For nonprofit organizations, implementing a new donor management system can often seem like a daunting challenge. But with a sound strategy and execution plan, it’s actually quite manageable.
The key is preparing your staff for the technology change and guiding them through the process with communication tools.
Here are 5 key tips for supporting your team through a technology change:
- Planning is critical
- Make sure the right people are involved
- Brace yourself for a minimal productivity dip
- Pay attention to change management
- Keep your eye on the prize
Ready to dive a little deeper? Let’s explore these tips.
Tip #1: Planning is critical
Planning is essential, especially at the beginning of the project when you’re selecting which donor management system you’re considering.
Gather your team’s requirements for the new technology. Are you ok with just a CRM or do you need online fundraising tools and email marketing too? What kind of support do you need to implement the technologies?
Also, consider the timing of the project. When is it best to make the switch? Having this mapped out is a great place to start.
Tip #2: Make sure the right people are involved
It’s essential to have a good representation of all your technologies’ users and other stakeholders to get an accurate picture of their needs — and ultimately, to get their buy-in and support.
While it might seem obvious that the director of IT would be involved, it’s also essential to include representatives from each of the functional areas that will use the technology or be affected by it, such as staff from development, membership services, and so on.
By involving stakeholders from business units, you will be able to more effectively define and prioritize your needs across the organization. This will promote cross-functional collaboration and break down silos, allow you to clearly communicate your priorities to your vendors, and, at the same time, help ensure that you are setting realistic expectations with staff.
By putting people first as you implement your new technology, you can anticipate their wants and needs and minimize any bumps in the road.
Tip #3: Brace yourself for a minimal productivity dip
There will likely be a productivity dip following launch. With effective planning, training, and support, user adoption of the new technology will eventually grow until it becomes the accepted way of doing things.
But in the short term, some users will cling to their old, trusted processes, and all users will need a bit of time to get used to doing something new in a different way.
Organizations can mitigate this tendency, however, with training and proactive communication about exactly what to expect.
Leadership should be realistic about what staff will be able to accomplish during a time when they are adjusting to new technology and plan to remove any other barriers — so don’t plan any big events or program launches prior to kick off.
Tip #4: Pay attention to change management
As mentioned above, embarking on a technology change is bound to be somewhat disruptive. Build change management practices into your plan from the very beginning in order to manage and mitigate the effects of change.
One way to start is by communicating to employees what’s going to happen, when and why, and where they can turn to for help and answers. Check out some of our best practices for communicating change.
Tip #5: Keep your eye on the prize
Whether it’s a new donor management system, email system, or online event tools, Implementing and using new technology at your nonprofit is hard work.
There are countless decisions to be made, trade-offs to be hammered out, and conversations to be had across the organization. But for nonprofits, acquiring modern and effective technology can provide game-changing functionality. It is worth the extra effort on the part of all stakeholders to make it a success by focusing on the ultimate goal of achieving your mission.
Keeping all of these tips in mind can make sure your staff feels supported throughout a technology change. And a supported staff means the overall transition to using the technology will be smoother and you will be on your way to building a more effective technology ecosystem.
Want to explore what CharityEngine would look like for your staff? Sign up for a Live Demo and get your hands on our Free 10-day Sandbox trial today!
This guest post was contributed by Heller Consulting.
About the Author:
Heller Consulting has been focused on helping nonprofits with their CRM technology since 1996. After working with over 1,000 nonprofits around the country, one thing hasn’t changed – our passion for helping clients utilize the right technology strategies and systems to significantly expand the impact of their vital missions.