3 Dirty Secrets to Consider During an Advancement CRM Implementation

Implementing an Advancement Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) platform is an intense amount of work in a set time. The change aspect in itself is a huge undertaking—not to mention the task of changing how you do things and your daily job duties. There are learning curves with software technology, and often, the work falls onto those within that learning curve.

 

The damage to your team that goes overlooked during implementation can have long-lasting effects. As an organizational leader, you need to be conscious of the cost—not only from a monetary standpoint but the long-term cost of damaging the actual people who worked on the CRM implementation project.

 

Here are key indicators that you’re not handling the stress well and the three dirty secrets to avoid.

Dirty Secret #1—Overworking a few people because they can get things done.

 

Every organization is guilty of it—even those that aren’t implementing a CRM application. Leaning on those that are organized, motivated, and highly skilled seems inevitable. But, for the go-to person, it can feel frustrating and even lead to burnout, diminished employee engagement, and turnover intention [1].

 

Try this approach: recruit your “B” team often.

 

Carefully consider your team’s availability (especially those who are more skilled) and the person’s knowledge to do the tasks. You might have to modify task estimates or time allotted based on the resources.

 

Consider that not every task can be assigned to your “A” team, but it can be completed (and done well) by your “B” team—even if they may need a little support in terms of learning along the way. Focus on task-level planning, develop a clear objective, and create a realistic timeline.

 

Regardless of who is assigned the task at hand, be mindful and continue to monitor progress—making changes when someone is overworked.

 

Dirty Secret #2—Creating an environment with no room for mistakes.

 

Perfection, by definition, is “being free from all flaws or defects.” It’s highly likely your CRM implementation will have some flaws or defects—at least in the beginning.

 

Try this approach: encourage a culture of innovation.

 

Leaders need to know what it means to have an innovative mindset[2]—generating creative or novel solutions to problems that result in improved performance. You can’t force innovation, and you must embrace the fact that innovation is situational.

You are embarking upon something new—this always requires an innovative mindset. Encourage your staff to be creative. Get into the mindset that you can’t be creative without making mistakes. Instead, build a buffer into the project for errors and allow for flexibility.

 

This means, as a leader, you must challenge your team members to think from multiple perspectives, avoid relying strictly on facts and data, and allow room for ideas that arise from intuition. Remember, if it must go perfectly, it’s already a failed project.

 

Dirty Secret #3—Allowing disrespect during a project.

 

It should go without question, but you cannot allow incidences (no matter how small) of disrupting or disrespecting others during a project.

 

Try this approach: look to your project leads to model good behavior.

 

Professionalism and respect for your colleagues should be a guiding principle—microaggressions and disrespect should never be tolerated. Emphasize that all opinions should be heard and appreciated.

 

Your project leads are in the perfect position to eliminate disrespect. Their job is tough on making decisions, but with that role comes the responsibility of respecting your colleagues and stakeholders. If they lead with respect, it’s likely your team will follow suit.

 

[1] https://www.atlantis-press.com/proceedings/icamer-19/125936189

[2] https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/how-do-you-respond-to-a-new-idea/

Understanding Staffing Models for CRM Application Support

Most organizations have little to no control over the structure of their Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) application support staffing models. It’s essential to understand how they are different—plus the pros and cons of each—so you can effectively moderate issues as they arise.

 

The resources available to your project team may vary and are contingent on your organization’s predetermined staffing models. We discuss the differences and how to mitigate their deficiencies.

 

Decentralized Staffing

 

Larger organizations tend to require a decentralized staffing model for their CRM applications[1]. Within the decentralized model, resources and staff may sit within the development team and have their own program analyst and Information Technology (IT) resources. These positions are often placed within Advancement—they are also funded and have a reporting structure that promotes through the advancement team.

 

A significant benefit of the decentralized staffing model is that you have access to your resources—staff are specialists and understand the business practices for any technical solution they provide. Staff lives and breathes fundraising, advancement, engaging constituents, and the context for technology solutions.

 

However, a downside of decentralized organizations is that employees may struggle with multiple individuals having different opinions on a particular decision. These organizations will need to overcome the obstacle of getting everyone on the same page when making decisions.

