Transitioning to new technology, product or software isn’t easy. So is the case for nonprofits and charities looking to switch to a new donor management software. We make it easier for you. We will walk you through some common points of friction and how to ensure your transition is smooth. From proper planning to exporting your data, let’s have a look at some important steps one by one.
Evaluate the need to switch
Exporting the data seems to draw the entire attention as it requires time and effort. But before we dig into how you can smoothly transition your data, understanding the core reason why you are switching and what advantages you are expecting from your new software is necessary. Often, nonprofits and charities think of switching to new software just because they think the market is flooded with software and a new one is being added everyday. This is the biggest mistake a nonprofit or a charity can make and going forward, this becomes the core reason for experiencing friction while switching software.
Before jumping in with purchasing new software, understand the limitations of your existing software and what new features do you require. Based on your survey, you need to map out which software best suits your needs, how to export data, and how to train your administration.
After selecting new software, understand it’s functionality clearly; it’s advantages and limitations. Refrain from making assumptions about the new software. Rather than eliminating the friction points, this would only create more of them.
Get going with your data export
Nonprofits and charities are tasked with maintaining detailed data of their donors, funds and other partners and agencies that they collaborate with. This data is essential for maintaining communication with your donors, raising funds and internal compliance. Therefore, these data are very crucial for your organization. The following steps will help you reduce the friction while you export your data.
Step 1: Export your old data
While you are still in your old software, your priority should be backing-up the current data. Transitioning to new software means you would eventually lose access to your old one. Ensure you archive everything and export all your data. Depending on the software you are switching to, it might be possible that you may export a portion of or the entire data from your current software to the new one.
GiveCentral with its integration with Salesforce and other applications provides the exact same. Nonprofits and charities may easily switch from salesforce NPSP to a more powerful donation accepting payment gateway platform – GiveCentral – without much friction. This is because when you switch, you always have an option to sync all your data from your existing system into GiveCentral’s donor management software.
Step 2: Decide what’s important
Now that you have the complete backup of your old data, your next step should be to decide what to import into your new system. Draw a proper outline of which data are important, and which are dispensable. Certainly, exporting data comes with its own challenges as the process is tedious but on the brighter side, it serves the much-needed purpose of cleaning up your unwanted records. This ensures you enter afresh into your new system without loading it with useless data.
For instance, that you know your donor’s expired credit card data does not hold any importance, anymore. Importing it will only consume your much-valued time without entailing any productive result. We recommend that you avoid importing inactive donors who have clearly stated their disinterest, old opportunities, volunteers or partners who haven’t been active in years. This will help remove some of the unwanted data and your new software clutter-free.
Step 3: Format and Import your data
Try considering an extra step of formatting your data before you import it into your new software. Doing so will ensure the data is compatible with your new software. It is likely that one software stores information differently from another. For example, your previous software might store donor’s contact information and donation payment information at the same place, while the new one might store it at a different location. Once done with formatting, the data is ready to be imported into your new system.
Upskill your administration
Training your staff and administration plays an important role in overcoming change friction. Provide them with ample time and resources to process the change. Does this mean a longer time duration to roll out the new software in your organization? Maybe. But this will display your support towards the staff, encourage them to learn the new technology and eventually everyone in the organization will be on the same page.
A donor management software, such as GiveCentral, comes with a well-trained backend team to make your transition smooth. Your staff does not have to worry about the process and can focus on what they do best – fundraising. Switching to such software will prove to be a wise decision.
The key is always to begin with understanding your existing software and what needs to change. A transition to the right software will not only save your money but will ensure you don’t grapple with a futile software, hence wasting your time. Always consider switching to software that can easily integrate with your existing software. Once pinning down the right software, process your entire data to be ready for import into your new donor management software. And finally, give equal importance to training your staff about the new system in place.