Guest post by Lisa Fay
This is a typical scenario: your current CRM isn’t up to the task of automating today’s constituent needs. You spend time on frustrating manual work and you still don’t get it right. You are learning about the products on the market such as NGO Connect. Does this sound familiar?
If you’re reading this, you know NGO Connect is modern, versatile and easily customized – most importantly, it can meet your current and future needs effectively and quickly.
As you work through your current scenario, let me share some real world considerations from my past life as a nonprofit executive.
- First of all: build a staffing plan that actually focuses on the work more than the staff. Generally, it’s difficult getting the full IT headcount needed, not to mention the niche expertise. Most nonprofit CEOs aren’t going to spring for a 50 person IT development team. I know, it may as well be 10. Or two. Which brings me to my next point.
- Outsourcing is good. When you engage with roundCorner, you are getting a level of expertise, fluidity and seamless service to do what you need to do without adding headcount. Additionally, these arrangements come “worry-free”. Nobody knows NGO Connect and its connected products better than roundCorner.
- Sure, you want to replicate your core mandatory processes but use your NGO Connect project to build new processes. And you want to lose processes. Be brave. You’re not embarking on this project to replicate exactly what you have. When we moved to a new CRM system, we ‘lost’ a lot of outdated and unnecessary processes (and data). And nobody said a peep.
- Your conversations about strategy should not include systems. If you pick the right product and right vendor partner, assume they can support your needs. Ask. What is the ideal fundraising and engagement model? How should we interact with our constituents? Who are our constituents? Who should our constituents be? What is our highest value data and what should we do with it? For today and in 5 years.
- Finally, your work with NGO Connect is never complete. Nor should it be, because NGO Connect is an application that can and should evolve. That’s why you selected it (or are considering it)! It’s never too late to have strategy conversations. This mindset – that the work is never done and that’s expected – requires change management. Back in my time as a nonprofit executive, we created a new feature request process as part of our PMO. We had a questionnaire where the submitter had to detail requirements, process and their impact. Additionally, we required manager sign-off certifying that this feature is important. A diverse committee voted on submissions, it went to senior management for consideration and nearly all the top items were implemented and mostly by vendor partners.
To conclude, the right tools, the right team, the right processes, and the right engagement (and marketing) strategy can help you constantly evolve how your organization works and interacts with constituents. As a result, this enables you to achieve a greater impact.
Lisa Fay Wellek is a consultant with roundCorner. She has worked in the nonprofit sector – university, membership and health sectors – for 20 years with focus on integrating CRM with fundraising. She was with JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) for 10 years in various roles including Chief of Staff for Development and most recently, National Director of CRM Strategy. Outside of work, she is studying to be a personal trainer.