The art of CRM project management

Project management is one of those terms that is banded around the sector as just part of everyone’s role. Whether you’re an events fundraiser, a major donor fundraiser or a database manager and its true there is project management that helps all of the people in those roles succeed, but most times its silo’d. There’s no cross team working unless its writing a piece for comms or digital to help promote the cause or event.

I find a lot of charities think that the project management of a new CRM system is something that can be “tacked on” to someone’s day job not realising the amount of effort required and communication skills needed at all levels within the organisation as well as talking to vendors and potentially other contractors to do the things that you need.

I do a lot of project management as part of my implementation roles and always find it interesting the perception of what “good” looks like. I always say when starting projects that you will start off liking me, you’ll get to UAT and be a little bit overwhelmed and then once you see how a  will change your work be on the happy curve again.

But essentially, CRM project management is about a journey. Most people who are implementing a new CRM system are either doing it and not wanting to change or excited about the change and the new possibilities. Wrapped up into this is the change management piece and collaborative working across all teams who will use the new system. In my view this should be everyone who is a touch point with a supporter, from CEO to the receptionist as its really important. All good organisations charity or not base their work/products/service on data as well as other things but data is at the heart or should be.

So back to the difference between day to day project management and CRM implementation project management, a CRM implementation has a lot of moving parts and should have lots of collaboration within the organisation as you define best practice and a common understanding. There’s a lot of potential data sets that will be unearthed that should be in the CRM but never made it for whatever reason and then there’s the cultural change for the organisation.

Like I’ve said previously, the best CRM system in the world is only as good as the people who use it and the data that they put into it. But now more than ever it’s important to ensure that your organisation has one version of the truth.

So with these three things the key is to:

  • Know what go live looks like (I personally recommend going live in phases so if you need web/events/volunteering/ as part of go live, when is that going to happen, you probably want to try and stagger how people need to take on that knowledge of the new product
  • Understand that people have day jobs, if a project can be delivered in 4 months that’s great but real life will I guarantee get in the way, most of my projects at best go live after 6 months but more realistically end up somewhere closer to 9 months – again the key here is making sure you know what number 1 looks like.
  • Communication and collaboration – put time in people’s diaries for show and tell or key business changes, its key in getting buy in and making sure that your users (or even better super users) are on board with how it will work
  • Book out time for familiarisation sessions let people play with the product and give them the support that they need. A good project manager is 70% counsellor and 30% doing or managing the doing
  • As project manager you don’t have to know how to do everyone’s job, make sure you have key people (Super users / Champions / Heroes / Knowledge Managers / Wizards) whatever you want to call them, they are the people who know their job
  • Make sure you share the knowledge, its key in keeping everyone on track, a folder on a server, a group in outlook, a simple project management tool, make sure it forms part of your meetings. It’s key to share this knowledge with the leadership team as well as your Super users and champions

It’s a journey, in my view it’s a fun journey as you come out as a better organisation after you’ve done it, but it is hard work and on top of day jobs can be very frustrating.

I hope that this has helped and if it is a bit overwhelming for you or your team drop us a note and we’ll talk it through with you.

Brush up your Excel Skills – Wednesday, 21 September

We know the summer holidays have only just started but it isn’t too early to start planning for getting “back to school” in September with some skills refresher training.

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Anthony is running a half day training course in London in conjunction with the lovely people at Fundraising UK Ltd to help you polish up your existing skills and give you lots of hints and tips to make your workbooks and spreadsheets more efficient.

Microsoft Excel is a very useful tool for analysing your campaign data, results and key performance indicators. And there are some very useful hints and tips and easy formulas that could make your job a lot easier and give greater insight into your data.

If you feel like your Excel skills aren’t up to date or would welcome some refresher training to get you back up to speed this is the course for you.

This course is aimed at anyone who wants to learn or refresh their skills in Excel – You will not require any prior knowledge of Excel formulas and functions just being able to open Excel would be great.

The course will cover:

  • Walk through of the ribbon – giving you an overview of the most useful items
  • Introduction to useful formula (countif / sumif / if / Vlookup)
  • Basic Data manipulation tools including:
  •   text to columns
  •   remove duplicates
  •   conditional formatting
  • Basic Pivot Reports – an extremely valuable tool to analyse your data

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Manipulate data ready for your reporting requirements
  • Manipulate data for importing into your CRM system
  • Create Pivot Reports and Charts to display data to your peers or Line managers

The half-day training  is on Wednesday, 21 September 2016 at 10.15am and costs just £100+VAT for charity participants.

Visit Eventbrite for more information and to book.

Why CRM systems fail!!

Following on from my previous post about how to healthcheck a CRM system, I wanted to share with you why I think people either love or hate their CRM systems. In most cases its not because one system is better than the other, though there are some systems that don’t fit the not for profit market, it is because users have either bought into the system and can see the benefits or they can’t.

I tell this story a lot but it is one of my most vivid memories of when I started working in the sector. I remember a member of staff, who in the run up to the London Marathon was struggling under the burden of paper that was printed out and then manually entered into the CRM system. It was taking about 3 out of the 5 days in the week to process this data. Now, this wasn’t because the CRM system was rubbish or even that the person didn’t know better, but more because the person who was spending their day wrapped up in paper wasn’t aware of the different things that their CRM system could do.

It was a lack of training. Continue reading Why CRM systems fail!!

Free Salesforce Training | Third Sector IT

I think that Salesforce is going to be a big player in 2012 in terms of fundraising databases. We’ve already seen Blackbaud and Convio get together and the rise of Supporter360 from Appichar. So if you’re interested here’s a link to some training materials for Salesforce.

One of the best ways to get the most out of Salesforce is to take advantage of the incredible wealth of videos on the internet. It’s also a good way to learn if Salesforce is the right tool for you.

Salesforce has free training videos on Salesforce Navigation, Intro to Sales, Intro to Reports and Dashboards, and for those who need to configure Salesforce, Administration Basics.

Similar to that is the Salesforce Learning Center, which has a few dozen videos in the 2-10 minute range, and a number of 2 page ‘cheat sheets’, a decent place if you are looking for a certain skill.

via Free Salesforce Training | Third Sector IT.

Purple Vision’s 5 Top tips for getting the most out of your database

Keith Collins, Systems Director said:’ Purple Vision are often called into help organisations with very specific data requirements, but any not for profit can improve the way they use their database by following very simple rules.  We’ve come up with 5 top tips, and we hope they will help you manage your database more effectively.’ Purple Patch Group News | LinkedIn.