The Best Way to Choose Nonprofit Technology? The Phased Approach
Every organization wants to find the right nonprofit technology to help them focus on advancing their mission, but navigating the selection and adoption process can be tough even for seasoned professionals. Our friends at Generate_Impact often use a phased approach to help nonprofits find the right technology fit for them — here’s why that matters.
Q: Why is it important to take a phased approach when choosing new nonprofit technology? What’s the value there?
A: At Generate_Impact, we’re almost always recommending to our clients that they separate the discovery and assessment phases from the implementation and life cycle management.
And the feedback we usually get is, “Well, isn’t that going to be more expensive? Isn’t that an additional project?” The reality is actually just the opposite.
You have to do that first piece, where you talk to the people at your organization who are going to be most impacted by a nonprofit technology change. You have to understand what their problems are, what their friction points are. You have to make sure that the decisions you’re making are aligned to your organizational goals and your mission.
And you have to make sure you consider what the risks are: how will you get people to adopt your new nonprofit technology, and who will maintain it? What level of self-sufficiency do you need people to reach in the process of adopting and maintaining technology?
If you don’t consider all of these steps, you’re making decisions based on a lot of unknowns. Because of those unknowns, the result is, it actually can become much more expensive. The chance for nonprofit technology misalignment or poor design decisions goes up, and so those risks need to be priced in. Nobody wants that!
Nonprofits can avoid that pitfall by separating the two processes — discovery and assessment, and implementation and life cycle management — and inserting a decision checkpoint in the middle. At that midpoint, you can ask yourselves, “Is this a go? Is this a no-go? Do we need to re-think this?”
When organizations separate these two phases, you’re much more likely to set yourself up for success—and that’s what’s important! Because you need to get the most value from that nonprofit technology investment, so that it can be applied to what really matters: delivering on your mission.