The implementation of a new CRM system is a significant investment for any non-profit organisation and so it is imperative that leaders can maximise the benefit to be achieved from the new product and solution.

From our extensive experience of delivering CRM implementation projects in the non-profit sector, we have put together a list of high-level CRM principles for leaders to adopt, to help ensure you get the most out of your new CRM solution.

  1. CRM is not a technology, it’s a strategy and a culture

The CRM system you implement is a tool to enable the people within your organisation to more effectively carry out their roles, to ultimately help achieve the organisation’s strategic goals. Therefore, people and strategy are intrinsic to the system. A successful CRM implementation can only be achieved if you appropriately incorporate them into your project.

  1. Automate where appropriate, not just because you can

A new system should improve efficiency for staff as well as achieve consistency for your members, donors, and supporters.  The biggest wins are the automation of base administration including the delivery of, for example, welcome letters, renewal reminders and event joining instructions.

  1. Adopt best practices

You are unique because of what you do and the causes you serve, not because of how you do it. So, where possible you should adopt best practices from the technologies you use and from the partners you work with. They have extensive experience and expertise in the technology and the sector so will know how to get the best from it.

  1. Give everyone access to the system

Lead from the top when it comes to the adoption of your new system. The CEO and senior leaders must have accounts, use them, and talk about it. CRMs thrive when they are used as your central source of knowledge so everyone has to contribute, and to call on it for information.

  1. You need champions, ongoing beyond just the project

You need ongoing champions. This is not a status or a hierarchical role.  You need influencers, a mix of supporters and doubters who will be engaged with the new technology. They will keep the solution alive and evolving to close gaps and meet your needs.

  1. Set out to enhance incrementally but continually

As your non-profit organisation continues to evolve, so will your needs from your technology system. Therefore, it’s important to enhance your systems continually, but to keep changes managed and gatekept. Ensure suggestions are sought out and that your pipeline is transparent.

  1. Give suitable priority to querying, reports, and dashboards

Staff will adopt and value a system that makes it easy for them to find the information they need to perform their jobs. For that reason, it is vital you give suitable priority to effective search, query, reports and dashboards for your staff.

  1. Training documents, user manuals are essential

Training documents and user manuals should be produced and maintained by business teams, to ensure the adoption of the new system. From our experience, short videos are a great format for these, alongside manuals and quick guides.

  1. Data, data, data!

If you know Hart Square, you know how much we talk about the importance of data! If you have poor data input into your new system, you simply will not be able to get the quality output you want from it. So be strict on what you migrate, and ensure it is governed on an ongoing basis to maintain integrity.