Your eCRM isn’t working for your nonprofit organization. And lucky you – you aren’t a tech expert but you’re the one who needs to find decent options and make a recommendation. But where to look and how to choose? Can you move forward with confidence when you have so many blind spots?
Join Maureen Wallbeoff, nonprofit digital strategist and technology coach, and Eric Rubin, Director of Business Development at Engaging Networks, as they show you how to identify your requirements, get a useful demo, and talk turkey with your prospective software partners. Eric and Maureen will also give you tips to prepare for a smooth conversion.
MARUEEN WALLBEOFF, OWNER AND CONSULTANT AT MEETMAUREEN.COM
Maybe you are struggling with legacy systems, or perhaps you just finished an implementation and things aren’t running as smoothly as you expected. Or you’re overwhelmed by the task of managing a technical project in addition to your day job. No matter what your particular situation is, chances are good that I’ve faced it too.
I’m here to help! More than seventeen years working inside nonprofit organizations, and another ten years leading a digital agency for nonprofits, has given me the insight and expertise to navigate the most challenging technology issues. We’ll make a success plan just for you.
Visit Maureen’s website to learn more.
ERIC RUBIN, DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT ENGAGING NETWORKS
I help nonprofits find digital solutions to grow their audience and raise more money. I lean on a theater background to tell stories, present ideas and build partnerships.
For the last 15 years I have managed programs in diverse sectors including refugee work, nonprofit technology, community organizing for clean energy and youth empowerment.
[ MUSIC ]
Hello everyone, thank you very much for joining
us today for our latest and greatest
Engaging Networks webinar,
which is Get Smart The Easy Way
to Find the Right eCRM.
Maureen is the owner and consultant
full of resources for any kind
of technology issues you have,
including eCRM selection and migration
and all kinds of other great topics.
And Eric Rubin is our director
of the West Coast Business Development
at Engaging Networks.
So I will just hand it over to you all.
OK, so if you’re here watching live,
participating with us today or you’re
watching the recording,
we want to welcome you to this hour.
And what we’re going to do with you today
is help you understand a very easy
and proven way to actually find the right
eCRM, the right digital engagement
tools for your organisation.
And usually when that decision
shows up inside your organisation.
It’s like a happy, sad moment.
Yay, we can make a move.
We hate our legacy system for one
reason or seventy five reasons.
And now we get a chance to pick something
new, like get a new car
and drive it around.
And then immediately after
that once you’re like yay
they gave me budget. ARGGH!
You know, this is how people really
feel is, I don’t know what I’m doing.
This is high visibility, this is risky.
This costs a lot of money.
I got to take a lot of people’s
considerations and requirements
to bear as I look around the marketplace,
which is constantly changing,
has a ton of products in it
that you might want to use.
But where do you even start and how do
you think about this like a project?
How do you know what the right
things are to pay attention to?
How much time do you need to carve out
of your very over full days to try
to manage an evaluation
and selection project and process?
And and so Eric and I are coming at this
from slightly different perspectives.
Because my whole thing is I help
non-profits make good decisions about
their technology and I’m unbiased.
Don’t care what you use.
It just needs to be
the right system for you.
And so often where Eric’s life
and my life intersect is I’ll say,
hey, client, hey, non-profit.
You might want to consider
Engaging Networks as your CRM
for these important reasons.
And so, Eric, you want to say a little bit
about, you know, your your mindset or
your frame as we were prepping for this?
I mean, frankly, you know,
I sell software for Engaging Networks.
Obviously we’re in eCRM platform.
So but my take here is
don’t necessarily take into account some
of the same practises that a company does
when they approach the buying process.
There’s a lot going
on at your organisation.
People are wearing different hats.
This is one more thing on their plate.
You probably don’t have like a separate
procurement department that’s used
to the contracting and the negotiating
and and the whole process part.
You might not have the resources
for a full blown RFP.
You might not have the time
for a full blown RFP.
But how can you approach this wisely?
And how can you apply some
of the practises of what your profits do
to to take on this decision making process
and to push companies, frankly,
to deliver the best services?
So we are all on the same page about this.
First phase, right, so you got maybe some
budget, hopefully, you know how much you
have to spend, and usually what
happens is one of two things.
Someone calls someone like Eric,
send him an email.
Hey, I saw an ad or I was on a webinar.
I want to learn more about
or they go into a non-profit Facebook
group and say, what do you use and do you like it?
And the danger there is that what works
really well for Organisation A might be
the worst thing ever for Organisation B.
And so just like trolling random strangers
on the Internet to find out what your
options might be is probably not
the best way to start strong.
It really starts inside your organisation.
So we’re going to focus this first
part on getting your act together.
And I don’t mean that you
don’t have your act together.
Now, you might, you might not.
I think we’re all sort of a mixed bag.
What we really want to help you focus
on is a little bit of introspection,
understanding what your needs are,
getting the right people together to talk
about this stuff before
you really look outside.
So let’s talk about what this looks like.
And this is kind of in the order that Eric
and I recommend that you do these things.
So before you lob any emails out
to potential software partners, you want
to stick close to home for a little bit.
And this first phase usually takes
about four to six weeks, I would say.
And that’s like an hour or two a week,
not one hundred hours a week.
First thing, you want
to assemble your internal team.
Eric, what’s successful
at team assembly here.
Who needs to be part of this team?
First of all, you got to figure out,
do you have the internal resources
to take on this project?
Do you have someone who can be sort
of dedicated to it and then looking
forward, do you have people
to implement new software?
Do you actually have someone
with the bandwidth digitally
to take advantage of new software?
