Implement Your Nonprofit’s CRM The Right Way

Image courtesy of Cabbage Tree Solutions
Image courtesy of Cabbage Tree Solutions

So you’ve invested in a constituent relationship management system (CRM). Now what?

Like any tech implementation, there are problems that will undoubtedly arise. Difficulties getting staff to buy-in and initial growing pains are to be expected.

Here are 3 common problems nonprofits face when implementing their CRM, and strategies to help avoid them in your implementation process.
  1. Poor prioritization

    After investing in your CRM, you’ve undoubtedly been smitten with some new features and capabilities of your platform. And if you’re like me, you’ve been so excited about this new technology you had to communicate your excitement to your team.


    Getting everyone informed and fired up about your new investment is a good thing, but be careful, some CRMs can be so robust and feature rich that it can be overwhelming. Through proper planning and prioritization, however, your nonprofit can implement your new CRM and not skip a beat.


    Choose the features, applications, and an initial goal for your nonprofit’s use of your new CRM, and look to achieve that first. Narrow the scope of your employees who will be utilizing this CRM to ensure they stay focused on that initial goal you’re looking to accomplish. This way, your employees will not become shell shocked by the capabilities of the software and waste time lost in tool bars when they could be accomplishing your nonprofit’s mission.

  2. Fatigue

    Let’s face it, we’re all human. A difficult fact to accept for some, but still a fact of life.


    As a result of this unassailable fact, we and our employees may become jaded, or become less excited about a new project or tech implementation. They can become sloppy with their work, miss the simple details, become slow responding to email, and even start missing deadlines. This can become particularly chronic during long implementations.


    Communication is key to fight slipping enthusiasm. Explicitly define each employee’s role and communicate that role to the rest of the team. Delineate to the group, and individually, exactly where each employee fits in the puzzle, and how they’re contributing to the final goal. Set milestones and celebrate those with the team when the’ve been reached. Take this time to remind them of the project’s purpose, how much they are helping the entire organization, and how this project will help your nonprofit accomplish its mission.

  3. Vendor Management

    Your nonprofit likely has a platform vendor, an online content vendor, vendors pushing emails, a lockbox vendor, a technical vendor, an outside vendor managing the implementation, and maybe even a few more. Missing even one deliverable can trigger an untold number of negative reactions that can prove detrimental to your CRM implementation. Managing all these relationships can be a daunting task, but with the right plan in place, it can be a breeze.


    Have a written plan that details how each vendor plays a role in your implementation, contact information, and understand exactly what each vendor will provide and when they are expected to provide it. Use this information to produce a comprehensive timeline detailing when the project is expected to be completed, and some milestones throughout. Be firm with expectations, and push your team to the finish line.

Implementing any technology can be difficult. But with the right planning, and communication, it can be a breeze. Avoid these 3 pitfalls and see success with your tech implementation.

Topics: data, npTech, VolunteerConnect, Industry News, Tech, CRM, database, nonprofit technology, volunteers, nonprofit

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