It is clear, a Membership Management Software project can provide great rewards and commensurately significant challenges to many associations embarking on an implementation initiative of association software. In this article, I share a few insights to help possibly avoid pitfalls in your next association software implementation project. One hint: Crossing fingers doesn’t help!
Implementation Tips for Association Software Projects
Do you remember the classic movie tale from 1978 called Animal House with John Belushi and Kevin Bacon? For most, it has likely been some time, therefore, let me refresh your memory. In the grand finale of the movie, a local peace keeper, played by Kevin Bacon, is charged with keeping order with the crowd and stood watch while complete “Armageddon” transpired during the Faber Homecoming Parade calmly stating to the panicked and unruly crowd, “Relax, All is well, All is Well!”.
For some, this scene may paint a pretty vivid picture of how some 501c 3 nonprofits and associations too feel about a prior or even present database management software project. I am not going to sugar coat it. It is not easy. And, before things get better, there will be pain. But, at the end of the road hopefully, you will get your peace of mind back.
Below you will find 6 quick tips to consider to help avoid some of the pitfalls which may plague your implementation projects
- Begin with the ” End in Mind”: Association Management Software should start with vision and goals. Although you may end up in a good location by chance, it is far more likely you will end up lost or run aground if you do not discuss and document why you decided to purchase the software in the first place.
- Quantify the Value of Your Program: With your Executive team, quantify how the technology can be used to automate your business. For example, if you are hoping to maximize staff time and productivity, how does that impact your organization? You need to focus on early wins and those items which are going to be the most impactful so that your staff gets on board early and stays in tune.
- Create a Roadmap: A software roadmap clearly defines key people, process, & technology milestones.
- Build Your AMS Governance Structure: You must define a structure within your organization so that everyone understands roles and responsibilities. And, understand that this project will never be completely done. It’s a long term program.
- User Adoption: If you do not secure buy-in, your project is doomed. The system must be viewed as a “blessing” not a “curse”.
- Keep an Eye on the Prize: A smoother software program can certainly improve not only an organization’s administrative efficiency, but literally increase revenues and improve the public perception of the organization itself. Pull out for your team why your organization made the decision to move and implement a new tool to begin with. By all means, an ongoing reality check during the heated months ensuing your purchase may be very well received!
- Communication, Communication, & Communication: Email is a wonderful tool for all of us in the business today. But, if saturated by them and scattered among all the staff involved in the project, it can be a royal pain in the rear end. I suggest having one person consolidate the correspondence and then meet at least every other week to be sure that everything is moving along well.
In summary, these are 7 quick steps your staff can take to avoid “Armageddon” during your Association Management Software project. Unfortunately, I don’t usually get called when things are going well with their membership database. So, it is so exciting for me to hear of association software success. Your staff you must be prepared and realistic about the process. The process to find the right technology solution is important but after the selection has been made, the second half of the project is honestly so much more important.
If you treat the implementation project of your association management software as a long-term investment ( a journey not a race) your organization will be in a greater position to enjoy the excitement of the parade rather than doom of the “Death Mobile”.
We work with very competent service specialists who specialize in project management and implementation services for association software. So, if you need some guidance, we can help with find a competent implementation partner to help with your membership software projects. Due to our years in the market, we are positioned effectively to provide you the leadership required to ensure a success of your selected service provider.
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