 

Another downside with this model can be that resources get narrowly characterized from a technology standpoint. The staff becomes experts in the technology, and their innovation may diminish over time because they are so specialized.

 

Decentralized staffing models are most successful when they utilize diverse expertise and knowledge—including a broad-based management team to ensure the organization has knowledgeable directors or managers to handle various types of situations.

 

Centralized Staffing Model

 

In the centralized staffing model, the need for technical resources or support to get things done relies on a “borrowing” structure from a central pool of resources. Smaller institutions tend to benefit from a centralized approach to their technical help. This model allows several departments—including the advancement team, HR team, the finance team, and the institutional teams to be supported by shared resources.

 

Centralized organizations can be highly efficient regarding strategic decisions. On the contrary, they can face adverse effects of bureaucracy—which can damage organizational effectiveness.

 

The benefit of a centralized staffing model is that staff can become specialists and remain acutely aware of new technology and procedures. Staff in this model tend to stay up to date on new platforms, programming languages, and other resources—their technical knowledge and skillsets are broader.

 

Centralized staffing allows an institution to streamline processes and create business operation efficiencies related to policy development, technology, pay practice, and resource management. In this model, you can (in most cases) attract better resources because they have a variety of projects to work on—offering a diverse workload for the highly skilled person.

 

One of the most significant downsides of the centralized staffing model is that resources and staff are shared. You’ll need to develop policies and procedures to indicate the methods that support you (and your team) to meet their deadlines.

 

Think about questions like:

 

  • How will your staff get into the queue?
  • How will your resource staff manage an abundance of requests?
  • Will you be able to meet your deadlines with their current workload?

 

Changes may take longer to initiate in a centralized model. Leadership must evaluate requests for policy, workflow, or technology changes at an enterprise level, requiring investigation, testing, pro and con analysis, and shared governance vetting. Once approved, the change must be communicated and rolled out—requiring an additional level of planning and coordination.

 

Sharing resources with the rest of the institution can get complicated. Not all institutions can avoid this type of staffing model and must work to mitigate these setbacks.

 

Hybrid Concept

 

A hybrid staffing model allows staff to gain the best of both worlds. In this scenario, employees can experience the benefits of becoming experts in their field while concurrently sharing resources.

 

In the hybrid staffing model, the resources belong to the centralized team but include staff with a comprehensive technology skillset. Often, the Advancement department pays for the services to have dedicated resources or at least a commitment to dedicated resources at a certain level.

 

The hybrid staffing model type tends to work well in larger institutions since they can afford resources within their department.

 

Staffing models vary depending on your organization. One is not necessarily better than another—whichever one you have, be sure to understand its complexities and plan for any deficiencies. Doing so will increase your team’s strategic and tactical capacity—keeping your organization at the forefront.

[1] https://www.discovercrm.com/crm-case-studies.html

Here’s How to Ensure A Successful Advancement CRM Project Sponsorship

You’ve likely contemplated the implementation of an Advancement CRM for quite some time—it’ll save hours of administrative time, offer better future casting, and create a central hub for all your donor profiles. Having your Advancement project run smoothly often comes down to outstanding leadership. Standard project management always has a project sponsor—an executive-level person responsible for the outcome of the project.

 

In many cases, the project sponsor is the Chief Development Officer (CDO) or Chief Philanthropy Officer (CPO). Some organizations may opt to formulate a sponsorship committee including individuals from your Information Technology (IT) department—a viable option if your IT is a centralized staffing model. Regardless of who takes the lead, your sponsor can help your project with its vision, communication, implementation, and make critical decisions.

 

Here’s how to ensure a successful advancement CRM project sponsorship.

 

Visibility

 

The project sponsorship role needs to be visible; It can’t be a role merely on paper—it must be an active role throughout the project’s duration.

 

Sponsors first need to understand how their role supports the project team. Decide your team’s strengths and weaknesses. Then, assess how your project sponsor can mitigate those weaknesses or transfer them into strengths. For example, if your team is unaware of your sponsor’s commitment to the CRM adoption, mitigate that by being more accessible.

