If You Build It, They Will Come: Fact or Fiction?

March 20, 2019 Dawn Oliveira

      Baseball diamond and stadium lit up at night

After an amazingly jam-packed week of all things nonprofit tech at the #19NTC conference in Portland this year, this jet-lagged Appirian sat down to collect her thoughts and share her biggest takeaways: 

Nonprofits are concerned about user adoption.
With over a dozen sessions dedicated to user adoption, it seems NGOs have proven Kevin Costner wrong, successful technology transformation is about more than just building the perfect playing field. 

But the challenge, as reflected in the conference agenda, is that user adoption isn’t just one thing. It’s a subtle mix that includes thoughtful planning, change management, user empowerment, training, governance, and more.

What can your organization do to hit one out of the park? 

If you’re reading this, then you’ve already taken the first step by recognizing that user adoption is a critical part of embarking on a transformational journey. However, the truth is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; much of your organization’s experience with technology transformation will depend on its size, culture, change readiness, and the “tech IQ” of your core users. With that said, there are proactive steps you can take to set your organization up for success:

  • Define your vision - What are you hoping to accomplish? How do your goals map to your organization's mission and vision?
  • Assess your readiness - Conduct a change readiness assessment before your project begins to identify and mitigate potential roadblocks before they happen.
  • Choose your champions - Identify a core team of users who will become the champions of the new solution. Be sure to solicit their feedback and engage them early in the process!
  • Set goals - Determine how and when your organization will define success. Collect benchmark data before the project begins and continuously monitor performance at set intervals post go-live.
  • Train! Train! Train! - Offer training in various formats across multiple installments (with refreshers after go-live). Some users will benefit from a guided tour of the solution while others learn best through hands-on experience. Repetition is key.

Last, but not least, Ask around! Reach out to your peers. Connect with organizations that have gone through similar transformations and ask them about their experiences. 

What went well? What do they wish they’d done differently? Look for local events and conferences where you can meet up and compare notes, or ask your implementation partner to introduce you to other customers already on their journey to realizing their transformation potential. 

While I saw a lot of thought-provoking sessions at #19NTC, here are the few that stood out:

Concerned about user adoption? 
Get in touch with a nonprofit expert to learn how to increase user adoption and engagement. And for the latest nonprofit news, trends, and stories, check out the Appirio Hub

About the Author

Dawn Oliveira

Dawn Oliveira, Senior Consultant, Higher Education and Nonprofits, is a 7x Certified Salesforce Consultant with a Master's Certificate in Business Analysis. With nearly a decade of experience in Nonprofit and Higher Ed CRM transformation, Dawn is passionate about optimizing business systems to accelerate organizations towards achieving their missions.

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