4 key points to take the stress out of switching to a CRM
Stressed out over CRM? No need to be!
Switching can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be
Donor relationship management (aka CRM, for customer relationship management) systems integrate data and make it easier to slice and dice and otherwise manipulate it. They can simplify life for nonprofit staff in a big way.
For some nonprofits, especially new or smaller ones, switching from comfortable spreadsheets to CRMs can feel intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are some ways to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
- Choose wisely. It starts with choosing the right donor relationship management system. It might be tempting to let your IT team pick the system, and it does indeed help to have their input. But the IT folks aren’t the ones who’ll be using the CRM. Find the people who will — your fundraisers, event and volunteer managers, and communications team — get their buy-in from the start and make sure they’re comfortable with, excited with even, using whatever donor management tool you choose
- Purge, purge, purge. Be sure not to pollute your brand-spankin’ new customer relationship management system with old, useless data. You wouldn’t bother hiring movers to pack up and haul your closet full of bridesmaid’s dresses and clothes you haven’t worn since 1972, would you? OK, maybe you would, but you get the idea.
- Test early, train late. Once the decision is made on which CRM works best for your organization, it’s important to test, test, test, and get things running as smoothly as possible before training. Things can change as you get your new system going, so it’s best not to waste staff time (and patience) by training them too early on a system that might change a number of times before it’s truly ready to go.
- Choose a go-live date and stick with it. Make sure that everyone who’ll be using the donor relationship management system is aware of exactly when the switch will happen. Allow ample time for training and let everyone know what’s expected and when, so there’s no reason to push the start date. People will always have questions and even fears over making a big change. But proper training and communication can keep things moving forward.
Switching to a donor relationship management system doesn’t have to be intimidating. And in the end, it’s more than worth it in terms of resources and productivity.
Thanks for reading!
– Your friends at NonprofitLibrary
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