A robust Customer Relationship Management solution (CRM) may not be at the top of most nonprofits’ wish lists, but it really should be. Whether they’re volunteers, donors, or those receiving services, nonprofits thrive on good, two-way relationships with their constituents. Doesn’t it make sense to invest in them? The returns can be huge--saved time and money, simplified daily operations, more effective outreach.
How CRM can give nonprofits a leg up:
While for-profit companies have been using CRM for years, many nonprofits haven’t taken advantage of it yet. This is especially unfortunate because they actually have greater potential to benefit from implementing CRM than their for-profit counterparts. Based on the fact that so many of the people they interact with fill multiple roles, the impact of creating an efficient, accurate database to track and interact with them is much bigger. It fosters clear communication which ultimately means the nonprofit can serve more people.
That’s a win-win in our book.
If you’d like to learn more about how your nonprofit can leverage CRM to drive strong relationships and further its mission, contact us. We’d love to show you a free demonstration.
Everyone wants their donation to make a big impact when they give to a nonprofit. They want as much of it as possible to go to the cause the nonprofit is championing, but a lot of people overlook the daily operational costs that need to be offset. In an attempt to better serve their cause, many nonprofits delay investing in internal process automation improvements, and they end up working with slow, outdated systems.
Thankfully, Kent County’s Nonprofit Technical Assistance Fund (NPTA) is trying to change that. Four times a year, they provide grants to qualified nonprofits around the Grand Rapids area so they can invest in capacity building and technical assistance.
As an approved supplier, we’ve worked with several recipients before and have seen the transformative effect these investments can have. For example, digitizing and consolidating a team’s paper files and multitudes of spreadsheets to a single data source of truth is a huge undertaking. It’s easy to put off again and again because of its expense and time commitment, but, in the long run, having a modern yet flexible solution like CRM will make it easier to serve more people and extend outreach.
To put it simply: improving a nonprofit’s process and technology will save them a lot of time and money that can be reinvested into the people they’re serving. Access to community funds is a huge help in jump-starting the process. If that’s not something to celebrate, we don’t know what is.
So congratulations to this year’s recipients! We wish you the best.
If you’d like to learn more about how to improve your nonprofit, don’t hesitate to contact us. Or get more details on how to apply for a NPTA grant by checking out our blog post How to Get Community Funds to Help Nonprofits Leverage New Technology.
It’s that time of year again! Dust off the strategic plan, sharpen the tools, oil the machine!
Haven’t we all seen so many plans and spring cleaning initiatives for businesses and organizations fall into the same pattern? It’s like going to the garage to plan and prepare for the growing season. “This should only take a couple hours.” But it doesn’t. It always takes longer and doesn’t always produce the best results.
But not this year! Not in 2017!
Let’s make it happen every day, every week, and every month this spring and all year long. By implementing consistent and constant Project Leadership, we can.
What would the outcome be if our spring cleaning had a charter to help us manage factors like integration, risk, and quality? It could include the cost of cleaning supplies, the time demanded for each task, and the scope of what needs to be cleared out, cleaned, or repaired. What would we end up with?
A project -- complete with the framework, processes, and project management expertise necessary for success. Maybe by turning our spring cleaning into projects we could clear the way and provide our people with all the tools--and Project Leadership--needed to drive our efforts to realities. Project Leadership is not the equivalent of Project Management. Project Management focuses on four areas when managing complex projects:
Project Leadership focuses on creating the environment to keep all these in balance, enabling Project Managers to be successful in delivering a successful project.
The Role and Skills of the Project Leader
We’re living in the Knowledge Age where ideas are the new capital and massive amounts of information are hitting us at light-speed. Distraction is almost inevitable. Project Leaders work around this by guiding conversation to keep the focus on broad situations, not individual tasks. They help specify the “What” while empowering the team to identify and manage the “How.”
Getting Started with Project Leadership
One of the founding fathers of Total Quality Management, W. Edwards Deming, brought us the System of Profound Knowledge® with the belief that profound knowledge generally comes from outside the system--that the system cannot see itself in whole. Project Leadership is often enhanced, improved, and sometimes accelerated with capable talent and resources from outside the department or organization. Outside experts can help ensure:
Start making your plan for spring cleaning today while you’re in the mood. This will be sure to set the stage for transforming your Cleaning into Projects and establishing the vision and the framework. Start building your awesome and highly capable project teams now to start the process of writing the charter to kick off the season and transform your Projects into Realities.
Schedule a Reality Celebration for one year from today and repeat!
The late Peter Drucker is famously attributed with the phrase, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and we couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, at DPT, we have our own take… strategy eats technology for breakfast.
Just as culture formulates a solid foundation to build and ultimately implement strategic initiatives, strategic focus provides the same foundation for technology applications. In many businesses, this also equates to the difference between technology and solutions. To put it simply, technology is the “impulse purchase” made to fill a current and immediate need. In contrast, a solution is planned. It’s rooted in a strategic vision that incorporates both current and future-state business requirements.