If the answer is no, then
whatever tools you bring on is not going
to necessarily help you if you don’t have
the internal resources
to make make use of it.
So the other thing is stakeholders.
If you have a communications
and a marketing team and you have
a separate fundraising team and then
you’ve got your I.T. team in your
you need to figure out who are the core
stakeholders from those teams and get them
involved early in the
You need to get buy in from the decision
makers who are going to make the ultimate
decision out of the gate,
because if you start down one path is
there is your digital fundraising team
and then you realise, wait a second,
all of our data is siloed with our
communications team and this other team,
then you’re going to you might get all
the way far along and then realises
that it all falls apart because there’s
different agendas for these different
teams to get by and get
it early at all levels.
And you don’t want one hundred people.
I mean, if you’re a large organisation,
it’s tempting to invite
everybody in their junior team.
I like to see in a healthy
selection team no less than three.
Unless you’re an organisation of one
and probably no more than 10 or 12,
I think that’s a manageable size, even 10,
you’re going to struggle to try to find
meeting calendars that align
and things like that.
So so be smart about the size.
Second step here is getting your
arms around your current tech stack.
It is really common that you
only know your tools.
And there’s a whole bunch of other things
that are being used inside your
organisation to communicate and engage
your supporters and get
them to take action.
So literally draw a picture
of the products that you use.
I use PowerPoint to create this
with big coloured circles.
Here’s my existing sCRM.
Here’s my database.
Here’s our project management tool.
Here’s what we’re using
for email marketing.
And and so lay it all out there.
What do you got?
And then what are you looking to replace?
You know, some things are connected,
some things are separate,
things that can be connected.
And in the case of an eCRM like Engaging
Networks, it does a lot of things.
So sometimes you can say I have one email
tool and three fundraising tools now
and an advocacy tool
and they’re all separate.
And what we really want to do is try
to use as much functionality
in one platform as we can.
The other thing you can do here is show
the data connections, if any,
between your different products.
So whether it’s an integrated app
that feeds data automatically one way or
two ways, or it’s Kathy and Kathy uploads
a file, that blue dotted line is a person.
Try to illustrate how data is moving
around inside your organisation.
Now, it’s really important for you to be
able to share a view of your current
ecosystem with your perspective software
vendors so they can understand
how their tools fit in.
So that’s the text stack piece.
The third thing that we want you to do
internally is define your requirements.
And it’s not just functionality.
Often people are like it needs to do X,
Y or Z and do the laundry
at the end of the day, yes,
functionality requirements are super
critical to get right and get
agreement on inside your organisation.
But you’re also looking
for things like cost.
That’s a requirement.
What kind of skills people
need to use the new system.
That’s a requirement.
If you have no Web developers on your
staff and the tool that you’re
contemplating using requires web developer
level skills, what are you going to do?
Might not be a great fit for you.
You also have to think about the kind
of relationship business and otherwise you
want to build with that perspective
software vendor, because hopefully
you’re going to be with them for years.
And so that kind of stuff
is important too.
Eric you and I talk about
requirements all the time.
What do you have to add
here? Or tips or advice?
Yeah, I mean, you know,
this I think this is a place we really
need to spend dedicated energy.
This is you know,
we talked about Mise en place which is
the french term for basically when
you’re cooking something.
This is the most early part of my life.
Which is if I’m going to cook stew,
I chop all the carrots in one spot,
all of the onions in another place,
and you get all neatly laid out
before you go in and start start cooking.
In terms of the selection process.
And so wrapping your head around what you
already have and then getting requirements
really clear on what must haves are,
nice to haves and all
of that for your new system,
and guess what?
Doing that is going to require some real,
honest, hard hitting
you know, just like a branding
conversation can help an organisation
actually figure out who they are and what
they what they want to accomplish.
This can actually force you to look
at things like data governance.
You know, do you have a bunch of people
slopping data into a salesforce instance
from different programs
at your non-profit
and creating this data mess?
Is there someone who is in charge
of that overall governance of how data
and how different teams
are using different tools?
Is one team using MailChimp is another
team using constant contact and they’re
ploughing it all into the same salesforce?
Is your advocacy team loading advocates
into something and your
fundraising team loading donors?
And there’s no overlap, right.
That’s a huge missed opportunity
to convert advocates to donors
and donors to advocates.
So defining requirements,
and again, this is where bringing
in a consultant, someone like Maureen or
someone else can really help because it
does require specific expertise
to run this internal conversation.
If you don’t get this right,
everything else that follows is going to
be messy and you might just end up with
a different sort of mess in a new
set of tools. Shiny mess, ha ha ha,
as opposed to the mess that we’ve been
dealing with for a while,
when you’re when you’re thinking about
also just a word about that.
I like to give people
the pointer that categorise stuff, right?
You want your event requirements together
and your fundraising requirements
together and so forth.
But think about urgency.
So what’s a must have – MUST HAVE?
We’re not going to look at any systems
that don’t provide this functionality.
Then there’s nice to have.
Yeah, we’ll use it.
Right, we’ll totally use it.
And then the third is aspirational and I,
I follow this
Things Non Profits say Twitter account,
which is hilarious and if you don’t
follow it, you probably should.
And they they actually just posted
something recently that said aspirational
things are the things that we
always talk about, but we never do.
So aspirational is, we
got no real plan for it.
But sure, if the system can do it,
we might find a reason to use it.
Next point is about research.
Where do you even look?
This might be the place where you start
to ask random strangers on the Internet,
what are you using for your eCRM?
