Monday, July 21, 2014

Why Do we still need so much training for Fundraising and CRM systems?

LPA Class-Web Design-Dan May_6 

Over the years, there have been many promises about how we would need less and less training on our new fundraising and CRM systems, but in my experience, most new database implementations still require a fair amount of training. So why is that?

(First things first: there are whole books and thesis written about the best way to provide training on IT systems, so I have considered this blog post for just a few top level points - if you want to dig down further into the area then there is plenty more reading out there.)

We do have to remember that a fundraising or CRM database is not like a word processor or smartphone app. Fundraising/CRM systems are sophisticated and large applications, and, critically, they are also at the heart of our business operations and all our processes. So whatever we are implementing, they are going to take more time to learn than other software systems.

Secondly, because these systems are so sophisticated, flexible and broad-ranging, the administrators and database managers are going to require in-depth training and that isn't going to take a short time. There will almost certainly be multiple days training for such people.

And then we have the 'end-users'. Clearly this is where the bulk of the training needs to happen. And this is the area where we might be able to fine-tune and streamline some training courses for these people. Many vendors and organisations have moved on from the 'day 1, day 2, how to use our system' type training, and are realising that training the users around their particular business processes and specific instance of the system is a better way to do it. However, except for the very simplest of needs, even that is going to require a bit of time. And, as I said before, because in effect we are not just training on the software but reviewing the business processes too, and the users are having to understand how they have been impacted with the new system, then all that will add-up.

Which is why there is still so much training needed for most implementations of fundraising and CRM systems!

And a final word on some vendors: if you get a software supplier who tells you that you/your users don't need any training "because the system is so simple/intuitive…", then take that with a pinch of salt. If that's the case then not only must the software be so simple to use that anyone can start to use it without any problems or asking any questions, but they clearly also know all the new processes without any training either. Sorry - I can't see that happening.

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