Human nature lends to pushing the conversation to an immediate and impulsive decision. Too often, this “solution” is a band aid that resolves only a single and immediate need without much consideration for the long-term consequences. While resolving that need may be important, this approach lacks strategy and will inevitably lead to an ecosystem of unsustainable technologies and endless integrations.
In other words, a long list of headaches that could have been avoided with a well-planned strategy.
If you were constructing a home, you wouldn’t want your builder to start pouring a foundation without blueprints. There’d have to be planning involved. You’d talk about the basement, square footage, the number of stories, and layout before beginning. In this situation it may seem like common sense, but your business should be taking a similar approach to building sustainable applications and technology solutions.
When implementing applications ranging from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to business process management solutions, stick to a tried-and-true approach to collect business requirements. This helps to ensure you tie people, process, and technology into the business solutions you ultimately implement.
Below are just some of the key elements to a foundational approach in building sustainable technology applications to help drive your strategic business initiatives.
The process of vetting and implementing a solution may seem long and tedious compared to quickly patching up a problem, but it’s worth it. Remember: strategy eats technology for breakfast. So become proactive and avoid problems down the road by carefully considering and planning solutions that are driven by your strategic business goals and objectives. We’d be happy to help.
DPT is excited to announce that two of our team members will be presenting at the West Michigan Project Management Institute (WMPMI) March dinner on the 13th. Our presenters include Amy L. Flick - PMP, Project Leadership Practice Lead, and Dan McGraw – PMP, Senior Consultant and Microsoft Relationship Manager.
They’ll be breaking down the three sides of the PMI Talent Triangle by drawing on three practical project experiences. It’s obvious that there’s no cookie-cutter solution for every project that comes our way. We think understanding how the three sides interact is critical to developing a comprehensive strategy for each client. They’ll also discuss how different combinations of leadership, business management, strategy, and technical “know-how” can affect a project’s success.
We’re excited to share our knowledge with you and hope you’ll join us. If you want more information or simply can’t make it, please don’t hesitate to contact us or check out our pages on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Now that you’ve established your data standards and processes, you need to focus on how to establish continuous improvement and oversight to keep the bad mountain of data from returning. As a reminder from our previous blog posts, ownership and design is the core component of Data Stewardship and involves assigning and communicating data ownership and accountability. Next comes quality standards and communicating the relative business value of data and establishing processes accordingly. The third cornerstone of data stewardship is quality standards.
Now, let’s dive into today’s topic. We’ll discuss the importance of actively engaging and measuring, ultimately making data stewardship part of the fabric of your organization.
A key to proactive management of your data includes building into your current operational processes a Plan, Do, Check, Adjust approach. The prime example is when a data owners finds a pattern of misaligned data, they might be tempted to just correct the data. Using a PDCA approach, however, would lead them to investigate the source of the error immediately instead of putting it off until later.
In an ideal world, you’d rarely have a data quality problem going forward if you make data stewardship a priority. But knowing the reality of today’s dynamic business environment, when quality issues arise, having a data improvement plan is important. If your dataset becomes bad, do you have a process, defined methodology, or improvement plan to get it caught up while you’re fixing the cause of the problem? In the event that the design isn’t executed, identify an improvement plan and incorporate it.
The keys to remember for data integrity are the importance of building data monitoring and improvement into your processes the first time and getting the responsibility for clean data tied to people’s operational roles and job performance (have it written into their job description or performance evaluation).
To wrap up the data stewardship series, there are four key areas of focus that when managed intentionally lead to a solid data stewardship environment. To help you get started we have created a “Data Stewardship Checklist.”
As discussed in our previous posts, all your sales and operational data does not provide the same level of value to your organization. So then why do you think you should manage all data to the same level of quality? Quality is relative to the value the information provides or supports as measured by its contribution to your business objectives.
The goal is not perfection – because there is a cost to perfection that will not necessarily lead to increased value. A better goal might be... “imperfect – but with intentional and consistent quality”.
Here are some tips to help you develop and manage a balanced data quality program.
The concept here is that if you can’t map (clearly identify the affect of) how the data contributes to a meaningful and measureable outcome for your organization or department, then it is simply an interesting piece of information and not worthy of process control. Note that this does not necessarily mean that the data should not be maintained at all – but it does beg the question.
Begin by outlining the key measurements that drive your organizational or departmental success. These are the outcomes (think KPIs) that must be met in each of your organizational performance areas such as compliance, financial, operations, customer service or reputation management.
Next, go down a level and identify the measurable outcomes that drive success in each of your key measurements for each organizational performance area. For instance, one such measurement in the financial domain may be total sales revenue generated in a period.