You also can look at places like
all of those are sort of review sites
for software and they have very, very
robust sections for non-profit software.
So you can totally go look look in those
places to to try to find
some likely candidates.
And then, Eric, I want you to talk about
this one, sharing info
with the software companies.
It is, yeah, I mean, and again,
it does come back to the requirements,
but also and this is like this sort
of like sales tip,
you don’t have to share everything.
You don’t have to tell them
who the competitors are
you’re considering you don’t
have to tell them please,
and this is like going against my own
best interests here, honestly.
But don’t tell software vendors
what you’re paying right now.
Please don’t do that right.
This is the secret that you have
that you can use to negotiate.
This is what companies do,
no companies that ever going to tell
you what they’re paying right now,
don’t tell them what your budget is,
right, because those are secrets
that you have in your bag that
I hate to say it.
If you tell a software company what your
budget is, guess what the proposal
is going to look like.
It’s going to look an awful
lot like what your budget is.
So so that’s real.
That’s real talk.
And so to keep certain things close to in
your pocket, that’s that’s not dishonest.
It’s just good negotiating tactics.
But get your requirements clear.
Get them to the software vendor is early
in the process as possible
because that’s going to help them craft
a demo for you and a proposal for you
that matches your use case versus getting
a bunch of standard out of the box
proposal templates from that.
And if that’s what you’re getting,
that’s a bit of a red flag, right?
Maybe out of the gate.
It’s a standard template thing.
But if you’re showing them clear
requirements and you’re not seeing
that stuff show up in their materials
and their demo, then they’re
not really paying attention.
Now, listen, they got to listen to you,
great, great, great, so phase one is done.
You’ve assembled your team, you’ve
got a map of what you’re using now.
You’ve defined your requirements and made
some agreements about priorities.
You’ve got a list of prospective vendor
partners you want to talk to and you’ve
reached out and you’ve shared
appropriate information with them.
Now you are in the sales cycle, you
have entered the sales cycle.
And you know, you need to lead this.
You are the customer.
And it’s sort of a little partnership.
It’s an early test of partnering up
with prospective software vendors.
You want to see how they respond to you?
Are they responsive?
Does it take them 12
weeks to write you back?
Are they listening to you?
Is Eric mentioned?
If you feel like you need to be
in the back seat of your selection
process, that is not helpful.
Someone inside your organisation actually
needs to be the boss,
needs to be the driver, needs to make
decisions and get the thing to move.
So here’s what this looks like.
I always advocate for a pre
demo discovery meeting.
Sometimes they’re called sales pre-sales
meetings or sales discovery meetings,
but it’s usually about forty
five minutes to an hour meeting.
You shared your information with someone
like Eric and then you
guys are going to talk.
Eric, what’s the goal?
What’s the value not only for you,
but for the non-profit team
of having a meeting before the demo?
Yeah, I mean, discovery.
Hopefully this vendor knows how
to ask the right questions.
Again, this is all about getting really
clear about what your specific needs are,
what your specific use case is,
because these eCRMs, these platforms are
designed to be meet as many needs
of as many nonprofits as possible.
But you have specific needs.
And so that needs to be really
clear in your selection.
And hopefully that discovery,
it’s also an opportunity to connect.
don’t base your buying
decision based on the personality
and the connection you have
with the salesperson, please
do your actual homework.
Just because you like somebody like Eric
doesn’t mean that tool is is
actually the best choice for you.
Many salespeople are very likeable.
That’s part of their skill set.
So pre demo meeting, don’t bring the whole
team, you and maybe one other person,
whoever is leading the search,
plus maybe one other person from another
department or another team,
you don’t want to have seven
hundred people meet with Eric.
Keep it, keep it small, keep it tight,
then you’re going to set up the demo and
my my advice is always a 90 minute demo.
An hour is too short.
These tools do too much.
You want to make room for questions
and conversation for sure.
Two hours people’s attention starts
to wane, especially if everybody’s
in a Zoom box and they’re checking
their email and things like that.
So ninety minutes is perfect.
You want to again have that internal team
ready to go and you want to prepare them.
So send Jim an email ahead of time
with the vendors web site URL.
Go check this out.
And I always give people
a few tips around.
Like, don’t pay attention to things
that are not part of your
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen
a finance team person ask a zillion
questions about an email template.
Doesn’t make a lot of sense.
So try to stick to your lane,
let your communications people handle
the email stuff and have everybody ready
to go and start right at the beginning.
I would also record it
in case there’s a decision maker
who couldn’t make it or
who isn’t part of the demo team.
You want to fill them in.
It’s an easy way to have them.
Just watch the demo.
Eric, talk about how you prepare for demo
in what you think the value
of these demos are.
Absolutely again, and this comes
the same story,
but from your requirements,
the next step is to get a really clear
demo script for that 90 minutes.
It can be something that’s developed
with the salesperson so
that you have times on that.
We talked about this for ten
minutes and talk about this for 20
demos are a particular skill set
that not every sales team is good at.
Some people give really bad demos and this
is your chance to really look so.
Also, make sure there’s, again,
Buy-In from your team that they’ve
actually set aside this time,
that they have reviewed the demo script
to make sure what’s important
to them is in there.
And then you’re co-responsible
for managing this demo and making sure
because sometimes if there’s if there’s
a gap in the software, guess what?
The demo is going to focus on the strong
points in the software and not
necessarily on the stuff they don’t do.
And it’s your job to see whether this
software does all
the things that you need.
Also prep your team so that you’re
someone who’s outspoken,
the person who pokes holes.
Great to have them.
