Monthly Archives: August 2007

NTEN CRM Best Practices Webinar on Tuesday

If you missed the announcement, I’m giving a webinar titled “Preparing for Your New Database: Making the Transition as Painless as Possible” on Tuesday at 11:00 am Pacific time. Registration details are at http://nten.org/webinars (It’s not free). If you saw the announcement, note that Holly or someone at NTEN wrote all of that copy – shame on me for not getting them a description on time! But it’s pretty close. What it lacks is the specification that we are talking about Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) databases, not just any database.

I’ve managed CRM rollouts at two large companies: most recently, Salesforce at SF Goodwill; years earlier, an obscure but awesome CRM called Interaction at Lillick & Charles, a San Francisco law firm. My take on it is that CRM can be business-model altering software. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be — it can be a simple contact and/or donor management system — but maybe it should be. Because properly deployed CRM gives your organization the ability to operate in a relationship-centric fashion. Instead of having isolated departments and functions that, of course, are heavily involved in relationships with other people and organizations, CRM centralizes all of the information and history of your organizational contacts and allows you to far better understand and manage those relationships. Vendors can be donors. Donors can be volunteers. If you have that overlap occurring today, you might not even be aware of it.

Zooming down to earth, my experience is also very hands on when it comes to the actual technical work involved in moving to a centralized CRM platform. I can share a lot about the tools and methods available for integrating and migrating data from other systems.

The webinar will focus mostly on best practices for implementing CRM. But we’ll start with some of the high-level, what this means for your org; spend the bulk on the project planning and implementation practices; and, if there’s time and interest, dive into some of the techie stuff. My approach to these things is to have half the session prepared and half of it open to the group interests, and I think I’ll make it worth the $50 ($25 for NTEN members) if moving to new donor databases and CRM platforms is something you’re likely to be involved in.

About the new job

So, I think it’s safe to let everyone know that I start a new gig as IT Director at Earthjustice this month. For those of you who don’t know, Earthjustice is a law firm dedicated to protecting natural resources and the environment. Originally founded as the legal arm of the Sierra Club, they now do advocacy and litigation in defense of the planet. They are an international firm with the awesome tagline “because the earth needs a good lawyer”. My role there is a strategic one — in addition to managing the IT Department, I’ll be looking at ways that we can decentralize the technology platform so it can better support the global operation. This is a challenge that I know I’ll enjoy, and bring a good perspective to.

It’s funny how many connections I had to this organization prior. First, the Communications Director there is a dear friend of mine who used to work for me at Goodwill. When they asked for my references, I had to explain that she had been on the list for years. Second, the consultant they were working with is a friend of mine through NTEN, and he had actually introduced me to my predecessor there last year, who gave me a heads up about the job.

But the connections are even deeper. My first “real” job (discarding the ten years I spent working in restaurants and playing in bands in Boston in the late seventies/early eighties) was with a small law firm in SF that had spun off from a larger firm called Lillick & Charles. My second job, where I was first promoted to the IT Director role, was with Lillick & Charles (since merged with giant firm Nixon Peabody). I took a very intentional detour after that out of the for-profit world and to Goodwill. Earthjustice, oddly enough, was founded by a couple of Partners from Lillick & Charles. So it’s a small world I work in.