The Top 3 Causes of Fundraising IT Project Failure (and 5 Ways to Manage Change)
Undergoing a fundraising technology upgrade or transition can be a tricky proposition. There are common traps many organizations fall into that complicate matters. The good news is there are ways to combat them.
"The most successful IT initiatives within any organization are those that are tightly linked to the mission and current strategic initiatives," said Alex Wilkinson, director of professional services at IT nonprofit NPower, during his webinar, "The Art of Technology," provided by NPower, the Nonprofit Technology Network and Idealware. "… The first question on the plate before starting any technology project is how does it fit into the goals of the organization, and how will we know that we've done enough to meet those goals?"
Step one is to state the objective, why your organization is undergoing this IT project. For example, over the next two years we need to …
- extend our presence on multiple channels;
- acquire new major donors; and
- reach new audience members.
Then, Wilkinson advised, ask yourself: What could go wrong, and will you know if you are in trouble?
"Every project has risk — the risk of running out of money, the risk of losing a key person on the team who is your sole source of expertise on a particular topic, etc. How can you identify the areas of risk in advance so you can be better prepared to cope with them?" Wilkinson asked.
Top 3 causes of IT project failure
Wilkinson has studied the many causes of IT project failure and ultimately determined there are three that occur more than any others.
1. Poor estimation and scheduling. Incorrectly estimating how long it's going to take and how much it's going to cost can throw a major wrench in the project. Problems with scheduling can occur during the implementation. It can result in running out of money, going over budget and dragging out a process much longer than anticipated. Wilkinson gave the example of a client that experienced too much indecision during the project, resulting in an extra year and a half for it to be fully implemented.