Client Insight Series.
Melanie Waters, Chief Executive at The Poppy Factory shares her Top 15 Tips for organisations that are researching and rolling-out new charity software.
Top 15 Tips:
1. Be clear on your budget but do not reveal this immediately when researching suppliers.
2. Ensure you have someone internally to own the project and drive it forward.
3. If you are not an expert in IT, consider recruiting a volunteer who has the expertise and experience to help.
4. Produce a robust document that contains all your requirements.
5. Use an iterative process to compile your requirements document, ensuring to speak to all potential users.
6. Don’t underestimate the overall time the project will take to research, prepare and implement.
7. When suppliers visit your offices, ensure your project manager is there to interpret any technical points.
8. Don’t be side tracked by ‘bells & whistles’ and the superficial ‘sexy stuff’; how the software works is more important.
9. Ensure to take up references from existing users.
10. Perhaps arrange with the supplier to see the software in a real-life environment at a client’s site.
11. Very early on, collect all the data you have about contacts and take the time to cleanse it thoroughly.
12. Recognise it is a lot to ask of people who have busy day jobs to embrace a new system and new ways of working – make time to support the changes in your organisation.
13. Maintain regular communications with everyone involved throughout the whole journey.
14. Ensure people are well trained on the system and that new members of staff are quickly supported.
15. Once you are live on the system, remember it is yours to make the most of. Continuously evaluate your processes and avoid getting stuck in routines that may limit how you operate.
When Melanie joined The Poppy Factory she had ambitious plans to create a new employability service for disabled veterans, establish a fundraising department and build a business development function. Now, Harlequin’s CRM and fundraising system serves as the charity’s central hub, helping to manage and maximise complex relationships with reliability, integrity and ease-of-use.
Read The Poppy Factory case study here.