Usually it’s your database
manager not going to lie.
They’re the most traumatised
by past experiences.
But make sure that everyone
is on the same page.
Have a pre-call with your team to say,
hey, guys, this is our demo script,
we need to get through it.
And so if that person running the demo
isn’t bike-racking or parking lotting
questions as they come up,
then you need to manage that because
otherwise you’re going to derail the demo.
You’re not going to touch on the stuff
that you’re different
team people need to see.
They’re going to check out if you start
talking to deep level
Salesforce integration talk.
And so you need to make sure and if you’re
the champion of this,
if you’re the person your organisation
wants to see this happen and you’ve got
a bunch of people in there that have
a bunch going on,
if you don’t get that by and for them,
it’s going to be that much more work
for you to get this towards a decision.
And, you know, it’s not your
only chance to look at a tool.
We’ll talk about that
in a couple of minutes.
And just be realistic.
You’re not going to see
everything in 90 minutes.
You’re not going to do a deep dive
on every single bit of functionality
because these tools do a lot of things,
which is great for us non-profit folks.
But it also means that you’re not going
to be able to get down seven hundred
layers to source codes and GL codes and fund
codes necessarily in this first demo.
So you’ve had your 90 minute demo.
It went how it went.
It was great.
It was it was medium
software partner leaves.
You’re going to immediately meet with your
team, grab a bio break, you know,
five or ten minutes, let people check
their email or whatever they need to do.
Do not let them go on with their day
without having a debrief meeting.
So 90 minute demo,
30 minute debrief meeting.
And I’m a real nudge when it comes
to quick, quick answers to very
And you want to ask each member of your
team these four questions and everybody
listens while Cathy is
answering the four questions.
And then it’s Bob’s turn to answer
the four questions and go around
the room and see where people are at.
It’s a beautiful moment to share how
what everybody’s perspective was.
Maybe three people loved it.
Two people were lukewarm.
One person was like, I’m out.
This isn’t going to work for me.
And here are the four
questions you want to ask.
What did you see that you liked?
Second question, what did you
see that you didn’t like?
Third question, what follow up
questions has this demo raised for you?
You know, there’s more things you’re going
to want to learn about
this particular tool.
What are they?
We didn’t see X.
I need more information
about why gather that stuff.
And then the fourth question is,
based on what we saw today,
is this product a contender?
Should it move to the next round,
which is the proposal round
and get everybody to answer it?
And if you’re seeing multiple demos,
try to space them out.
Product A Monday, product B on Wednesday
or Thursday, don’t jam them all into one
day because it’s all going to blur.
And by the end of the day,
people will not be responding
appropriately to the demo and debrief.
So try to space them out.
Next Eric, you’re going to ask for a proposal,
right, unless an RFP has been involved.
So I’d love to hear some advice
and some tips from you on this.
And one thing, I just want to pull back
on demos, and this comes down to setting
things up at the very
beginning for success.
they talked about like in a good
presentation, you lay out what people are
going to learn in advance,
then you deliver on that.
And then you in the end,
you tell them what they learnt,
having a timeline for your process.
This is something that’s a part of all RFPs
that needs to be a part
of your selection process.
demos, selection, decision.
There might be other pieces in there,
but this timeline needs to be laid out in
advance and it needs to be agreed upon.
Based on thinking from the end backwards
of when you need to be live and need a new
tool when your contract expires and your
because we see these sprawling processes
all the time, it’s not good
for you and your time resources.
It’s really bad for the vendor.
And we see this all the time.
And so demos, you get that first demo
and then somebody was there,
but they couldn’t join or somebody was
just checked out and not listening.
The next thing we know, hey,
can we do another demo?
We go through the same thing.
Half the people on the call
already heard it.
There’s two new people.
So we have to go all the way through
the stuff again that we already covered.
And it’s just we lose momentum.
Everyone is sad.
So no, have a time when everyone agrees
to so that you have that demo
script that touches on it.
Now, maybe you’re IT
people don’t have to be there
for the digital email part.
So build a script that has those segments
timed out 90 minutes, half day,
whatever it is,
you take one half day from people,
but that means they don’t have to do
seventeen demos laid out
over a six week period.
Guess what, that’s a good use
of a half day for you, for the vendor.
You know, people
we literally see it all the time with these
sprawling things where
after a demo four months go by, everyone’s
forgotten what we’re talking about.
And and I hear you,
Matt is talking about recording demos.
No one watches, recorded demos.
Let’s be honest.
Who goes back and pulls up that link
and watches the recorded demo?
I don’t think anybody does.
I’ve got got clients who do,
I’ll say, yeah, it’s happened.
That’s awesome that people do that.
If I had a recorded demo sitting
in my account, I think it
might be the last thing.
I just so get them on that thing live,
get the buy in and do it
with a timeline in place anyway.
Sorry so, we’re talking proposals?
We were sorry I, I digress.
Oh it’s good.
You got passion.
You know, proposals again.
Did they actually listen
to the conversation?
Did they send you some boilerplate template
proposal that has nothing to do with what
you guys actually talked about?
and just lays out pricing.
Maybe that’s fine.
Maybe all you need to know is the numbers
you already learnt everything you
needed to know from requirements.
But it’s just another thing that it’s,
you know, the devil’s in the details.
your proposals should include some very
specific things too for you to really
know what your costs are going to be,
and Eric is going to talk a little bit
later about total cost of ownership.
But at the bare minimum,
in the proposal, you want these things.
You want the price of the
product for three years.
You want to know even if you’re not
signing a three year contract, you want
to know what the price is going to be.