 

Your project sponsor should mesh their calendar with the project calendar—making themselves available to attend meetings frequently. The project sponsor needs to be present during milestone moments like project kickoff, forums—they can in no way skip out on those types of events—or meetings where information is being disseminated.

 

The project sponsor doesn’t need to be present at every meeting because that isn’t feasible, but have them pick some key in-depth activities. For example, if your sponsor has expertise and strategy around business intelligence, they can get involved more intimately in that capacity.

 

Encourage them to get a little bit out of their comfort zone—asking questions when they don’t know the answer. If stakeholders and project team members see your sponsor making an effort—being brave, vulnerable, and asking questions—it creates a culture of inclusion, allowing team members to feel comfortable and supports innovation.

 

One of the biggest problems in CRM project implementation is team members are often afraid to ask questions. When the project sponsor takes that lead, it creates a ripple effect.

 

Encouragement

 

It’s essential to set a vision and goals of your CRM project that aligns with your organization’s mission. It’s necessary to maintain communication and ensure everyone understands the need for implementation. Think about what your team may be wondering.

 

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What are the goals and vision?
  • How does this affect my role?
  • What long-term changes will be made?
  • How does my skillset contribute to the project?

 

Allow your team to understand the “why,” which always supports the “how.” But as you know, CRM implementation is a massive undertaking and often wanes on staff—often feeling like a second job.

 

An essential role of the project sponsor is to mitigate the impact of those changes, reduce fear of change, and offer encouragement throughout the process.

 

Project team members and stakeholders need to hear from your project sponsor. Encouragement should be ongoing—don’t wait until the end to celebrate their success. Ongoing encouragement can help pull your team through a challenging portion of a project.

 

Be sure to offer:

 

  • messages of encouragement;
  • messages of gratitude; and
  • thanking a project team or project team member for their hard work.

 

Timely encouragement throughout the project continues to fuel and support team members working hard and can make a big difference in your project’s success.

5 Best Practices to Ease Your Advancement CRM Online Training

 

Advancement is becoming increasingly more challenging. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. These unprecedented times are fueled by a global health crisis, world-wide financial turmoil, and political unrest. Markets are volatile with many negative societal implications. Many organizations continue to shutter their face-to-face activities and healthcare systems are strained under the pressure of ongoing patient needs.

 

Online learning is continuing. Working virtually has proved many positives but may not be as straightforward when considering online training in complex systems like Constituent Relationship Management (CRM)—especially if your audience is more “old school” and prefers in-person learning.

 

A fully online course lacks a physical teaching space and requires digital communication and transmission of materials and assessments. Compared to the in-person learning environment, the online environment requires different strategies for teaching and learning. These new elements might seem intuitive, but for others might not be as obvious.

 

Online instruction requires the knowledge and practice of online etiquette (or netiquette) and the initial establishment of performance and behavior expectations. Virtual instructors need to be aware of these differences and be deliberate as they transition their course to the online environment.

 

Online training for your Advancement CRM is no exception. Here are five best practices to ease the burden of your Advancement CRM online training.

 

Get Employee Support

 

First things first, you’ll need to get your entire organization to ‘buy-in’ to the idea of virtual CRM training. Without their support, conducting training in any capacity will fall flat. CRM training and education will flourish if the organization’s people believe in the system, the benefits it can deliver, and have an understanding of their role in the overall implementation.

 

Getting key stakeholders involved early can help, but don’t forget about engaging end-users. Frequently, organizations think that if the executives are supportive, their staff will be too—this isn’t always the case.

 

If you’re struggling to get the support you need, survey to see if employees value the transition. They may be worried about learning a new system or assume their job may change as a result. While valid—and in some cases true—understanding their trepidations helps meet them where they’re at and eventually supporting them to buy into the transition.

 

Develop a Targeted Training Strategy

 

CRM platforms are often equipped with limitless possibilities—overwhelming even the most technology-inclined individual. Instead of jumping into all it has to offer, break your training into bite-size pieces that support crucial operational processes.

 

For example, one of the things you might do with your CRM system is to locate your constituent base in a personalized and targeted way. To do this effectively, first develop a strategy. Then train people on how you use the system to support that initiative.

