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Evaluate business processes to enhance your nonprofit CRM

By: Ashley Hansen

When converting from one system to another or when you’ve simply identified a business process in your current system that doesn’t seem to be working, there are some simple, strategic steps to determine and implement the best process for your organization.

Invite the right people

Include representatives from each team impacted by or involved in the business process. One way to quickly kill your journey to a new, better business process is to not have full representation of the teams involved. Excluding key people will result in an unadopted process.

That said, everyone and their mother does not need to be invited to meetings where business processes are discussed. Choose representatives that can speak for and report back to their teams.

Have the right person lead

Because different teams may prefer different options, it is valuable to have a neutral party lead the discussion. A neutral person can hone in on which business process is the most efficient without the drama that could be expected if one team seemed to be leading the group toward an option that they obviously preferred.

Do the research

Prior to a meeting to evaluate the existing business process and potential options, fully document the steps and pros and cons of the current process. Ensure that you’ve taken into account all teams involved. What may be a pro for one team could be a con for another. Get everything out in the open.

Test out potential business processes before presenting them as an option. For these, also list out the steps and pros and cons. Convincing a group to change their process and then finding out that the process will not work, is a waste of everyone’s time.

Starting a meeting with a list of fully vetted processes and options tells everyone involved that you value their time and are prepared to lead them in the right direction, whatever that may be.

Document everything

Prior to your meeting, send out an agenda that includes the processes, steps and pros and cons to give your attendees ample time to review and surface additional information.

As you discuss each option, take notes and provide them to each attendee following the meeting. If possible, have a designated, neutral note-taker while the group is in discussion.

Document the final solution and incorporate the process into any existing documentation. Don’t go through all of the work of evaluating a process and then fail to implement it.

Know when to call it a day

If the group cannot come to an agreement on a process, don’t get stuck in a back and forth argument over which solution is best. This may be the time where you table the conversation and try again after everyone has had a chance to sit on it. We cannot know everything that is going on in everyone’s life at the time of the conversation; perhaps members of the group will be more open to change at a different time.

If the group cannot come to consensus, it could be time to elevate the discussion to the next level of leadership. Present all options to this group and see if there is a clear winner.

The truth is, you may go through the exercise of evaluating current and potential processes to find that your current process is superior. This should not be seen as a waste of time, but rather a confirmation that whomever established the process had a valid reason for doing so. Look for ways to better implement this process at your organization moving forward as this may save future-you from re-evaluating this working process down the road.


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