Nonprofits Sharing Expertise in San Francisco


The nonprofit community has seen an increase in the variety of CRM technology solutions available to help them increase their fundraising, communicate with their constituents, and ultimately deliver their mission. Many organizations are finding it challenging to select the right solution. The fact is, developing a successful nonprofit CRM requires more than straightforward feature comparison between different solutions. It requires an understanding of existing successful processes and thoughtful consideration of future strategies. It’s also helpful to hear what similar organizations are doing and how they are addressing their planning, implementation, and transition challenges.

Learning from experience

On February 1 two dozen executives from San Francisco-based nonprofits gathered together to share their perspectives on CRM and learn effective methods to approach CRM planning challenges. The event featured speakers Laura Peabody-Park from Guide Dogs for the Blind and Darrell Byers from Easter Seals Bay Area and was hosted by Heller Consulting and To start the day, Laura, Darrell, and Keith Heller discussed the process for developing a CRM vision, and how each organization is preparing for the upcoming phases of their implementations. While Keith and the Heller team have years of experience with CRM initiatives, hearing from executives actively involved in a transition provided an insightful first-hand perspective for all attendees.

Details on NPSP

After a short break, the team led the next presentation sharing how Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) can serve as a powerful platform serving multiple departments and initiatives. They provided a brief history of how NPSP has evolved into a customizable package flexible enough to serve the unique requirements of individual nonprofits. They ended with a demonstration of the newest and most requested features that have been added in recent months.

Making CRM a reality

Keith took over for the final presentation of the day introducing a typical CRM planning process. He outlined common CRM barriers, how to effectively clarify goals, and efficient project phasing over the course of an implementation. He also explained the importance of understanding the organization’s readiness for change as well as effective change management strategies. At the end of the morning, attendees received a snapshot of how prepared their team is for a CRM initiative, and how their status is similar to other organizations.

Ready for next time

For a half-day luncheon event, attendees received a substantial amount of information on CRM and how to launch a successful CRM initiative. If you would like the presentation materials to review you can sign up to download them here, and be sure to subscribe to our site or follow us on LinkedIn for notifications of upcoming events. With the positive feedback we received, we certainly plan for more in-person events in other areas of the country in the coming months.

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Additional Resources

Making CRM a Reality White PaperMaking Your CRM Aspiration a Reality

This paper assembles our years of experience developing strategies and systems for nonprofits. It provides a practical framework for bringing together people, technology, service and strategy and managing the change it takes to bring CRM aspirations to fruition.

Change -TH Whitepaper_SquareManaging Technology Change at Enterprise Nonprofits

The fact is while change is often necessary and healthy, it can a disruptive force, and is rarely easy. Interestingly, it’s our response to change that determines whether we feel positive or negative about what’s happening. Download this paper to learn factors that influence an organization’s response to change, a process for managing change, and how managing change effectively can impact the success of a nonprofit organization’s CRM and technology initiatives.

About the author

Brad West

Brad has worked with more than a thousand nonprofits in his career, helping them make sound technology decisions to work more efficiently, raise more funds, and achieve their long-term strategic goals. He started with one of the pioneering firms in this industry, Master Systems, which developed fundraising and fund accounting systems for very large nonprofits such as Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Stanford Children’s Hospital, and St. John’s University. That firm was ultimately acquired by Blackbaud, where he spent 17 years working with nonprofits and educational institutions of all sizes & shapes. Brad's goal is to fully understand what organizations are trying to achieve and to design a service that gets as close to that goal as possible.

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