In today’s financial crises many organizations are facing the same paradox when considering the implementation of a constituent relationship management (CRM) platform. On one hand, many organizations are struggling to maintain their core activities and essential services. Therefore, it is the wrong time for them to implement new technology, both in terms of the organizational change such systems require and it’s cost.
On the other hand, precisely at a time of cutbacks, many argue that it’s time to become more efficient. Implementation of a CRM can help strengthen the organization’s capacity to fundraise and provide better social return on the philanthropic investments.
Unfortunately, I have no magic solution, but I can offer some tips for a smoother CRM implementation.
CRM is not a tool just for the executive director or the board; it should serve their needs, however, if your development or education teams will not use the platform the implementation will fail. Therefore, you should form a team that will represent all the future users and have them involved in all stages of the implementation, from choosing the right system to the ongoing training and support.
2. The Face of the System
You must select the right people to be “the face of the system” and invest in them! Provide them with additional tutorials, and continuously ask them what should be done to make the system more user-friendly.
3. Use the Management
It is important that the organization’s management will publicly support the system and talk about the value it will bring to the organization. I know a CEO who recorded a short and funny video clip to explaining how the system advances the organization’s mission. This gave a boost to the rest of the team and made the process more enjoyable.
4. Drive Traffic to Salesforce
When the users will use Salesforce, they will understand that it can make their lives much easier. First, you should make sure they know how to log in. I know that it sounds silly and simple; nevertheless, I found that it can be quiet challenging for some people. Spend some time on this in the training.
Second, use the Salesforce features. For example, don’t send meeting summaries as attachments. Upload them to Salesforce and send an email with a link to the file. Use the Ideas module to vote on ideas – not only on the future of the organization. You can also vote on food for the next organization’s meeting 🙂