Year one, year two, year three,
because, again, moving is a pain.
It’s expensive, it’s time consuming.
You don’t want to be hopping
around from product to product.
So plan three to five years.
That’s really the the the bare minimum
that you should plan on being in any CRM.
It’s a big investment
of time to get there.
So you want the price of the product.
You also want the price of implementation,
the moving, the configuration,
the building out of donation form,
setting up of email templates,
the basic stuff,
the assets that you know, that you’ve
got that you want in this new product.
Somebody’s got to set it up,
so you want to have those costs
laid out as well. Data migration.
We’re going to talk
about data in a minute.
For now, let’s just say that data
also has to get moved in
in many cases, your email
audience, your donors,
whether you’re hooking up an eCRM
to an existing database or in some cases
you’re trying to get by with the eCRM as
the database, info has got to get populated
from your legacy system into your new one.
So that’s got to be part of it.
You want training and you do
not want to skimp on training.
You want to know how are
we going to get trained?
How many hours do we get?
Is itself directed?
Do you have videos?
Does a person actually teach us? Get
the details about that so that you can
have an accurate picture in your head
of what that experience is going to be
like and then some support
or post launch development.
It’s always good to have a little bit
of extra budget in there,
whether it’s part of the proposal or not,
for you to to know that you can build
out or enhance from your initial setup.
So proposals should
include all those things.
Let’s pretend that you talked to five
companies, you saw four demos,
you asked three, four proposals,
see where I’m going, narrowing it down.
Got to cut some people loose at some
of these stages if they’re just not going
to be a good fit for one
reason or another.
So narrowing down your options,
you should probably have a couple
proposals. Three? Two? Maybe four?
Maybe three is a good number to hit.
And then based on those proposals,
the demos, the debriefs,
you probably can refine even further.
Usually at this point, everybody’s
got a favourite. You got a favourite,
you got the leader.
Oh, we love Eric.
We love Engaging Networks.
That’s our top choice.
But we’ve got a second.
Whether it’s a close second or not,
probably still have a couple
of systems in the mix at this point.
Here’s where we go into choice.
Eric, got things to add
before we dive into this one.
I just I just want to add I want to talk
about the term we used on our side,
which is called Column Fodder.
Yeah, we go through these long RFP
and this is part of our work, right?
You win some, you lose some.
We invest hours and hours and hours as
vendors in completing this process
with you, multiple demos
with proposals, all of this.
And we are we’re grateful to do it.
It’s our work, right?
We want to work with you.
We want to close new business
on our side to work with you.
But this is like just like dating.
Like don’t string people along,
when you have a first and last
name for your vendor and you.
And it’s two sided thing.
Right, because this is also part
of what having three options.
You need to have it for procurement.
And then it also can help,
frankly, for negotiation.
If people know that there’s competitors
still in the loop, they don’t
need to know who they are.
That can be a secret,
but it is helpful for negotiation.
be clear with people,
keep the process concise.
And if you know who your vendor is,
cut people loose when it’s appropriate
because, you know,
don’t don’t waste people’s time.
Just be transparent and it can
be hard to write that email.
usually brief is best, you know,
update from organisation A.
Dear software partner, salesperson.
We’ve got an update.
We are eliminating
X product from consideration
and give them a couple reasons.
Don’t ghost them, don’t just fade away.
We need to elevate how
we treat each other.
Yeah, it’s and that’s a great point Maureen,
any feedback you can give.
The vendor is so helpful
if it’s process based,
did they do a crappy job on the demo,
if it’s, if it’s product
based that’s super helpful.
But also it’s not personal, you know,
at non-profits, everything,
you know, we’re loving folks.
we you know, we connected
with the sales team.
We don’t we don’t want to let them
down or let them down hard sometimes.
But guess what?
Companies, they don’t care.
It’s all business, you know,
and sometimes that’s like good, good, like
tough love parenting or whatever.
Just tell people, hey, we’re done.
We didn’t select you.
You know, it’s not personal.
Don’t be afraid to do that.
Don’t be afraid to do that.
So you’ve got your top two choices.
How am I going to decide?
This one has five good things.
This one has five other good things.
The price is the same.
The reputation is the same.
You know, this is where, where you have
to know what to pay attention
to in your decision making process.
And to Eric’s point,
it cascades all the way back to the
beginning of webinar assembling your team
and figuring out who the decision makers are.
So making their choice and making sure you
have an accurate picture in your head of
what the migration is going to be like.
So start to get some details.
If you’re working, you know,
you can put your second contender sort
of on a slower track, your top choice.
You really want to start
talking about timeline.
You really want to start
talking about prep.
You really want to start talking about
what’s going to be on us versus what’s
on the software vendor or a third party
who’s going to help with the move.
So really get specific details about
what that move is going to be.
It often can make or break your whole
experience of working
with the product itself.
The product could be
a great fit in every way.
But if you had different expectations than
reality about what the migration project
was going to be like,
it’s not a good way to start.
So everybody needs to be
on the same page about that.
Eric, let’s talk about sandboxes,
because they’re they’re good and bad.
Getting a trial account.
Just like everything
else we’ve talked about,
you need to have a process in place.
You just get a trial link and you
send it out to everybody, again,
They may they may not log in,
if they do,
they’re going to poke around.
So for Engaging Networks, right.
When we give someone a sandbox,
we launch somebody new in the tool.
There’s extensive training from A to Z.
We give you in-person training
as we move towards launch.
It’s intuitive, but it’s sophisticated.
If you’re trying to buy a great tool,
it’s also probably sophisticated.
