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Donor Participation Project

Overcoming Common Challenges in Implementing New Fundraising Technologies

Implementing new fundraising technologies is no easy feat for nonprofits. Getting buy-in, navigating long purchase processes, and coordinating implementations across teams are just some of the obstacles. Technology adoption specialist Julie Henderson offered some best practices for overcoming common challenges based on her experience at Carnegie Mellon University and other institutions.

First, identify and understand your end users’ needs.

Make sure any new tool will meet those needs and clearly define what success looks like. Otherwise, you risk ending up with “shelfware”—technology that is rarely used after implementation. Engage end users in reviewing and selecting tools to ensure the best fit.

Next, get leadership and IT on board early.

Henderson recommended educating leadership and your IT team about how the technology will benefit fundraising and streamline workflows. Their support—and understanding of the purchasing process—is essential. Ask IT to evaluate data integration and security concerns as part of the selection process. Addressing their questions upfront will speed eventual approval and implementation.

Also, don’t forget technology trials and demos are key.

Ask tech vendors for hands-on access so end users can fully explore tools. Use a scoring rubric to evaluate options objectively based on your needs. However, be realistic in setting trial periods, as tying technology adoption to arbitrary deadlines rarely works.

Finally, focus on communication and coordination.

Clearly define data sharing policies, best practices, and a schedule for using any shared technologies across teams to provide a seamless experience for donors. Continually monitor how the technology is being used and gather feedback to make improvements.

With strategic partnerships, open communication, and coordinated implementation, nonprofits can successfully navigate obstacles to adopting new fundraising technologies. Following a thoughtful process and centering end users will lead to tools that streamline work, enable data-driven decisions, and ultimately help you reach your fundraising goals.

View the full recording of this session in our Resource Library.

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