Then map the data that contributes to each of those measurements. Be specific and identify the data element’s contribution level by categorizing it as:
Once you map each of the organizational performance areas, you should validate them based on the tiers you outlined based on our previous Blog post. Then you can more easily identify each of the organizational performance areas. This helps you understand WHY data is important and is valuable in supporting process and data quality communications with your team. This also informs how you must balance your organizational performance areas and therefore your data management and quality programs.
Lastly be sure to look at the data that you maintain that IS NOT on the list created through this analysis. Ask yourself why you maintain it. If you can’t identify how the data provides current or future value, is it worth having? In a world that leads you to believe that more data is always good – it can be argued that without intention and purpose it is just cost and not value.
Now you have the information to define data quality goals that are meaningful to your organization. Using data source and business process analysis techniques, you can build processes that increase the value of the right data while not spending time and money on information that does not lead to results that are important to you. You now can build an intentional and consistent quality management program for your data. This is the subject of our next post – in the meantime, click here to read the rest of this blog series.
Want help getting started? Get the Data Stewardship Checklist
In our previous Data Stewardship post we discussed the core component of assigning and communicating data ownership and accountability. We also created a “Data Stewardship Checklist” that can provide structure to assist in creating and maintaining the missing link. Click here to get the checklist.
Now that the data ownership has been assigned (see previous blog post), you need to prioritize what will be worked on first – and why. It’s critical to define and communicate the relative business value of data and establish processes accordingly. Let’s dive in…
The first step is to define your high level data map in your critical business processes. Specifically, this should be done in logical sets of data (for example, demographic data, versus relationship data, versus transaction data), not at a data field level. Part of this data map should include setting business impact criteria with each process owner and establishing data tiers with simple “ABC” ranking. A good rule of thumb is to categorize the “ABC” ratings, where “A” is Business Critical, “B” is Business Impactful, and “C” is Nice to Have. After you’ve set individual process owner priorities, consolidate the individual process owner priorities into a single consolidated view to make sure there’s no gaps in ownership and priority. Review the overall list for gaps and overlaps, and get the list validated with the individual owners.
A key success factor is aligning the appropriate processes based on the priorities of each level of data. As is taught in best practice inventory management, you hand count “A” level items often. “B” level items may do spot counts, and “C” level items you just replenish when you’re out of them. You typically manage the quality of tier “A” data with exception reporting and dashboards, which presents useable information to you instead of having to dig through multiple data sources. An example might be having a dashboard showing all sales pipeline activities where the expected close date is now past-due more than a week.
Tiers “B” and “C” will require less rigorous and frequent audit components. For instance, tier “B” data might just include routine review of the business impactful data into specific job roles and responsibilities. An example would be someone specifically assigned to look for duplicate information between systems on a monthly basis. Tier “C” might be similar but on a less-frequent basis, or could simply be a reactionary process once incorrect data is identified. Setting appropriate processes, timeframes, and owners based on the relative business impact of the information is critical. Line up appropriate cleansing and audit processes with the business impact of the information so you don’t just have a one size fits all process.
Once the data tiers are set and prioritized, and the appropriate data management processes are established, now you want to tie them to the ownership and accountability in your organization. As described in the first post in this blog series, you’ve already established data ownership, now you need to include data process ownership to specific roles and people. To the extent you can, you should establish these new responsibilities in the Human Resource processes such as job descriptions and performance evaluations.
In the next blog post, we will discuss the specifics of how to build quality into the data management processes as part of overall data stewardship.
Want to see more detail on how to get started? Download the Data Stewardship Checklist, and sign up to get email updates from the Data Stewardship blog series where you’ll receive more information about organizing and maintaining your data assets. We’ll send you subsequent emails for each of the data stewardship areas outlined above.
DPT is proud to support our West Michigan Veterans through sponsoring an event benefiting Folds of Honor, especially a week before Independence Day, for which so many have sacrificed for us to continue to enjoy. Folds of Honor has a tremendous mission to provide educational support to spouses and children of America’s fallen and wounded soldiers.
This year was West Michigan’s 1st Annual Patriot Golf Tournament at Sunnybrook Country Club. DPT’s Jack Kelly, Amy Flick, Henry Morley, and James Reinhardt participated in the tournament put on by a host of volunteers and organizer Brad Laackman. What a great time had by all, supporting a great organization and cause!
Jack Kelly probably shot the longest drive of his life – one of the most unusual features of an event based on supporting our military was the ability, under close supervision, to “drive” a golf ball from a rifle. Here’s the mark that was left on the ball after its 360 yard firing:
DPT is not only happy to support a great patriotic cause, but this is also part of our broader core values of community involvement. We have supported a number of local organizations, ranging from Bethany Christian Services, to Grand Rapids Active Commute Week. If you’d like to learn more about that, please visit our Community Involvement page.
If you’re interested in donating to Folds of Honor, please go to www.foldsofhonor.org