4 min read

Nonprofit Database Admins: Your Voice is Critical to CRM Implementation Success, So Don't Hold Back

Nonprofit database admins, you’ve been told your organization is getting a new CRM system. So you steel yourself for more training and more time spent on a new system that you didn’t get a say in. And you know the likelihood of that new system doing what you need it to do isn’t so great.

You’re less than thrilled. But what can you do?

Since CRM implementations are usually led by the executive team and a few department heads, there is only one narrow view of how your system is used. And that one narrow view influences the course of everyone’s experiences.

But you know better: There are many ways in which your CRM can be leveraged, and focusing implementation on leadership’s narrow view isn’t going to work.

As part of the staff constantly working in your CRM, you should be one of the biggest voices heading into an implementation. After all, it’s you who drives the day-to-day actions in your CRM that influence leadership’s top objectives: user adoption, governance, and the long-term success of your organization’s CRM, to name a few.

Fortunately, there is a better way to give you and your fellow staff a voice when your nonprofit embarks on a new CRM implementation. It’s a process that encourages dialogue to share your perspective and finally reach solutions that can make your life easier this time — and positively change the trajectory of your nonprofit.

Why You Should Start Speaking Up Before a CRM Implementation Even Starts

If you’ve been around the CRM implementation block, you’ve probably been asked by an implementation consultant about how you input data. But have you been invited to go deeper and go so far as to complain?

That’s right, complain. “Complain” isn’t a dirty word! In fact, it should be part of every organization’s lexicon because it can pave the way for CRM implementation success. And here’s why.

As the staff who knows the CRM like the back of your hand, you’re the first and best source of truth in understanding the ins and outs of your organization’s system. So when you are given space to complain about your system and processes, you have a chance to share valuable information that can be leveraged.

At Now IT Matters, we call this dialogue process “Guidance.” It’s a game-changer for organizations that need to solve the root causes of many CRM and process issues. When you speak up, you can positively impact:

  • CRM processes for all
  • Greater user adoption
  • The capacity for change when the new technology comes online
  • Better insight results for your organization
  • Harmonious changes to everyone's day-to-day work life
  • Increased morale

Complaining so openly to your leadership may not come naturally to you. And that’s ok. When there’s a system in place for you to do so, you should trust that your input is taken seriously. And, if nothing else, letting off a little steam allows you to relax your shoulders and carry on knowing that you are being heard.

At Now IT Matters, we’ve guided many organizations through this process of starting a dialogue, encouraging complaining to uncover what’s really happening behind the scenes — and identifying potential for real, long-lasting change that surpasses your implementation cycle.

Get Ready For It: How to Make Your CRM Implementation Easier to Handle

Change isn’t easy for many people, especially when you don’t fully understand how or why it’s happening. But when your organization goes the route of dialogue and candid feedback to solve unsurfaced problems, the inevitable change can be digested a lot easier.

As a database administrator, being asked (read: told) to participate in a CRM implementation discovery process is work on top of your existing tasks. So is testing and training in the new system. Needless to say, all this change and increase in responsibilities is disruptive to your already-at-capacity workload.

But working with an implementation partner like Now IT Matters helps everyone better understand the who, what, when, where, and whys of this change. You’re better supported to navigate the implementation in a way that isn’t overwhelming. Plus, you know what to expect.

The way it happens looks like this:

  1. We get your leaders to listen. Perhaps you feel like your leaders already have an open door policy, but this is different. We set up a specific structure to solicit your feedback, whether it’s through 1:1 meetings with your leadership, a town hall meeting that everyone joins, or anonymous surveys — to name a few. You should trust that your feedback is taken seriously and therefore feel free to give it candidly.
  2. We create a system of accountability. Whenever enough feedback is collected, your leadership will address it. They’ll aim to mitigate challenges, solve issues, and prioritize to-dos for full transparency. Your feedback should inspire solutions, or at the very least, an understanding of why certain pain points can’t be resolved right now. We’ll help leadership schedule recurring meetings to address your feedback and provide transparency. These meetings will update you on the progress of solutions or explain why something is being stalled.
  3. We measure your progress. How do you know if your organization is on the right track if you don’t keep track of your progress? We create dashboards and systems that can tell you the progress being made through your feedback and solution sessions. For example, we’ll talk about the number of triaged issues in a month or the number of solutions created. Like a scorecard, this will help you follow along in your organization’s path to change.

You Have the Power to Chart the Course of Your Nonprofit’s CRM Implementation

It’s never too late to be the change your organization needs to get on the right track with a CRM implementation. You may have to step outside your comfort zone and do something you’re not used to doing: Giving candid, no-holds-barred feedback.

But in the end, you’ll be a catalyst for long-lasting change that goes far beyond your CRM implementation cycle. You’ll inspire the need for continuous improvement through candid dialogue, spurring solutions, and transparency that make everyone’s life easier.

If your nonprofit is ready for a change, let’s connect.