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Questions to Ask Before Your Next Data Migration

Guest Post by Steve Weber, Causeview

At Causeview, we often find ourselves welcoming new nonprofit clients to our family who have used a wide range of fundraising and event management solutions. They come to us looking for a better way to manage their data.

For those who have never undertaken a CRM data migration project though, there’s often the misconception that it’s a simple, technical exercise of mapping and moving data from old fields to new fields. But that’s not the entire picture.

In reality, it’s both a technical and a business exercise with many factors determining how your organization can ensure it has the best data and the best system for your needs today, and for years to come.


Undertaking a Data Migration Takes Planning

If your nonprofit is considering a data migration in the near future, you can start planning now by asking some preliminary questions:

  • What use cases and critical functionality do you need to preserve? What are the underlying data implications?
  • What compromises can you make to simplify the data migration?  Should you consider excluding records based on such factors as:
    • Excluding the migration of contacts older than 10 years?
    • Removing custom fields that are only used by a handful of records?
  • What new data/functionality do you need to support?
  • How will the design and customization of the target CRM impact the new data structure?
  • What are your data reporting requirements and does the data model support those needs?
  • Do you need to work with a data migration partner to support the planning and execution of your data migration?


Choosing a Migration Partner

An experienced data migration partner, like Cloud for Good, will walk you through the planning stage and help you make the best decision for your organization. If your new CRM implementation will also be customized to meet your business needs, choosing a partner that can manage both needs, will ensure fewer conflicts and a smoother transition.

Your Partner will be able to recommend the ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools you need for both the source and target systems, and they may also offer custom tools to handle some common situations. Cloud for Good’s Over the Edge product, for example, is designed to ease the migration from the popular (but dated) Raiser’s Edge solution to based Cloud solutions like Causeview.

Extraction and loading are fundamental steps in almost any data migration, and needs to be scheduled to minimize any gaps in the extracted and imported data sets. The data transformation however, depends significantly on the complexity of your source data and any rules that you have decided to implement to cleanse, de-duplicate and otherwise limit the data being moved into your new system.

Regardless of the complexity of the transformation though, a solid data validation plan and test runs of the data loading scripts, as well as a post migration validation, is vital to ensuring a robust CRM that can handle all your requirements.


About Steve: 
Steve Weber is VP, Business Development at Causeview.  Causeview is a based fundraising, events and volunteer management CRM that makes it easy for nonprofits to nurture meaningful relationships, drive engagement and maximize fundraising potential by liberating your organization from manual administrative work.