If you’re hearing a lot more about change management these days, it’s not surprising.
Change management helps businesses of all types adapt to change of all types, with minimal disruption to their work. In our hyper-changing world, change management is no longer a “nice to have.” It’s a must have.
But, as a nonprofit leader, you want to be sure that change management is worth the cost, time, and effort for your organization.
So, let’s take a look at the impact of change on your organization and how change management can help.
Like most businesses, nonprofits have seen extraordinary changes over the past year and a half. Today, organizations continue to face changes due to the global pandemic, including:
Add to that list any other shifts an organization might be going through, plus personal changes in staff members’ lives, and most nonprofit staffers will say there are simply too many. This change saturation — when the amount of change exceeds the ability to handle it — can lead to change fatigue. And, change fatigue poses threats to new projects that you need to roll out. These threats include:
In this environment, projects can go sideways. What might otherwise be a low-to-medium risk project becomes a medium-to-high risk one.
This threat of change fatigue to your organization’s future is one you can’t ignore.
Dive deeper into change management techniques with The Nonprofit’s Guide to Change Management
This is where change management shines. Change management is a framework and a set of resources that help prepare an organization to launch and adopt a new project — such as a new technology implementation and rollout — as smoothly as possible. It helps ease the path toward transition by building buy-in among people impacted by the change, providing information they need to understand and adapt to a new normal, supporting them through the transition, and reinforcing behaviors that are required for them to be successful.
While a successful project launch and increased user adoption of new processes and technology are the ultimate goals of change management, here are some other benefits you can expect to see in your organization as a result of a strong change management plan:
Here’s an example of change management for nonprofits in the real world: The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) was in the midst of a massive project to restructure from a de-centralized organization to one national organization. The organization was also merging with two other nonprofit organizations and facing a reduction in staff and revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you can imagine, this technology change impacted the entire organization. Preparing staff for the change was critically important to the success of the project.
To ensure a smooth transition, the Heller Consulting team worked closely with CCS to apply proven change management techniques — including a vision for the project, a master timeline, and a staff communications plan — which paved the way for successful technology change.
Change management is about preparing your organization for a new project — often a process and/or technology change. It’s a way to identify and manage resistance your staff might have before, during, and after the transition.
Change fatigue can lead to a lack of user adoption — one of the most common reasons new process and technology implementations fail. By having a change management plan in place, you can improve team satisfaction with your project and reduce risk involved with the change.
Learn more key concepts, tips, and real-life examples of nonprofit change successes. Read the paper, The Nonprofit’s Guide to Change Management.