Monday, April 18, 2011

BIG's Blog: The Challenges of Integrating Technology

“There are so many channels in today’s environment and all organizations need to take advantage of integrating them. You need to move quickly and master campaign integrations today because they’ll change tomorrow.” This statement was made to me by the vice president of a Christian organization about our changing world.

Continuing our discussion from yesterday’s blog on trends that affect nonprofits the most; if nonprofits don’t learn how to integrate technology quickly, it will be a challenge to keep donor's attention on our missions.

Today, people go to the Internet for everything: pay bills, search for a vacation, buy a book or find a friend. The list goes on. When and how will your organization reach out to this growing audience?

But, how does one go about “moving quickly” into the use of this technology when that is not the culture of the organization? The answers:

• Have a plan
• Hold internal discussions about the direction to manage expectations
• Seek out guidance in areas where it is needed

Technology is changing the way nonprofits communicate with their donors. But, that has always been true. I remember, in the early 90s, training religious staff to use personal computers. New technology provided this organization with the ability to thank donors the next day and have real-time access to their data. This was new technology back then.

To make this story short, the week-long training was extremely difficult for staff. Before leaving their office I explained to the executive director that it would take three months before staff would learn to adapt to this change.

After an angry call from the president, a second week-long training session and numerous phone calls walking staff through the new processes, things finally began to settle down. The staff overcame their fear and began to understand the value of this new technology. Six months later, I received a gift from this organization. I laughed when I opened the card. Inside it said, “We should have trusted you.”

Integrating technology can be challenging for staff. But, there are ways to make this change go smoother. In upcoming blogs, I will present ideas for you to consider.


1 comment:

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