Takeaways for Advancement Services Professionals from AASP Summit 2022 - Heller Consulting

Takeaways for Advancement Services Professionals from AASP Summit 2022

We had the privilege of joining advancement services professionals from higher education and nonprofit organizations at the AASP Summit 2022 in September. In our conversations at the Heller Consulting booth, the networking event we sponsored with our friends at UC Innovation and DonorDrive, and throughout the conference, one thing was clear: Advancement professionals are preparing technologically for the future.

The topics that seem to be on most attendees’ minds fell into these categories:

  • How to move off of a customer relationship management (CRM) system that no longer works for them
  • What to do with a CRM system that isn’t ideal, but that they don’t have the option to leave due to budget or other considerations
  • How to make it easier for leaders and staff at their organization to access the data they need from the organization’s database(s) when they need it – versus relying on IT staff or a “power user” to help them
  • How to continue to get the job done when they have staff leave and haven’t yet backfilled the positions

Tech tips and resources for advancement professionals

These are big challenges. However, with the right approaches, you can tackle them in a way that not only helps your organization survive, but also thrive.

Here are some of our top tips:

  • Find the right CRM solution for your organization.

If you know that your CRM system isn’t doing what you need it to do, and you’re ready to make a change, don’t go straight into software shopping. Instead of comparing lists of software features, take a more modern approach to software selection.

Keep in mind that choosing software is no longer just about replacing one software product with another. Today, it’s more about considering your organization’s goals and selecting a mix of technology that works together to help you achieve your mission most effectively – even if you don’t implement all of the software products right away.

Thinking about a move to Salesforce? Read our guides for what you should know:

Transforming Advancement and Fundraising in Higher Education with Salesforce

What to Know About Salesforce Solutions for Nonprofits

  • Optimize the CRM system you have.

What about if switching software isn’t an option? There might be ways to optimize your current technology to meet your needs. For example, if you’re using Salesforce, which is a powerful tool for advancement professionals, keep in mind that the platform is always evolving, and you might not be using it to its full potential. Stay current on the latest tools and enhancements, and take advantage of trainings offered by your software vendor.

Do you need new technology, or can you work with what you already have? Read the guide, What to Consider Before Replacing Your CRM, to find out.

  • Put data tools to work for your organization.
    Making it easier for your leaders and staff to access the data they need when they need it allows for a level of self-service that leads to greater efficiency and more informed decision making – which can be extremely helpful, especially if you’re down a staff member or two.Whether you’re implementing a new technology system or you need to optimize the tools you already have, be sure to:

    • Set up standard reports and dashboards to make it easier for staff members to access the data they need.
    • Provide training for your staff so they can create and modify reports and dashboards as their needs change.
    • If you’re using the Salesforce platform, or a solution such as ascend, which is a higher ed advancement solution based on the Salesforce platform, be sure to take advantage of the multiple ways the platform allows you to access and view your data.

No matter how good your reports and dashboard might be, they won’t work optimally without good, clean, reliable data. Discover top tips for data management in the guide, 4 Tips to Better Manage Your Nonprofit’s Data.

Take the next step.

If you’re an advancement professional looking for technology solutions to help reach your organization’s goals, the Heller Consulting team is ready to assist. We help nonprofits and higher education institutions find the best technology solutions for their specific needs.

So, if you’re considering a move to a new system, or need to get more out of the system you already have, contact us to get started. We’ll work with you to evaluate the systems you have, choose the right solutions to meet your needs, and build a tech strategy that serves you now and keeps your organization going strong.

About the Authors

Paige Deegan
Paige brings more than 16 years of nonprofit development and communications experience to the Heller team. Whether serving as a team leader, gift officer, annual fund manager, grant writer or vaunted one-person shop, she has worked in a variety of... Read More
Shane Sugino
For the past decade, Shane has helped Higher Education institutions transform their operations and innovate in the cloud. Prior to joining Heller Consulting, Shane held roles in Financial Services, Healthcare, and technology, and he now brings that expertise while leading... Read More

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