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More shocking survey results
16 April 2009, by , in Data Management, 2 comments

In this survey, Campbell Rinker asked a series of questions of non-profits about their primary donor/member management software. On page 3, the following question is asked:

“If an organization just like yours was thinking about adopting the product [you use] and they

asked for your advice, would you recommend they adopt it?”

The results were that 27% said “no,” and another 26% were “unsure.” That’s over half(!!) of the respondents saying no or unsure to whether  they’d recommend the software they use to a like organization.

This is absolutely stunning! Can you imagine any other product where the “nos” and “unsures” for recommendation outnumber the “yeses?”

What’s amazing about this is that it really isn’t the product that is the problem; it’s the users. Yes, I know it’s sacrilege to suggest that maybe there’s a user problem here, but it’s simply not possible that HALF of the products on the market are bad. And that suggests that we’ve got a user issue.

Donor and member management programs are complex. They require serious attention and management to make them effective. And my experience is that too often, the reason a program is “failing” to work is equal parts software and user. I think this survey reinforces that view.

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2 Comments on "More shocking survey results"

Chris Bailey - 16 April 2009 Reply

Wes, I think your read of the situation is probably close to reality. I'll highlight your last point that the failure is equal parts software and user. I've experienced (and supported on the product side) software that made seemingly simple tasks arduous beyond belief. It assumed that EVERYONE was a mega-user. But then, the organizations who buy the software must understand that it is simply a tool and not a magic hat. There's still the need for training and a plan for integrating it into everyday operations. Here's one aspect of this survey that should light a fire under someone in the AMS/eCRM space: how can we turn these lukewarm referrals for another product into WOWs for our software? What will it take to create a user experience that balances power, flexibility, and ease-of-use? Is it possible?

Wes Trochlil - 17 April 2009 Reply

Chris, your key sentence: "There’s still the need for training and a plan for integrating it into everyday operations." This is missed far too often in too many organizations. And I agree that the vendors need to be looking for opportunities to demonstrate how much easier their product is to use. Thanks for your comments.

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“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
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“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
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