So make sure that if you’re going to give
a sandbox to your people
that you have a process.
When are we going to review this?
There’s a deadline, right.
I need your questions and feedback by this
deadline and make a decision maker,
a.k.a. their boss, is involved
in asking for that sandbox feedback.
So people are really going in there
and getting their hands dirty because
otherwise, if I just go in one day for ten
minutes and poke around
in a new software, guess what?
I’m going to get confused.
I’m going to get lost.
I might say, hey, I don’t get
it, hard, lost opportunity.
So if you’re going to ask for the sandbox,
make sure you’re also going to do
your actual due diligence as a team.
Otherwise, it’s kind of a waste.
And give people tasks to do, you know.
Hey, you database administrator,
I want you to go in there and I want you
to add some test records and some test
gifts and see what they, what
that looks like on a donor record.
Hey, email person.
I want you to poke around and try
to figure out if you can
build a quick email.
You’re not going to send it out,
but get people to sort of have a bit
of experience based on their job,
role and responsibilities.
References is the next thing
you need to pay attention to.
Now, references are hand-picked, right?
So Eric’s not going to give you
somebody who doesn’t love them.
It’s just like references for a job.
But unlike references for a job where you
literally can’t ask some things by law,
you can ask a software reference,
a whole bunch of things.
And so, you know,
you’re going to go to Eric.
He’s he’s going to give
you some references.
Eric, what’s the logic?
You know, because you don’t
want to have one reference.
Answer every single question about
a thousand prospective clients
right? Yeah, two points here.
One – references are
busy people at non-profits.
And again, if you’re going to ask
for references, make sure that you’re
going to check with them,
that it’s going to be an orderly process,
that if they make the intro to you,
that you follow up in a timely way
and don’t send that poor reference a 10
page document full of questions.
This is someone who’s offering their time
as a non-profit professional,
freely to talk with you about
their software experience.
Get on a quick call, ask your questions.
And the second piece is just like when
you’re interviewing a candidate for a job.
Call the references they give you and call
somebody who they didn’t give you.
People send references
of people who love them.
That is part of how this works.
So do your actual due diligence,
look on their website,
find out who their clients are.
And find out when your team has has
Connexions there. If you just start cold
calling people at non-profits,
they’re probably not going to respond to you.
But someone in your team has a LinkedIn
connection and people will talk
to you about their experience.
It’s easy to be sneaky these days and find
other users in addition to the
references that you’re given.
And you know, Kathy, if people want
as a follow up,
I’ve actually got a document –
questions to ask the client,
references that could be helpful.
So I’d be happy to give.
that to you, and we can send
it out to people afterwards.
That’d be great. Services – make sure
you’re pieing the right services. Again
if you have 17 donation forms in your
existing eCRM or fundraising system
and you know you’re going to use them,
they’re not just from old campaigns.
You got to make sure that that’s
included in the services.
Maybe they’re setting up five and you’re
setting up five,
but you need to know that what’s going to
get built out in there is what you want.
Same thing with data clean up.
Everybody’s data is dirty.
That’s the little dirty non
secret about nonprofits.
Everybody’s got dirty data
and usually multiple sources.
So make sure that whoever is helping you
move in is actually going to either give
you the services that you need to clean
that stuff up, get it all tidy and moved
in properly, or gives you
advice about third parties.
Or, you know, if you’ve got in-house
expertise, you’ve got the the time
and the the skill to do
that on your own timeline.
I cannot tell you how many times just this
year and we’re only in February,
I’ve had people call me up or shoot me
an email and say my contract
for my current product expires in 60 days
and we got to get out of here.
There is no way,
even if you’re a very small organisation,
that 60 days is enough time.
It’s just not enough time to move.
There’s a lot of work to do.
And we’re going to talk about
some of that stuff in a sec.
Eric, what’s realistic to move in?
How long does it usually take?
It really depends.
And again, this is about
being real talk with the organisation.
do you have dedicated resources?
Is there someone whose job is going
to be to project manage this migration?
If it’s someone who’s got three hours
a week in addition to being your full time
then you really need to give yourselves
the timeline to to to adjust
for that and budgeting for an agency
to support with that.
We just see that nine times out of ten,
that’s where folks are the happiest.
An agency that has real expertise
onboarding someone on that product.
You know, they’re going to have
onboarding resources at the organisation.
But, you know, it’s always good to make
sure you need to make sure that you’ve got
a team in place that’s responsible
for this migration and not just a couple
folks who are loosely this is one
of the responsibilities on their plate.
I want to go back real fast and touch
on one more thing on references.
which I forgot to mention which is,
reach out to a bunch of people, but take
take each reference, I always say,
you know, if you’re trying to get somebody
and figure out and get opinions,
talk to seven people and get the average
and take the average of what they say.
Because the other thing is
technology is imperfect,
just like people are imperfect.
And let’s be honest,
in my history of working in software,
ain’t nobody THAT happy
with the platform they’re using.
Like, let’s real talk right, there’s headaches.
And the people who are happy are realists
because they’ve been around the block.
They know that there’s there’s gaps in any
tool and they understand, hey, this is
the best one for what we need to do.
But there are folks at non-profits
who didn’t do all the stuff we’ve
described up till here, made a selection
for tools that don’t meet use
case and they might not be happy
and that might have nothing
to do with the product.
So I talked to a lot of people.
I love that.
That’s really great.
And and I love the law
of average there, too.
I typically find that for someone to move
into a product like in Engaging Networks.
A robust system, you’re
talking about 16 to 20 weeks.
