Blogging from the NTC

For those of you who are wondering what the NTC is, it’s the nonprofit technology conference held by NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network) each year. Historically, I’ve enjoyed the conference and always learned a lot when I’ve attended. This year is no different! I wanted to jot a few notes about what I’ve learned so far, and to invite any of you reading this who are also at the NTC to drop me a note.

The opening plenary session was given by Dan Roam on using pictures to define and communicate problems. It was a wonderful session, and I came away with the following nugget:

“Whoever best describes the problem is the one most likely to solve it.” The speaker also shared that the beginnings of the solution are always in the definition (picture) of the problem.

Of course, Mr. Roam had many other interesting tidbits during the session, but I found that one very empowering. Each of us is in a position to solve the problems we understand and can explain well to others.

I also attended a session given by Keith Heller on successfully implementing a CRM system. Along with other great information, a number of things stuck out for me as he was covering a project that spanned many, many months:

  1. Goals and Measurement: You need to know what your goals are and how you intend to measure where you are regarding meeting those goals. This impacts a number of other decisions.
  2. Plan to use the system the way it was designed to get the most out of it.
  3. Know, train and use data entry standards for your organization.
  4. Define who does what in the system. Know who fills what roles.
  5. Get Buy-In from people who will be using it. (To me this seems like one of the most important components.)
  6. Do a test conversion so users can work with data they know before the final conversion to identify where changes may need to be made both configuration-wise and adjustment to your procedures-wise.

This is not a comprehensive description of all the things discussed during the session, but just a few great things that I think are easy to read and digest in a quick post. And hey! If you’re at the conference let me know!