 

Utilize Synchronous and Asynchronous Methods

 

There is an assumption that people will use the CRM system consistently and systematically immediately following training. Not everyone learns in the same way, and inadequate training can increase frustrations or even lead to employee burnout[1].

 

Avoid this by incorporating synchronous training—live scheduled classes—with a combination of asynchronous work encouraging employees to complete activities independently. Use the asynchronous work sessions to have trainees practice uploading data or running reports.

 

Create a strategy to address the non-users or those that may be struggling with comprehension. In an online training environment, this might look like having office hours to ask questions. Or set aside time to allow the training leader to conduct a screen share and walk the end-user through the issue in real-time.

 

Create Real-Life Training Scenarios

 

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to learn new software and not understand how it applies to a person’s day-to-day. Tailor training to your specific organizational needs. Clearly identify outcomes and expectations, focusing on tasks they’ll need to understand in their individual role.

 

Use this opportunity to establish acceptable working practices. Decide formatting and other requirements to ensure consistency.

 

Creating standards of practice helps avoid entering data in multiple ways. For example, if you’re entering names and addresses into the CRM database, require everyone to enter information in title case without abbreviations.

 

Schedule Ongoing Training

 

Plan to have ongoing online training for your Advancement CRM. This helps to maintain the long-term value of your investment in CRM technology by regularly engaging end-users in new updates, processes, and procedures.

 

It also provides opportunities for consistency, making sure anyone using the CRM system has a solid understanding of expectations, specifications, feedback, and the ability to problem-solve.

 

Investing in your CRM now is more important than ever before. But your CRM system must be more than a database—it should provide the intelligence and functionality you need to optimize fundraising and communication with your supporters.

 

 

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681321000392

 

Focus on These Critical Areas If You Are Implementing a New Advancement CRM

 

Implementing Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) initiatives can be overwhelming—they require change, disrupt processes and workflows. They force your organization to think about how you manage your existing data and deciding how you’ll move forward with data collection.

 

Internally, business processes and technology may need to be changed. Externally, constituent experiences can be disrupted, requiring you to shift in how you communicate.

 

Improving your CRM platforms can leverage an integrated advancement solution that helps break down data silos, drive major gifts and online fundraising, improve reporting and insights with artificial intelligence (AI), personalize engagement, and steward longtime supporters.

 

Now is an incredible time for Advancement teams to focus on improving and modernizing their strategies for success.

 

Focus on these critical areas if you are implementing a new Advancement CRM—primarily if staff work remotely or have worldwide concerns.

 

Stakeholder Engagement

 

Stakeholder engagement has always been an essential part of Advancement, but it needs an overhaul—the way it’s been done is changing. Gone are the days (at least temporarily) of traveling for face-to-face interactions.

 

Video visits were trending even before the pandemic. One-third[1] of all advancement teams were already using video chats as visits, but now it’s an overwhelming majority. This trend will likely not disappear.

 

The shift to digital engagement holds massive potential for fundraising. A gift officer can make dozens of video calls in a day versus a handful of in-person visits—doing so at a fraction of the cost.

 

There will always be a need for face-to-face visits with prospects, but incorporating more resources into building out digital advancement programs can help deliver personal, concierge-like experiences to more donors at scale.

 

Project Communication and Transparency

 

Project communication is challenging without layering on the obstacles brought on by the pandemic. Teams remain working remotely. Many are facing worldwide concerns that extend far beyond your organization.

 

The way you communicate varies greatly depending on the project’s role and stage—but project communication and transparency have never been more critical.

 

A CRM accurately and efficiently drives prospect research and reporting—helping you streamline gift entry, inform strategy, measure campaign effectiveness and return on investment (ROI), and access predictive analysis tools.

 

Focus on reliable information and transparency about the benefits your organization offers your constituents, funders, and communities—they are critical to your legitimacy, funding, and competitiveness.

 

Requirements Management

 

Poor requirements management processes have been associated as a leading cause of project failure. Requirements can be classified into functional and non-functional.

 

Functional requirements are capabilities that the product or service must satisfy user needs. These are the most fundamental requirements often referred to as business requirements.

 

Non-functional requirements include usability, performance, reliability, and security requirements. These are qualities that a product or service must have—they are no less critical than functional requirements.

