Plan for Successful Implementation


In today’s financial crises many organizations are facing the same paradox when considering the implementation of a constituent relationship management (CRM) platform. On one hand, many organizations are struggling to maintain their core activities and essential services. Therefore, it is the wrong time for them to implement new technology, both in terms of the organizational change such systems require and it’s cost.

On the other hand, precisely at a time of cutbacks, many argue that it’s time to become more efficient. Implementation of a CRM can help strengthen the organization’s capacity to fundraise and provide better social return on the philanthropic investments.

Unfortunately, I have no magic solution, but I can offer some tips for a smoother CRM implementation.

1. Collaborate

CRM is not a tool just for the executive director or the board; it should serve their needs, however, if your development or education teams will not use the platform the implementation will fail. Therefore, you should form a team that will represent all the future users and have them involved in all stages of the implementation, from choosing the right system to the ongoing training and support.

2. The Face of the System

You must select the right people to be “the face of the system” and invest in them! Provide them with additional tutorials, and continuously ask them what should be done to make the system more user-friendly.

3. Use the Management

It is important that the organization’s management will publicly support the system and talk about the value it will bring to the organization. I know a CEO who recorded a short and funny video clip to explaining how the system advances the organization’s mission. This gave a boost to the rest of the team and made the process more enjoyable.

4. Drive Traffic to Salesforce

When the users will use Salesforce, they will understand that it can make their lives much easier. First, you should make sure they know how to log in. I know that it sounds silly and simple; nevertheless, I found that it can be quiet challenging for some people. Spend some time on this in the training.

Second, use the Salesforce features. For example, don’t send meeting summaries as attachments. Upload them to Salesforce and send an email with a link to the file. Use the Ideas module to vote on ideas – not only on the future of the organization. You can also vote on food for the next organization’s meeting 🙂

Do you have something to add? What did you do to better implement your system and what did you do wrong? Please comment on this post.

One Response to “Plan for Successful Implementation”

  1. Gerald S. "Sandy" Graham, MBA, MS Economics Says:

    Strategic planning provides the comprehensive strategy for attaining a successful implementation of a constituent relationship management (CRM) platform, and lays out the course of action, mission, objectives, business initiatives and end result. Strategic planning includes business plan development, where a business plan is the actual roadmap you will follow to accomplish your business initiatives, objectives, mission and course of action. It provides the ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘when’ you will accomplish these and by ‘who’—you and your team. Your strategic plan translates your vision into actionable steps you will follow to achieve it, what you follow to achieve it, what you have envisioned becomes realty through and by strategic planning, specifically through your business plan. A plan is a series of steps, actions and activities that are followed to attain a goal or goals. A business plan encompasses these and includes end result projections with estimated sales revenue and financial statements, descriptions of core competencies and management team, market analyses including competitor assessment, competitive advantages, market opportunity, and market entry point, and risks, exit strategy.

    Jack P. Friedman [Corporate Strategic Planning (Dictionary of Business Terms, Barron’s Business Guides: 2000) pp 145-146] defines strategic planning as “a management process involving determination of the long-term objectives of the organization and adoption of specific action plans for attaining these objectives. There are five interrelated elements of strategic planning including: 1] analysis of the market environment; 2] establishing objectives; 3] performing a situational or SWOT analysis; 4] selecting alternative strategies; and 5] implementation and monitoring the strategic plan.” The emphasis is on the corporation or business entity. However, it fundamentally comes down to your immediate organization structure, and then what you envision it to be when you attain your growth objectives.

    A strategic plan typically entails:

    1. Vision
    2. Core values
    3. Mission, purpose,
    a. Why your company exits,
    b. Why you are in business
    4. Success factors
    5. Action steps
    a. Milestones
    6. Goals
    7. SWOT Analysis
    a. Strengths
    b. Weaknesses
    c. Opportunities
    d. Threats
    8. Balanced Scorecard Framework
    a. Internal Business Core Competencies
    b. Financial Objectives
    c. Learning and Growth- Innovation
    d. Customer-Client Needs
    9. Approach or road map to achieve goals
    a. Measured by milestones and
    b. Attained thru action steps
    10. Business objective
    a. End result

    The strategic plan will address four critical questions: Who are we? What do we do? Where do we want to go? How do we get there?

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