Do you need to Jump Start your Database Implementation?
You implemented your Database Software, tweaked it to make it your own, integrated it with other systems like Marketing Automation system, and trained your staff, members, and donors on how to use it… So Now what? In this article, we wanted to address a typical challenge which many Nonprofit Executives face with various Database Software systems (Membership, Donor, and CRM) to run their organization. And, that is keeping the “Love” going with your database initially and long term.
Here are your Lucky 7 tips to maximize adoption of your database in your company.
Create Project Goals for the Database Software Project—and Publicize them
You need to be able to track usage and success, so start by creating measureable Smart goals. Once you’ve got them, those goals should be clearly communicated to the end users from the executive team; this keeps you focused, aligned, and accountable.
Create some Energy and Fire tied to KPI’s
Every nonprofit should have some goals. So, whether it’s membership or donor key performance indicators put them down and track your progress initially and long term. People—especially those tied to performance metrics—are naturally attracted to best themselves. So offer up a few friendly contests to encourage usage among the staff. Create dashboards, leaderboards, and reports with your Donor Management System or Membership Management Systems to track progress. Be sure to provide some rewards along the way.
Executive Directors Need to Lead by example.
I understand it’s difficult for many large nonprofit executives to get to wrapped up into the enterprise wide system. But, for Mid to Small associations, you have to get everyone in the trenches and that includes the Executive Directors! This cannot be relegated to the IT staff or the Membership department to lead. It’s important for managers and execs to know the ins-and-outs of the system, too. It builds both trust and buy-in from everyone. Besides, if your CEO or Executive Director is checking donor contribution or membership level data, you can be sure your staff will keep on top of key indicators which are important to you.
Measure what Matters!
At the end of the day, it makes no sense to spend one dime, if your nonprofit doesn’t use the software. Create an adoption report to determine who’s using the system and how. It’s an easy way to identify your rock star power users… and the ones that need an additional nudge. With a system like Nimble AMS, you can start-up a Chatter group to discuss adoption challenges and get user feedback. You may even use a private social media solution like HigherLogic which can integrated with many Association Management Software and Donor Management solutions.
Train, Train, & Re-Train.
When was the last time your staff had formal training? We have to remind many that training isn’t a one-time thing; it’s something you’ll need to re-visit again and again. Train your current staff, of course, but also be sure to have a training plan for new hires. Remind users where they can find training materials as needed; you can even offer incentives for employees that proactively seek out training. Document! Document! Did I mention that you need to document your processes!
It’s easy to explain the organizational benefits of your membership or donor database software right after the 1st check has been written. However, as time wears on, there are less obvious perks remembered for the individuals using it. Make sure employee know how the system will help them—and make those benefits so obvious that they see no alternative. Increase buy-in by encouraging them to provide feedback and make suggestions for improvement.
Attend Membership Software User Group Conferences & Events
Many software partner vendors have a users group such as HUG, NiUG, P Connect, AUG. With participation, your staff will have immediate feedback with users, allow for sharing of war stories from Vietnam, & special influence opportunities with the vendors updates in technology. In my personal experience, clients who participate in a user group are always the most satisfied and get the most out of their investment. Sign up for one now!
We can’t emphasize enough how critical it is that your organization get off to a good start with your Database Software project whatever the flavor (CRM, Membership, or Donor). But, even as important is the ability to sustain the energy and the passion which once existed when you first purchased the software. You need to continue the “LOVE”.
These are just several ways which you may consider. What are others? Let me know your thoughts. Until then, keep SmartThoughts in mind.