Your Software Troubles – 3 Things You Can Do Now

Your software troubles, 3 things you can do now!

A lot of folks who participate in our CRMready Workshop say “Great vision, we want to get there, but we can’t just yet.  My systems are killing me, what can I do NOW?”  It doesn’t have to be an either/or answer.  What you do to solve your immediate problems can also be your first steps on the path to CRM.  So where to start?

Before we dive into the options, I’d like to summarize just a piece of our CRMready Workshop – the CRM Environment.  In a nutshell, your future CRM environment isn’t likely to be a single piece of software but a collection of “best of breed” systems, apps and reporting tools all “playing well together”.  The core systems will be those that support Fundraising, Online Communications and Mission & Program management.  Ancillary but also important will be your Reporting Tools and the integration with the General Ledger.  (For more on this topic, see the first webinar in the CRMready Workshop.)  For most organizations, these are the areas that are 1) Causing the most current difficulty and 2) Present the greatest future opportunity so this is where our answers will start!

So without further ado – what can you do next?

Optimize the systems you already have

You’ll get more out of them in the near term and you’ll help clarify your future systems needs and priorities.  Cleaning up your data and organizing your business practices will also better position you to transition to new systems later.   Check out Ten Steps to Streamlining Your System (simple login required).

Fix Reporting or Reconciliation

These are two of the key business needs that stymie organizations.  People spend countless (needless) hours every month (or week, or day!) wrestling with their systems to get the information they need, either to measure their efforts, or to share financial information with their Accounting colleagues.  Help is available!  For information on great reporting tools that you can use with your current systems, see our paper on Business Intelligence.  For advice on Reconciliation see Clarifying Communication with Accounting (simple login required).

Select and Implement one new system.

You don’t have to dive all the way into CRM to realize benefits.  You can start by replacing one of your systems – Fundraising, Online Communications or Mission & Program Management – but choose one that will be a solid player in your future CRM environment.  How do you know what to pick?  Here are some resources to start with:

  • Fundraising System Selection

    Check out our Review Papers on the Top Five Fundraising Salesforce-based Fundraising Apps and on Integrated Suites (connected systems that manage both traditional “offline” fundraising and contemporary online communications).   Most of the profiled fundraising systems profiled can serve as a solid core of your future CRM environment.

  • Online Communications System Selection

    Those systems profiled in our Integrated Suites paper already have a clear “partner system” in fundraising, which you can choose to adopt later.  Want to accelerate your Social Engagement?  Consider a Social Listening tool to support deeper, more focused engagement.

  • Mission & Program Management

    Thousands of nonprofits are turning to the Saleforce.com platform to meet their mission & program management needs.  You can find case studies here and advice on adoption and using the platform here.  For more information on the generous terms (first 10 licenses are free!) from the Salesforce Foundation, visit them here.

If you feel inspired to go a step further, consider implementing an Integrated Suite to address both your Fundraising and Online Communication needs. Need help choosing the right next step for you?  That’s what we do.  And we’ll do it for free!  We love to talk about this stuff (just ask our friends and families…).  We offer a Free CRM Readiness Assessment – a series of resources and conversations – that can help you get started down the right path.

Sign up for your FREE CRM Readiness Assessment Now!

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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.

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