 

Requirements management helps suppliers and customers understand what is needed to avoid wasting time, resources, and effort. To be effective, it must involve all four requirements processes: planning, development, verification, and change management—which also should be associated with formal standardized organizational implementation.

 

Many requirements management tools are already well-positioned to handle the disruptions caused by COVID-19. Critical areas that requirements management will significantly influence for years include remote working, consolidation and automation, and AI. Organizations that have already adopted these practices stand to benefit greatly and rise above the competition.

 

Requirements management will have to facilitate an agile approach to business. Simultaneously maintaining an efficient development process may mean shorter time-to-market, more imaginative prioritization of business demand, and integration of design thinking processes into development.

 

Iterative Planning

 

Managing new roadblocks, disparate team members, and responding to the new budget and resource constraints should be reflected in your project management processes. With economic and market turmoil, you’ll need to use all available resources to guide decisions with data analysis and predictions for your top prospects and trustees.

 

This current pandemic is not a time to drop everything and panic—it is an opportunity to manage projects and continue to deliver value to your organization.

 

Iterative planning—the process of creating new strategies or developing new products—will be a necessity as organizations may be vulnerable to the economic fallout of the pandemic.

 

Not to mention, the pandemic has decreased median income wealth in the United States[2]. Mid-tier giving will likely be more critical than ever—significantly if top donors scale back the same way they did in 2008.

 

High levels of uncertainty require you to operate at high speeds. Here is a five-step cycle you can apply to plan ahead, responding to the rapidly changing environment.

 

  1. Get a realistic view of where you are starting.
  2. Visualize multiple versions of your future and develop scenarios.
  3. Establish your stand and overall broad direction.
  4. Decide actions and strategic moves that can be applied across scenarios.
  5. Set points that trigger your organization to act at the most opportune time.

 

Develop a team dedicated to planning. They should focus on developing your modular and support your iterative planning cycle throughout the crisis.

 

[1] https://www.prosek.com/unboxed-thoughts/source-development-survey-shows-big-majority-of-reporters-prefer-phone-over-zoo/

[2] https://www.insidephilanthropy.com/home/2020/4/8/course-correction-will-the-coronavirus-crisis-upend-the-higher-ed-fundraising-model

A Promise of Accurate and Reliable Data – Learn How!

 

The promise of having accurate and reliable data is often made as a part of the implementation of a new CRM (constituent relationship management) software. It is that promise that often keeps every VP of Advancement/Development Services up at night trying to figure out how to miraculously transform over 10 years worth of information plagued by human error and evolving data entry procedures into something that is pristine, free of duplicates, and meaningful for all users. So why do we even take this on? Accurate and reliable data is critical to user adoption. There is no way of achieving all of the benefits that were listed in the project charter for this multi-million dollar system if no one uses it. So let’s take a look at how we can fulfill on this promise…

 

Continue reading “A Promise of Accurate and Reliable Data – Learn How!”

Are you learning your lessons too late?

If you are a diligent Project Sponsor and made sure that your team complied with industry best practices at the end of your project you participated in a Lessons Learned activity that pulled together the entire team to reflect on the project…

  • What worked worked well in the course of the project?
  • In what areas are there opportunities for improvement?
  • How can we get better results?

As each team members settles into the meeting usually on pins and needles expecting to be the target of rapid fire accusations for everything that went wrong. The project manager eases some of the tensions by establishing some ground rules and creating a learning environment for constructive feedback and solutions oriented thinking.

There is an uncomfortable silence until the one brave soul finally starts the conversation…

“Well, I thought adding an ice breaker to each meeting with our stakeholders got them more engaged, this turned into lively discussions and we were able to get more information about their needs, wants, expectations, and requirements. But, our method of managing the information was a little haphazard and it led to a lot of confusion and having to ask the same questions repeatedly.”

It just takes one person to start the conversation, pretty soon you can hardly keep up while one person after another chimes in with more examples. There is a frantic chorus of “oh yeah”, ” I agree”, “I remember that” as people start to dust off the cob webs of their memory to retrieve anecdotes, funny stories, unusual requests, victories, and defeats giving life to these project moments all over again.

