How charities can manage technology change across both colleagues and volunteers
With 64% of people aged between 65 and 74 involved in volunteering activities*, it’s important that any technology change that charities and non-profits plan considers the digital knowledge of every generation, not just the younger digital natives. This is why we’re firm believers of involving people from across all your workers, both colleagues and volunteers, during the project definition and rollout, so they understand from the outset what’s happening and how the new solution is going to make their lives easier.
When working with any non-profit organisation, whether it’s for the first time or a continued relationship, we always work through the following five steps to ensure that everyone is bought into the future picture.
Not everyone works in the same way so it will take more than one conversation to properly understand how the people that matter (your colleagues and volunteers) are using the systems you have today and identify any deal breakers for the future. Run group sessions across different workers to allow people to have a voice from the outset.
It’s better to communicate little and often throughout the project, taking people on the journey with you, rather than relying on one big announcement at the end. We like to use a simple process of talking everyone through the WHAT, WHY, WHEN, HOW and WHO… it’s simple and effective.
Let people talk. It’s the best way to find out what challenges they’re currently experiencing that you may be able to address with your new solution. Answering the “What’s in it for me?” question is an important element of gaining buy-in for any change – by making their future life easier and better you’re articulating a tangible benefit and a reason for them to feel engaged.
Find ways throughout the project to involve as many end users as possible. This might be through working groups and project champions, or it might be through something more tangible. We love to get volunteers involved in project rollouts, providing simple installation and setup guides that allow self-install of our solutions. We’re only ever on the end of a video or phone call if help is needed, but it’s a great way of passing ownership of the solution straight into the users’ hands, plus it saves costs that can be used better elsewhere.
Finally, make sure you have a clearly articulated and communicated training plan ready to execute before go-live. If you’re using a ‘train-the-trainer’ model, then be clear at what level the trainer role lies so they’re close enough to truly understand the needs of the users. Consider floorwalkers for the first few days of the new solution, having someone on hand to answer questions or give guidance immediately will stop small concerns growing, and make sure that even when they’re left alone, they know exactly where to go for help.
For us, following these five steps can make a mountain of difference between user adoption and not.
If you’d like to talk through any technology change that you’re considering, please get in touch on 0800 160 1111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll work together to understand your requirements.