Thursday, September 21, 2017
CRM, Business Process Management, Project Leadership. West Michigan. DPT

Congratulations, Turnip The Beet!

What does it take to create or promote a community garden or urban farm in Michigan? There’s planning, of course. There’s designing, funding, and cultivating partnerships with local communities. All of these elements were part of this year’s challenge set forth by the WMPMI competition "The Project 2017".

Lettuce tell you about long-time DPT team member, Shawn Rathbun who has attended or volunteered with the competition every year. She is an adjunct instructor at Michigan Technological University leading their Advanced Project Management course. This year, she served as project champion two Project Management teams at Michigan Technological University over the course of a semester. Both MTU teams decided to create a community garden for a real community in the western upper peninsula.

The competition was divided into four stages with deliverables that needed to be sent in to a panel of judges. Preparing these deliverables taught the students how to write a project charter, a scope statement, develop a risk register, a communication plan and other project management documents. But the chief learnings were practical, real world lessons on time management (to avoid over-thyme as milestones approach), stakeholder management, scope management (pruning the scope to meet budget), teamwork (turnip for team meetings), open communication, and patience.

The students also gained confidence answering questions, and honing their public speaking skills by holding several public forums to gain feedback from their stakeholders in their respective community. By the end, they knew their project’s details better than anyone and were prepared for the final step of the competition--presenting the project to the judges.

Shawn described her students this semester as talented, mow-tivated, and enthusiastic – all of which the judges saw. In the end, they awarded team MTU team, Turnip the Beet first place, squashing the competition and making them the first Michigan Tech team to bring home the big check, the big trophy and even bigger bragging rights. This is a really big dill because Michigan Tech has always placed in the top 3, but had never taken first until this year.

So congratulations to Turnip the Beet! It takes a lot of growth, hard work, and mow-tivation to compete in The Project. It also takes great leaders like Shawn. We’re thoroughly impressed by them and can’t wait to see their gardens in bloom. And - we can’t resist one last pun! - if you carrot all about Project Management, come talk to us here at DPT!

Published in News
Tuesday, 18 April 2017 00:00

The Top 5 Benefits of CRM for Nonprofits

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.

Invest in relationships and see your nonprofit flourish.

 

How CRM can give nonprofits a leg up:

 

  1. Coordinated Communication. Between donors, volunteers, board or committee members, and those who receive services, a nonprofit has a lot of people to track. It often becomes more complicated if people occupy two or more roles like a volunteer that also makes monthly donations. CRM makes it simple. By streamlining data into a single source, nonprofits can track who they’ve communicated with, when, how, and how often. For example, it will keep people who occupy two roles from being on two mailing lists while still receiving information relevant to that role. It also ensures that outreach gets into the right person’s hands. This helps avoid mistakes like sending a letter to the husband when it’s supposed to go to the wife.
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  3. Efficient Processes & Systems. Saving time and money is a boon to any non-profit, and streamlined processes and modern systems will do just that. Once your CRM data model is set and processes running smoothly, daily tasks like donation follow-up and volunteer coordination will be more efficient. There will be more time in the day to do the work that really matters. You can ensure that more of your donations, grants, and other types of funding are going directly to services.
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  5. Preserve Organization Knowledge. If someone has been with a nonprofit for years, they may not need to reference statistics, procedures, and other important information simply because they know it off the top of their head. This system works great for them, but what happens if they decide to retire or move to another position? If that knowledge isn’t captured in the nonprofit’s systems, it’ll be lost. CRM mitigates this by building critical relationship information into its processes. It also grants access to several people or departments so the data can become institutional knowledge.
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  7. Relationship Visibility. Imagine being able to see all the touch-points and relationships for an individual or household in one snapshot. There would be records of events they attended, emails they’ve received, and face-to-face contact like times they’ve volunteered. There’d be no digging through dozens of spreadsheets or hunting all over a complex system to find one piece of information. CRM enables nonprofits to see this information at a glance. Having it all in one place helps provide better visibility and more effective marketing and communication.
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  9. Simplified Data Management. It’s no secret that executing critical projects like creating a new marketing campaign or planning an outreach event are complicated and time-consuming. It gets worse when spreadsheets, procedures, contacts, and plans have to be passed around in email after email. Nonprofits can stop the email chains and eliminate the need to constantly double-check information by creating a hub for all their information. CRM can be this one-stop-shop because it’s easy to add, edit, and share information.

 

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.

Published in News
Tuesday, 11 April 2017 00:00

Getting More Bang for Your Donation Buck!

Invest in Nonprofit Capacity Building & Technical Assistance.

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.

Published in News

Spring cleaning can be a springboard for the rest of the year.

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:

  • Managing the Technical aspects of the project
  • Managing all the Resources of the project
  • Managing the Project Framework and Project Lifecycle in its entirety
  • Managing to meet the Business Requirements for Leadership and Project Sponsors

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.”

  • Project Leaders write the vision by setting the “Why” and the “What” in order to establish the strategy, goals, and milestones.
  • Project Leaders support the project team as they set the “How” in order to establish the most effective path to deliver the project.
  • Project Leaders engage their teams in conversation to internalize a story, enabling them to implement and adapt to the ever-changing landscape.

 

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:

  • Complex projects and programs are guided to success
  • The right people are doing the right work
  • Focus and vision are clear the whole way

 

Start Today

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.

 

In Conclusion

Schedule a Reality Celebration for one year from today and repeat!

Check out our Twitter and LinkedIn for more information. You can also contact us. We’d love to have a conversation.

Published in News