We’ve been working with non-profits for over a decade. And, if you ask us, one of the biggest things holding organizations back is their use of antiquated nonprofit technology, duplication in their process, and their lack of a streamlined workflow.
So, let’s break this down, and talk about how to save time and money and avoid these limited behaviors.
Here are some issues that I’m referring to.
Asking for opinions on projects late in the game and having to redo work, and sometimes even throw out days, weeks, or even months of effort. Many organizations are strapped for time. And, even though events are predictable, they may leave the work until the last minute because their staff is handling so much simultaneously. Everyone is too busy. But, they’re wasting their time because the project’s they’re doing may not even come to fruition, if the key players don’t have their hands in it until the very end.
In the design world we joke – “Practice safe design, use a concept.” Well, in the beginning, before starting your project, ask others in the approval process about their expectations. Then, once you have that concept, run it by them. Have checkpoints to make sure you’re on the right path. The culture may need to change in order to collaborate better, but a moment here and a moment there will help so much in the long run. That way, when you reach the end, you’re not hearing “that wasn’t what I had in mind” or “how about we do something like this?” (Insert something completely different.)
Too Many Hands in the Mix
If there’s one thing that leads to unproductively, it’s too many hands in the mix. Sometimes we joke, “Do you know what a camel is? It’s a horse built by a committee.” With so many people focused on providing value, what happens is that you just wind up with too many cooks in the kitchen. Everybody’s helping; but when you’re trying to reach consensus, you can’t always pull all of everyone’s ideas together to make the end result well-designed and work.
Large groups of people can get very creative when working together and more effort is spent on making everyone happy rather than on completing a project in a way that will give you the best results.
For instance, if you’re going to spend a lot of time building multiple designs for the same purpose, why not take the time to split test them and see which gives you the best result? You’ll save time in the end when it comes to marketing, because you won’t be wasting your time trying to figure out and compensate for what’s not working.
Our advice: Pare down the amount of people working on the project. Follow a simple thought-process. Take initial input from others connected to the project, but keep your actual project team small. You’ll be able to move forward faster in stead of chugging along trying to keep up with cc:’s.
Duplication in the Process
Maybe your using multiple applications that can do the same thing. Maybe you’re having teams that are working on overlapping projects. Maybe your systems are duplicating effort. Maybe your team is tired and you don’t know why; but, get the feeling they’re using too much effort for the results they’re showing. It may be time to consider if there’s duplication slowing down your process.
Duplication is no joke. It can waste serious time and money depending on what you’re investing in and how long you’re unaware of it.
When you have teams working in silos and not communicating or collaborating properly, you’ll find that duplication in investments is a very real danger. Too often, teams sign up for applications that do one thing well, but totally miss the mark on another. While one department can move forward, another department is limited with a less than stellar part of the product that was bundled in as part of an over-hyped package. They may need to invest in other products to compensate.
One of the difficulties of silos in your organization is that it leads to challenges when it comes to building bridges for delivering data between departments. When one department invests in software, they may not be knowledgeable about the needs of another department. The communication may not be flowing, or there may be misunderstandings. There may be duplication of effort trying to make things work, like doing something manually when you have the automated processes available. Or, even, multiple people doing similar work when one person can own and organize that part of the process…
Antiquated NonProfit Technology
The reality is that organizations don’t always know what they are getting even though they’ve gone through endless demos and sales conversations. Non-profits are working with companies who are concerned about their own bottom-lines and have and are marketing inferior software that may have even been neglected for years.
There are companies who look reputable, but are selling antiquated (yet, expensive!) software, which traps organizations in an investment that can limit their growth. But, there are products available that are built well, updated and affordable. There are companies who focus on customer support and providing personalized attention along with beautiful products and designs. The question is – will you be able to tell which works well?
And, the only way to do that is to know what you need when you’re considering buying.
Our advice: Don’t make decisions unless you include everyone who will be using the software in the conversations. And, actively listen if somebody speaks up and says it won’t work for them. Parts of these bundles may not be efficient for everyone; so act as a filter. Don’t limit yourself down the line by using the parts of the bundle that don’t work for your team. And, focus on investing in nonprofit technology that works for everyone who’s using it..
How to Work Better Together
One of the services we provide is a discovery process that audits your processes and nonprofit technology. We take a deep look into how your organization works and we determine how you can save time and money. We’re able to provide an expert opinion on improving your business process management (BPM), workflow processes, technology systems and digital marketing strategies.
We’re able to help you prioritize your next steps and work with both your team and stakeholders in your organization to overcome these challenges, improve BPM and change deeply rooted habits.
What is the #1 struggle your organization is facing? Does this challenge lead to other challenges? Let’s talk about what’s going on, why it needs to change and what we can do to improve it.
Take advantage of our FREE 20-minute consultation today!