I think, you know, four months truly
is what it’s going to take for you to work
through discovery, configuration,
data migration, digital assets
set up, training, testing, go live.
That doesn’t happen like this.
And it needs to fit in to your
other job responsibilities.
So if you’ve got a blackout period
of a month because you’ve got a big
campaign, you have to factor
that stuff in to your timeline, too.
Everybody’s going to get frustrated if
your implementation is very starty stoppy.
it’s sort of like I actually
don’t care when we move because it
feels like it’s never going to happen.
You don’t want to run because people will
be exhausted and mistakes will be made.
And you also don’t want to be so poky
that it never actually, you never get
critical mass or any energy
behind that project.
So a brisk walk, right.
Something where every week there’s
something that people are working on,
but it’s not taking nights and weekends
and super heroic effort for you to do it.
And the shorter your timeline is,
the more likely it is that you’re going
to have to put on your cape and fly
around on a Sunday and test your data.
All right, you’ve made your choice,
you’ve defined your requirements,
you know what services you’re buying
now we start to talk about really getting
ready for the move and part
of that is negotiation right now.
Eric shared a couple of tips
at the very beginning.
But, Eric, I’d love for you to talk a little
bit about the art of negotiating software
price, because what’s printed
in the proposal is not always
what you need to pay, frankly.
And again, this is just like.
You have to think like a company here
and not like, quote unquote,
a non-profit, right?
You know, we
show up for this and mean business.
This is fundraising dollars.
they can go towards
the projects that you’re doing that are
in support of the people you’re serving.
And, you know, the honest truth here is
software is the same piece of software.
It can cost ten thousand dollars.
It can cost one hundred thousand dollars.
And there’s a lot of room in there.
Now, these companies have real costs and
we’re a enterprise solution,
and there’s a certain,
there’s a, you know, there’s a floor,
obviously, to what we need
to charge to meet those costs.
But there’s a lot of room to negotiate
in there on those margins.
And so I think, you know, like I said,
hold your cards close to your chest.
You don’t need to tell them who all your
competitors and all the competitors are
in the process,
because that’s going to tell them
that that vendor a lot about your budget.
And they probably know something about
the price points of those competitors and,
you know, play hard, play hardball.
You know, one thing that some some
organisations do is
a best and final offer.
They say, OK, on this date,
we want your best and final offer.
We’re not going to go back and forth.
So you send me this point knowing that I’m
going to have to come back again to say…
And then guess what?
You can still negotiate on their best
and final offer,
but that forces them to come to the table
and really be honest about
how low they can go.
And remember, year one is always going
to be the most,
the biggest investment because you’re
paying not only for the product,
but you’re paying to move
in and get trained up.
So there’s always going to be
more expenses in year one.
Always, always, always.
And sometimes even if you’re not
negotiating a lower price,
you can negotiate things like I’d actually
like to spread out the cost
of the migration over year one.
In year two, you can say give me two more
donation forms for free that you
guys are going to build.
You could say things like,
I want more training or I want a little
extra support after we go live.
So you can think about not just the cost
of the product itself and the services
to move in, but adding in some things
for free, even if it’s
still at that same price.
The last thing I’ll say about negotiation
is go to them all at once with all of your asks.
Please don’t call Eric and say, Eric,
can you throw in two more donation forms?
And Eric goes and does his magic and gets
approval and comes back and says, yeah,
Cathy, we can do two more
donation forms for free.
And then you say, OK, well, how about…
Do not do death by a thousand
cuts around negotiation?
I think that best and final offer tip is
awesome and I’m going to start
using it with my clients.
So you’ve you’ve got the contract going
through whatever legal review and red
lines and stuff that that is happening.
And you’re starting to get ready to move
out of selection, into implementation.
And this is where
it starts to get really real.
It’s all fun and games when
you’re just looking at demos.
But now you’ve got to start
really doing some of the work.
Internal project manager,
someone on your team has to be point.
Sometimes people hire outside folks.
I often help with migration project
but it’s always good to also have someone
inside your organisation
who’s going to be point.
It might not be a vice president.
It might not be someone that you think is
like at the top of the order of
supervisory roles in your organisation.
A good internal project manager is someone
who is detail oriented,
a clear communicator,
and has some influence,
whether there’s a reporting relationship
or not, to get people to do things right.
You have to be able to go to Cathy’s boss
and say Cathy is not being responsive.
If you’ve tried sixteen times to get Cathy
to turn something in or make a decision,
you have to be able to escalate and you
have to build good relationships.
You have to be in it to make friends.
You know, some people say about me
that they can tell when I’m all
business, but I’m always nice.
It’s just like it’s not personal.
This deadline blew by and now we’re two
weeks behind, which means we’re not
going to launch when we thought we were.
So there’s implications to these things.
What should we do?
Not making it personal.
Cleaning up your data?
I don’t want to talk about that anymore.
You’re going to need to do it.
And if you can do it
even as you’re starting to think about
a move, you’re well ahead of the game.
Head of the class
inventory of your digital assets.
Again, what donation forms,
email templates, newsletters,
action alerts, events
have to be built out in this thing.
So make sure that you have a list
of that stuff.
Making agreements about how decisions will
this is sort of out of the sales cycle,
but Eric, do you have tips for
how to actually land on is that donate
button blue or red or when is something
actually considered final and approved?
Well, more so than that,
I wanted to dial back again just for a
second Maureen, I’m sorry, which is
there’s a lot of vapourware out there.
There’s a lot of salespeople
make a lot of promises.
We see this a lot with our competition.