It’s hard to disturb the conversation because you witness the natural team building and human connection that occurs during this process. The energy in the room is completely different than when meeting started, but there is still work to do. The project manager refocuses the team’s attention on the list of items identified for improvement. Its time to offer solutions and action planning – what can we do better? Once again a flurry of comments, suggestions, procedural solutions, system solutions, training solutions.

You are impressed by the wealth of information that was collected that will inform the next project. You are even more impressed by the process of collaboration, camaraderie, and collective problem solving. You compliment your Project Manager  for a job well done and feel satisfied that you are now equipped with insights for improvement.

So what happens next…


Nothing – Life goes on!

I am not making any judgements or accusations, I am just stating reality. It is rare that the lessons learned document that was created is even referenced after that initial meeting and as much as it pains me to say it, all of the great ideas for making things better in your organization are long forgotten.

So why does this happen?

This method does not take into account that there is a 90 day window where people must start seeing results to enact any real change. In other words you have 90 days to 1) clarify the idea or suggestion for improvement 2) create an action plan 3) get buy in 4) implement it (at least on a small scale) 5) measure it 6) communicate the results.

You’re probably thinking that this sounds like another project,  I don’t have time for that. What if I told you that this is possible by changing your team’s approach to the lessons learned process?

If you incorporate the lessons learned throughout your project, you will see the following benefits:

Effective Team Building – Lessons Learned activities during the project allow the team to collaborate and problem solve on real situations, not manufactured or simulated activities.

Culture of Continuous Improvement – Creating a culture of continuous improvement through frequent lessons learned activities allows for course corrections or change to occur in a timely manner. You have an opportunity to beat the 90 day time clock. Your team can actually learn the lesson and do something about it.

Increase Team Performance – Remember earlier how I described the anxiety in the room at the beginning of the lessons learned activity. This anxiety didn’t just appear, it has hampered your team throughout the project. By having lessons learned activities throughout the project, you give your team the opportunity to identify the problem, determine a solution, and move on. This eliminates a burden that often impacts performance.

If you are able realize these 3 benefits, not only have you sponsored a successful project, but you have impacted the way your team collaborates for future success. Doesn’t that seem like a lesson worth learning?

If you are the Project Sponsor for a non-profit CRM implementation and want to give your team the tools to be successful, send me a quick email at dauwn@precisionpartners.org to request a free project strategy session.

Author: Dauwn Parker, Principal Consultant – Precision Partners

This is not warm and fuzzy

I worked with one of my clients to plan the kick off meeting for their CRM Implementation project. I started with my workshop Tools and Techniques – Planning a Successful Project Kick Off Meeting and the team was brainstorming on how to meet each objective of the meeting..

Inspire – establish a context that is larger than the project

Inform – define the project, clearly communicate to users the impact of their involvement,  and establish how they will receive more information

Engage – get users involved right from the start

In prior discussions my client expressed concerns about getting their users involved in the project, so I suggested that they conduct a commitment exercise during the kick off meeting.

Here’s how it works…

  • Users  are given cards during the meeting to write down their commitment to making the project successful. To make the directions clear, you can have the cards pre-printed with “My commitment to  [Your Project Name] is …”
  • Executive leadership and project team members publicly share their commitment to the project
  • All of the cards are posted on a visual display and should be referenced throughout the project.

After explaining the commitment exercise I could tell something was wrong, the energy and excitement was sucked out of the room in a matter of seconds.  Finally, one of the project team members let the cat out of the bag – “We don’t do warm and fuzzy here, these type of activities never work”

Here is the reality…there is nothing warm and fuzzy about this commitment exercise. If you are not able to engage your users in your CRM implementation, you don’t have a chance at success.

This is the kick off meeting, the very start of the project, you are still in the honeymoon phase, if you are unable to engage your users at this stage, its time to roll up your sleeves and do some heavy lifting. The benefit of doing an exercise like this, even if it fails, it gives you a critical piece of information that you didn’t have before – are your users engaged in the project? If the answer is NO, its time to get a plan of action in place to get them engaged. This is all a part of change management and any strategies surrounding change management takes into account human responses and natural tendencies. What is clear is that people are rarely inspired by technology, but they are inspired by 1)achieving excellence 2)making a difference or knowing that their contribution made an impact 3)being a part of something bigger than themselves. With any CRM implementation the technology is a tool that enables you to achieve your organizational mission. Focus on that aspect during your kick off meeting, this is what people really care about.

