimes even more so than executive management. Tasking “power users” as advocates for the system will make system adoption feel far more natural and can build a sense of community.

The best laid CRM plans are nothing without the support of your most important stakeholder — the end user. Be sure to have a plan in place to encourage and monitor user adoption:  Keep users involved in every aspect of your deployment plan, and give them incentives to both make the most of the system and provide feedback to help shape future system enhancements. You’ll be on your way to CRM success!

Want more help getting your organization ready for CRM? Sign up today for our CRMready webinar series workshop.

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The Connected Cause is a place for experts in the nonprofit online space to share perspective, offer guidance and promote best practices for using today’s technology effectively. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive source of collaborative thought leadership for the nonprofit industry.

One comment

  1. Once considering a move to CRM, it’s a good idea for all staff members to keep informal notes of things to consider. On this notes page I would write things that I wish the system would do, things that the current system does that I want the new system to do, new/additional data points to capture, reports that would be helpful, questions, etc. There will be time in the implementation to discuss all of this and it’s nice to have a list already started.

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