Choosing a CRM for Nonprofits, Part 2: Building Your Team

July 14, 2020 Brian Isaac

In Part 1 of Choosing a CRM for Nonprofits, we covered how to properly gather and make sense of your organisation's CRM requirements.

The next step is to think about who needs to be involved when choosing a CRM solution, what skills are needed, and what the decision process looks like.

Who needs to be involved?

Once you’ve established your functionality requirements and critical needs, you will then need to understand your organisation’s internal process for making investment decisions.

You may be in the early days of figuring out if this is a viable project to undertake, and so understanding who needs to be involved and what the steps are in the decision process before signatures can be made and budgets can be released will also help to determine the process you will following for reviewing.

People that were really good subject matter experts when gathering the requirements and were really keen to see changes, should be included in the project as project sponsors and advocates.

Choosing your Project Team

1. Project Manager

This does not need to be an additional role – so don’t panic if you don’t have resources for extra staff. The key attributes for your internal project manager are:

  • Knowledge of your organisation and requirements, and
  • Enthusiasm!

Don’t forget, although this is a responsibility, this is also a huge career opportunity for someone within your team to expand their skills and experience by managing a significant project.

The project manager should be someone who can speak upwards and downwards within your organisation – they need to be able to bring the right people to the table.

2. The Team

The team chosen to see the project along will need the right skills, determination, and energy to make this a success. The chosen team should include ‘subject matter experts’ who can advise specifically on what their team or department needs from the new CRM solution.

This is not just a technology project, so it shouldn’t be solely the responsibility of the IT team – it is an important business change. For the best chance of success, you need to involve someone to represent each part of the organisation, e.g. finance, fundraising, events – whatever makes your nonprofit tick.

What skills are needed in the project team?

• People skills! It’s vital that your whole organisation is brought along for this important business change. Make sure to get the decision-makers and budget holders involved right from the beginning of the project, so they are fully engaged and invested.

• Organisational skills

• Data knowledge – even if this is outsourced. This is critical and plays a very important role in why you’re doing this in the first place.

Remember: don’t be concerned if you don’t have tech skills – it’s a bonus if you do, but you don’t need tech skills to run the project!

Culture Change

In 2020, we have experienced a massive shift in the way we live and work – and although we are adapting and pulling together to make it work, it’s undeniable that change is difficult!

When you undertake your CRM project, it is important to remember that it will involve change for your whole organisation, so everyone should be well informed and involved at every step of the way.

Obviously, when it comes to running the project and making decisions, the board will have the final say. However, from gathering requirements to system testing, its best to include and communicate with as many of the eventual end-users as possible.

By communicating effectively and keeping your teams involved, the process of bedding in a new system is made much easier. If your colleagues feel they have had a system thrust upon them, it doesn’t matter how good the solution might be – adoption will be low, and the returns will be diminished.

Ideas for keeping preparing others for change:

  • Create internal PR for the project – build the excitement for the forthcoming solution
  • Communicate regular updates – perhaps via an internal newsletter
  • Plan a launch event to take place after the go-live

Keep the enthusiasm going and keep people engaged!


Ready to start?

The above post covers the foundation for developing your team, but there's more to consider when selecting the CRM solution that’s right for your organisation.

Our brand new How to Choose a Cloud-Based Fundraising CRM Solution guide will take you through the entire process. Through our many years of working closely with non-profits, we bring our most up-to-date expertise and knowledge of the process to this how-to eBook. Follow the steps and tips we cover in the book to choose the solution that's right for you.

Download the full ebook now


Continue to Choosing a CRM for Nonprofits, Part 3: Selecting a Vendor

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Previous Article
Choosing a CRM for Nonprofits, Part 1: Understanding Your Requirements
Choosing a CRM for Nonprofits, Part 1: Understanding Your Requirements

Part 1 of 5: Learn how to gather, understand, and make sense of your organisation's CRM requirements.

Next Article
Choosing a CRM for Nonprofits, Part 3: Selecting a Vendor
Choosing a CRM for Nonprofits, Part 3: Selecting a Vendor

Part 3 of 5: Learn how to choose the right vendor to partner with in order to make the right cloud-based CR...


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