Getting internal buy-in for technical change at your nonprofit

Convincing your organisation’s decision makers to invest in digital transformation and encouraging internal participation in new processes

More often than not, digital transformation projects impact every level of your nonprofit. In order for technology to be implemented in a manner that will actually wield the results you’re looking for, it is crucial to make sure your team feels involved and understands the reasons behind the change.

Perhaps you are faced with a team that is not technically savvy, who may be sceptical about using new processes and tools day-to-day. Perhaps your stakeholders need reassuring that their investment is going to be worth it. The below checklists are designed to help you get everyone on-board with what you’re setting out to do, so you can roll out your transformative project with maximum impact.

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Convincing decision makers about the potential of digital transformation

The first hurdle that digital advocates often have to jump is getting their nonprofit’s stakeholders on board. As budget keepers, they’re ultimately going to need to understand the numbers behind your proposed digitisation project. How much do they need to invest in technological change and how will it enable them to hit their goals?

That nicely introduces the first check-box you need to get ticked off…

Does your proposed digital transformation project tie in with the goals that your decision makers are looking to achieve?

You need to speak their language to get their buy-in. That means tying everything back to what they care about. For further information on approaching digital projects with a keen goal-focused mindset, check out our guide to nonprofit objective setting.

Do your decision makers see the potential of technological change?

Understanding the bottom line of your project is essential. Projects with a clear potential return on investment and carefully set-out key performance indicators are much easier to get behind.

Read our guide to understanding the potential ROI of digital transformation.

Is it clear what’s involved in the project?

  • Do you expect the roll-out of your new tech processes to cause any disruption?
  • How much of your time and the time of the rest of your team do you expect to be taken up by the project?
  • How quickly will new technology be up and running?
  • How much training will people require to use the new processes?

Making sure you have answers to all of the above will be integral to reassuring your decision makers that you plan for digital improvements is thought-through and feasible.

Encouraging your nonprofit team to embrace technology change

Obviously, it is pivotal to get the buy-in from the major decision makers of your nonprofit. However, it is actually more important to get the buy-in of the people whose day-to-day processes you’re ultimately looking to overhaul.

From marketing and fundraising to volunteer engagement and campaigning, technological change will likely have a big impact on how various roles within your nonprofit operate. In order to ensure that impact is a positive one, you need to consider how you introduce new processes to your team and encourage them to embrace them.

The following section includes all the questions that you should be asking yourself about your fellow team members, and the impact change will have on them.

Does your team understand the reasoning behind it?

The first step to helping get new digital processes rolled out is making sure that it’s clear to everyone in your nonprofit team what the thinking is behind them. You need to get everyone on the same page from the beginning. That’s why we recommend that you schedule in time - as early in the project as possible - to outline what you’re looking to achieve and the ways in which this will potentially change their day-to-day.

Are their concerns being incorporated into the project? People want to know that, if they’re investing their time learning new tools and processes, that those new processes are being set up in-line with their best interests. That means listening to the problems they have with their existing day to day (e.g. complications from paper-based processes) and making sure that your proposed solution fixes their issues.

Do they feel involved in the project?

If individuals feel involved in the decision making process and set-up of new technologies, they are much more likely to embrace that technology. Inclusion from the start fuels understanding, excitement and engagement.

Do they know how to use the new tech?

Undoubtedly, the biggest potential barrier to internal teams embracing new technology is that they don’t understand how to use it. This is why training sessions, step-by-step instructions and patience are so key to successfully implementing a digital transformation project. As a change champion, it is your responsibility to help make the new processes as accessible as possible. One way of doing this is offering dedicated ‘office hours’ where they can come to you with any questions or issues they may be having.

Ultimately, as an advocate for digital change for your nonprofit, your role is to identify and alleviate any concerns that anyone - at any level of your organisation - may have. For further guidance on how to do this, as well as how to strategise an impactful technology overhaul, get in touch with 4C’s dedicated nonprofit team: 4C4U.

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