So with a little trust in their project advisor, my client included the commitment exercise in the project kick off meeting – It was a huge success! 

Let me share with you what worked well…

The VP of Development gave an inspiring talk that created a context for the CRM implementation project and concluded with a clear call to action. Each person was charged with “making [the institution] a world class fundraising organization.”

The Project Manager provided clear information about the project approach and how users would get involved and most importantly the impact of their involvement on project success.

I moderated a discussion panel to inform users about Constituent Relationship Management strategies. The panelists provided their insights into the keys to success for a CRM implementation and any lessons learned from prior experiences.

The results…the board that was purchased to display the project commitments could not hold all of the cards because the response from users was overwhelming. Prior to the meeting the team was concerned that people would not even write one sentence – they wrote paragraphs about what they were willing to do to make the project a success. The users even waited in long lines to make sure that their commitment card was posted on the board for everyone to see.

If you are planning a new CRM implementation or planning the next phase of your CRM implementation and would like to increase the success of your project by having your users engaged from start to finish give me a call at 424.206.5379 or email me at dauwn@precisionpartners.org so we can set up a time to talk.

Let’s evaluate your CRM

Author: Dauwn Parker, Principal Consultant at Precision Partners

Maximizing the benefits of Constituent Relationship Management systems has become critical for organizations that are looking to solidify the long-term viability of their fundraising, advocacy, and advancement programs. This has created an urgency for organizations to find answers to the following question…

Why do so many Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementations fall short in the following ways?

    • Meeting the expectations of its users
    • Being the catalyst that transforms how the organization relates to its constituents
    • Ushering users into the age of “Self-Service”
    • Realizing the Return on Investment

THE CHALLENGE..

These common barriers to success are often the culprit that limit the success of a CRM implementation

Hurdle #1: Defining project objectives and measurable factors for success

With the pressure of developing an RFP, selecting a software vendor, packaging a project proposal and justification for board approval, magically garnering resources that are already overloaded – this critical step is often lost in the shuffle.

Hurdle #2: Implementation Preparation

CRM Implementations are often a new endeavor for an organization and the members of the project team. This often leads to the phenomenon of You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. This lack of knowledge and preparation can limit project success before it even gets started and in most cases the impact isn’t realized until the project is well underway.

Hurdle #3: Support for Project Leadership

Software implementations are demanding and projects that seek to revolutionize the way an organization interacts with its constituents increases the need for peak performance by the Project Manager. All too often the Project Manager is asked to run the implementation marathon without a coach, proper training, preparation, or continued support.

Hurdle #4: Project Team Performance

Project team members must be fully engaged to become a high performing team. Fully engaged does not equate to a dedicated resource. No matter how much or how little a person is allocated to a project, the following factors must be present for a high performing team to emerge:

  • A team identity
  • Clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and expectations
  • Above all else a commitment to the success of the team
  • Continual reinforcement that their contribution is integral to the success of the team
  • Recognition and Appreciation
  • Personal and professional growth or value in their engagement

Hurdle #5: Project Health Assessments

Project status is most often measured by whether the project is on time, within budget, and the software application is delivered according to the documented specifications. While these are important elements to monitor this does not speak to the overall health of the project. Did the methods used to deliver a quality product on time and within budget cause a loss of trust between project team members or stakeholders, disintegration of cross departmental relationships, or loss of credibility for the project sponsor or sponsoring department? Most organizations would say that any of these negative impacts are not acceptable, but it often happens in projects without a structure for prevention or intervention.

Hurdle #6: Stakeholder Engagement and User Adoption

Many projects manage to engage a core set of team members who develop a solution that they wholeheartedly believe will meet the needs of the organization. It is the biggest threat to morale when after such a strenuous effort, the software application does not meet the most basic needs of some key stakeholders and declared unusable.

If you are currently facing these challenges that are threatening the success of your CRM implementation, Precision Partners Project Advisory Services is your solution.  

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