This is a question that causes many executive decision-makers and nonprofit IT managers to lose sleep at night. After springing for an expensive constituent relationship management (CRM) solution, the gnawing doubt sets in about the decision to invest in that particular platform. Is this software too much or too little for what we need it to do? How hard will it be for our people to get up to speed on it and have it start making a significant – and positive – difference in how we interact with our donors, volunteers, and other key constituents?
Technology Strategies for Nonprofits & Higher EdBetter engage with your constituents, more effectively deliver your services, expand the impact of your mission – these are the key strategic goals of forward-thinking organizations. Contemporary strategies and technologies offer a wide array of options to help you realize these goals. For 20 years we’ve been helping nonprofits develop and align their strategies, technology and operations. Find out how we can help your organization >>
When considering the CRM landscape today, it’s important to think about both technology and the context that drives it. Ideally, we’d say that the strategic needs of organizations have driven technological development. While that’s partially true, it remains the case that some organizations allow technology to drive their strategies instead.
Have you ever championed or a led a project to introduce new fundraising technology at your organization, only to have users ask for things to stay exactly the same?
Getting leadership approval and budget in place may seem like the largest hurdles, but a lesser known challenge is ensuring all stakeholders are on board. Ultimately, the success of any technology project lies in whether people adopt and use the tools to improve their work.
It’s hard to believe that 2018 has come and almost gone. We’ve tackled big problems for our clients, solved challenging technology puzzles and collaborated to put forth some of our best work to date. Before we look ahead to an exciting 2019, we chatted with some of our team members about their 2018 reflections and what work inspired them this year.
There’s a reason many of us put off getting a cell phone until we have to: for the first couple days (or weeks, in some cases), everything takes longer. There’s the upfront investment of time to set preferences the way you like them, authenticate passwords, and learn which buttons do what when. Getting a new device makes you think again, makes you pay attention. It can be tiresome, inconvenient and sometimes frustrating. This same scenario plays out on a large scale across organizations when making a large technology change, and it’s called a productivity dip.
I’m happy to be attending the NetHope Global Summit in Dublin and Microsoft is shaking things up with the announcement of a new wave of development on nonprofit technology within their Dynamics CRM offerings. After decades of providing their software and other solutions for free to nonprofits, a generous but uncomplicated offering, they are now proactively leveraging their commercial solutions to address nonprofit needs. In our firm’s twenty-plus years perhaps the only equivalent event has been the dramatic expansion of Salesforce.org’s presence in the marketplace over the last several years. They have similarly leveraged commercial solutions and in the process disrupted the tight hold on the nonprofit technology market that Blackbaud had enjoyed. This time, however, Blackbaud is embracing these developments and making their own important moves. At the same time, Salesforce.org continues its ongoing innovation. Let’s unpack what this all looks like, and what it may mean for your organization.
I attended an ACMP Texas event in September and one session particularly inspired me. Lanette Ferguson of TEKsystems presented on the idea of using Journey Maps as a change management tool in technology implementations and I thought it was so awesome, I created a version that could be used for nonprofit tech projects.
Your organization is stuck in the 20th century, technology-wise and it’s taking a toll on your ability to work effectively. You turn to a new, shiny CRM system that promises to address all your needs and help your team make a big impact. The implementation project starts. Everyone seems to be on board. But as time goes on, the stress of learning new technology piled onto normal everyday tasks begins to wear on employees and morale diminishes. The excitement at the beginning of the project has faded, productivity is dropping, and you’re wondering what could have been done differently to ensure project success.
With nearly 200 sessions specifically for nonprofits, over 3,000 sessions total and about 170,000 attendees, Dreamforce 2018 will certainly be an engaging event. It can be overwhelming to figure out how to make the most of it, but the good news is, there is plenty going on, so even if you miss the mark on a couple of your selections or find you really need a nap halfway through day 2, you’ll still get your money’s worth. That said, we do have a couple tips for making the most of it.
We noticed something that mirrors our own experience with clients: last year analytics and online marketing were a huge emphasis, with a lot of new announcements about Einstein, Marketing Cloud and other marketing tools. While there are still great sessions about those things, there is a greater range of sessions on nonprofit functional areas. You can find sessions on volunteer management, call and service center, program analytics and more. This is what we’ve seen in the sector too: amazing organizations rolling up their sleeves and coming up with smart ways to use Salesforce to improve their work across their organizations. Analytics and automation are not just promising buzzwords, but practical tools being used to get the work done. What’s better than that?
Below is a list of the sessions that caught our eyes. We hope you have a great time and we hope to see you there!