No CRM Current State Documentation? No Problem!

At the beginning of the Advancement Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation, you’re likely looking at current state documentation. What if you still need to write down your current state processes?


Your first reaction might be to stop and write everything down. But in today’s fast-paced world, you don’t have the luxury of spending time and effort on this.


But all is not lost in the absence of your current state documentation.


Below are five tips to consider if you’re in a similar situation.

Tip #1: Prioritize

Prioritization helps you focus your time and resources on the most critical and profitable areas—the same is true regarding your current state documentation.


Prioritize your primary workflow processes. Rather than trying to pinpoint all primary scenarios, select 3–5 over-arching scenarios from an advancement perspective. Document those scenarios from beginning to end rather than detailing every possible engagement workflow.

Tip #2: Leverage Power Users

Without your current state documentation, power users are a great resource from prospect research through stewardship and gift processing. For example, a power user from the fundraising team can start at the annual giving program and possibly progress to major giving.


Power users can also oversee a collective group of cross-functional team members to get the current state documentation on paper. For instance, if there is a particular process that is key and holds intricacies, a team member can schedule a one-on-one working session to investigate and acquire knowledge from the power user.


Leverage power users in two ways.

  1. Cross-functional group session: include everyone who touches the process’s components as you flow from beginning to end.
  2. Power-user session: complete an individual working session and get a “download” to create high-level documentation to be used.

Tip #3: Create Iterative Processes of Your Current State Documentation

The CRM’s current state documentation process is iterative and requires continuous improvement. Use an agile process and facilitate interactive workshops so you can compare what features and functionality the system has.


Then, work to match those high-level processes and create prototypes to build collaborative future state maps.

  • Don’t complete future state workflows and try to match the application.
  • Do complete an integrative process.

Tip #4: Position Staff as Subject Matter Experts

Your CRM implementation partner brings technical, product, and general expertise, which is different from what your internal stakeholders can offer.


There is a symbiosis between the implementation partner and internal stakeholders. Your implementation partner ramps up your knowledge about the platform and software, whereas internal staff members help increase your knowledge of the implementation partner and how they do business.


When forging the two, it’s essential to identify dynamics clearly. Specifically, identify who is providing what expertise and how they’re simultaneously supporting each other. This is important because, in lieu of written documentation, you’re providing collaborative project approaches to the consultant, and they provide a solution.

Tip #5: Configure as Needs Emerge

Break out of that old “waterfall method” and move toward agility. Configurations are a necessary component of your CRM current state documentation.


For example, you discover a feature set that works great from the process perspective, but one thing needs to be configured. Ask internal staff to analyze and determine a list of configurations to ensure you’ve interpreted the information correctly.


It may seem overwhelming without current state documentation. But this is an opportunity to establish a nimble user-driven approach to creating and establishing ongoing processes.