One thing I will say about our team,
which is you may have noticed,
we tell it like it is, but
people make a lot of promises in the sales
process and you don’t want to show up
on day one and realise that it can’t do
the stuff they said it could do or it’s
on a road map to nowhere, you know.
And so what I want to say is,
if you’ve done this requirements
gathering, they’ve committed to it as
something they have, get it into your
contract you folks.
And again, this is stuff that is not
in my best interest as a vendor, but,
make it an addendum, make that requirements
matrix a literal addendum to your contract
so that the stuff they’ve said they can
do, because otherwise you’re going
to, guess what, you’re dealing
with a total different team
now, once they’ve sold you.
That salesperson says bye bye and now
you’re dealing with an implementation team
that may or may not know what
that salesperson sold.
And so for the good of their team,
for the good of your own team, you know,
if they’ve made commitments,
hold them to it, get it into the contract
itself so that when you come back and say
you promise, this,
you didn’t deliver on it.
You’ve got a paper trail instead
of just a he said she said.
Love it, and I’ve got an eye on the the time,
Kathy i bet you do, too, right.
OK. Parking lot for post launch items.
You can’t do everything
when you’re moving in.
And so any brilliant ideas that you’ve got,
jot them down and then revisit
them after you’ve moved in.
So let’s do some open Q&A.
Kathy, what do you got?
What’s come in?
And if you’ve got a question,
and haven’t chatted it,
We’ve got a couple, four in the Q&A box.
Are you able to pull that up Maureen,
it might be easier for you to read those.
From Matt, question about documenting
requirements with a mix of intentional
and accidental techies,
– my favourite – plus everyone else on staff.
What documentation format or
framework do you recommend?
Matt’s used a mix of listing desired
required feature descriptions and user
stories with levels of prioritisation
to get different angles
from user perspectives.
He finds it’s hard to always get everyone
on the same page
and speaking the language.
Tech projects are mostly organising
people and projects for sure.
What do you have, Eric,
for documenting requirements?
You’ve got it.
No, I mean, what you just
described is a real problem.
like I said, when you do a requirements
one of the things you’re going
to immediately learn is that people have
no idea what they want and they
have no idea how to talk about it.
And so as a sales person, I love getting
a nice clean requirements document.
But how you get to that is
a skill set unto itself.
again, whether you’re bringing
in an agency for that process,or
have internal resources of someone who
understands how to request that feedback.
You know, there’s templates out there
for days, but having that shared language
is where bringing in an outside consultant
for your selection process
is money well spent.
Yeah, I use a set of spreadsheets, Matt.
Actually, I’ve got a functionality
with a tab for each area.
So finance, events, fundraising,
donor tracking, moves management,
email marketing, with a ton of different
with the columns marked
you know, must have, nice to have
aspirational and a column for notes.
And that’s where people can actually put
in what they would use this
thing for if it’s happening now,
if it’s not, so as Eric said,
there’s a ton of things out there.
I have a very truncated sort
of starter version on my website.
So, Kathy, again, I’ll I’ll add
that to the mix for follow up.
So, Matt, I hope that was helpful.
ECFR Berlin office
says thanks a lot for this.
Could you elaborate a bit on how
exactly eCRMs are so different?
Aren’t the usual requirements covered
pretty much by any standard
software in the market?
And and I would say yes and no to that.
What is really important to you and your
organisation may be very different
for Organisation B,
and so there’s a lot of uniqueness.
think of themselves as very unique
and in some cases that is true.
I also think that the people part,
the who’s on my team,
the how will we be trained?
Do we watch a video?
Does somebody train us
in a sandbox or in our own system?
All of those things are important.
Eric got a point or two to add here?
I would say this one important thing is
point solutions versus
A lot of point solutions out there.
You can get something for your donor
forms and a separate email tool and then
that may have those integrating
with the backend database like
a Salesforce or a ROI solutions.
But guess what that means,
lots of headaches because integrations are
always square peg in a round hole.
They’re always imperfect and you want
to have as much as you can in one
integrated eCrm. Like Engaging Networks.
I was waiting for that.
I really was.
then I think we’re going to wrap it up.
Anonymous attendee says, could you share
differences for CRM selection process
between orgs who are migrating between
tools and those who are
starting from scratch?
Man, Eric, I think that’s a whole other
webinar that we need to do
for organisations that are literally
moving from spreadsheets and Google Docs
into their first CRM, you got
a tip for anonymous attendee?
It’s kind of the same thing.
Do your homework.
It’s obviously a very separate set
of tools that you’re looking for
when you’re out of the box,
you can get away.
I assume your budget is going to be
potentially in a particular place as well.
There are a lot of pretty darn good
sort of turnkey
you know, your, frankly your mailchimps,
starter systems, yeah,
starter systems out there that can go.
A long way when you’re coming off
of spreadsheets and make your life
tremendously easier without going
into some of the sophistication of some
of these more enterprise solutions like
Engaging Networks. Yeah don’t move into a
mansion when you really need a townhouse.
That’s for later, like as you grow.
Kathy, we are at a time, man, and I can’t
believe this hour went by so quickly.
Do you have any final things
to add, Maureen or Eric?
Well, I guess in the deck
we’ve got our contact information
we’d love to answer follow up questions.
Everyone needs Maureen to do this for you!
Sometimes it’s good to get paid help, frankly.
We’ll send out a follow up, everyone.
Thank you so much for joining.
And I hope this is helpful information.
Thanks Maureen, thanks Eric for your time.
Always a pleasure.
Everybody have a good rest of your week.
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