Is Your Nonprofit Organization Conversion Ready?

nonprofit conversion CRM implementation
As your nonprofit prepares for a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation that will involve a fundraising system conversion, it is important to consider the qualities that describe an organization that is prepared for such a project. We’ve compiled a list of qualities that you can use as a self-assessment to identify and plan for preparation activities.

Project Strategy Qualities

Before diving into a big project such as a CRM implementation, your organization should be sure they have documented and communicated the goals and purpose of this system change. Communication around how the strategy will evolve once the new system is in use is also key to getting employees and board members on board with the change.
Your organization needs to understand and plan a growth strategy and ensure that the data you have and will be collecting can support that growth goal and how that information will be important in the next five years.

Data Related Qualities

While your organization may have tons of high quality data, you’ll want to unsure that your team understands the meaning and use of the legacy database fields and has a well-defined code structure in place. Be sure you also consider the points of data entry to be sure you maintain high quality data. When analyzing the data you’ll want to pay close attention to the following:

  • There are few duplicate records
  • Data is in the correct fields
  • Example data quality problems include missing data (empty fields), missing addresses, deceased in the address line, deceased in the name field, appropriate use of anonymous, messy relationship data, business address in the home address fields, etc.

Operations Qualities

Your operations should be able to either consider or provide details on the following:

  • Strong documentation explaining current processes and the purpose of the processes
  • Understands current pain points to be able to advise on revisions and to be able to measure improvements via the new system
  • Understands the role of vendors and will plan for any role changes and transitions

Staff & Behavioral Qualities

You organization’s staff will benefit from having a devoted technology savvy database administrator who can help with the introduction and dedication to change management for the staff. These additional resources and cheerleaders will also assist on ensuring your staff is on board with the CRM implementation:

  • Support and engagement from executive leadership
  • Clear decision makers with approval authority
  • Involved staff have appropriate bandwidth to participate in the project
  • Identify the participation by involved individuals (including external individuals such as vendors) who are responsible, accountable, consulted and informed
  • Is prepared to leave things behind, such as data that is no longer used and antiquated processes. The new system replaces the legacy system but should not replicate it, expect and enjoy differences and improvements while still achieving the desired outcomes
  • Is prepared for efficient collaboration; task forces can be useful when large groups of people from distinct perspectives are involved in decisions

It is important to note that none of these qualities are critical or required and that a successful conversion can still be completed for an organization that does not possess all of these qualities. These are just areas that Heller Consulting has noticed make a big difference in the overall success of a CRM implementation for nonprofit organizations.

For more information on CRM implementation including best practices and how to involve your team, download our paper on CRM and Change Management now:

Download The CRM Paper Now!

For more information on how to create a CRM roadmap to go along with your CRM vision, download the paper, Making Your CRM Aspiration a Reality now!

Susan Wright

About Susan Wright

Susan brings over 10 years of nonprofit experience to her work at Heller Consulting. She entered the field of social work because to contribute to society in a positive way. Over time it became evident that her biggest contribution and most rewarding work was helping organizations leverage technology to streamline processes, solve problems, and generate information, ultimately maximizing program impacts. Prior to working at Heller, she worked with children and families at Seneca Center, Larkin Street Youth Services, and Catholic Charities CYO. At Room to Read and Napa County her work focused on technology optimization and information management. She created a CRM database in Salesforce.com to manage worldwide contacts and also contributed to many programs databases and process improvements. Susan holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Columbia University, specializing in Social Enterprise Administration and a dual Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Davis in Communication and Spanish Language and Literature.

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