Putting a proper team in place for a non-profit CRM implementation

You conducted a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) search, picked the best CRM platform and a terrific CRM supplier. You think your work is done? Often times a non-profit organisation will believe the bulk of the work for a CRM implementation falls on the implementation partner or the supplier? Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is the work is a shared responsibility and it is important for a charitable organisation to understand the need to put a proper team in place for a non-profit CRM implementation.

Organisation Structure

Organisation Chart

Building the right non-profit CRM implementation team takes time and a lot of thought. You will want to put the following organisation structure together when creating the implementation team:

  • Steering Committee
  • Project Sponsor
  • Project Manager
  • Project Team
  • Implementation Partner (Supplier)
  • Subject Matter Experts
  • End Users


The non-profit CRM implementation roles are defined as:

  • Project Steering Committee– A Project Steering Committee is a committee that decides on the priorities or order of business of a project and manages the general course of its operations. Sometimes the Implementation Partner will sit on the Project Steering Committee, offering the chance for the Steering Committee to have internal and external Steering Committee meetings including this person or excluding this person. The Project Steering Committee will meet one time per month. The Project Sponsor leads the Project Steering Committee. (4-5 members).
  • Project Sponsor – The Project Sponsor is the individual (often a manager or executive) with overall accountability for the project. The Project Sponsor is primarily concerned with ensuring that the project delivers the agreed business benefits. (1 person).
  • Project Manager– A Project Manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers have the responsibility of the planning, procurement and execution of a project, in an undertaking which has a defined scope, defined start and a defined finish. The Project Manager will be engaged for the duration of the project. The Project Manager reports to the Project Sponsor and to the Project Steering Committee. The Project Manager often times has a Project Manager counterpart at the Implementation Partner (Supplier). (1 person).
  • Project Team– A Project Team is a team whose members usually belong to different groups, functions and are assigned to activities for the same project. A team can be divided into sub-teams according to need. Usually project teams are only used for a defined period of time. A project team may include people representing cross organisation portfolios or departments. The Project team will meet weekly. (6 persons).
  • Implementation Partner (Supplier) – The Implementation Partner will be the partner chosen amongst the suppliers who will implement the chosen CRM platform and meet the business requirements and objectives of the organisation and the project. The Implementation Partner will be engaged for the duration of the project. (1 supplier).
  • Subject Matter Experts– A Subject-Matter Expert (SME) or domain expert is a person who is an authority in a particular area or topic. The term domain expert is frequently used in expert systems software development, and there the term always refers to the domain other than the software domain. The SMEs will be engaged for the duration of the project, but will be called on only as needed. There will be peak times when the SME is engaged more frequently. (1 person per portfolio or department).
  • End Users– An End User is a person who will utilise the product developed or configured by the parties involved in a project. There will be many end users and various end users who are consumers of the outcome of this project. Each End User audience will be important to those involved. (There will be many, many users/stakeholders in the project).


When recruiting for these non-profit CRM implementation roles, it is important to determine the following:

  • Time and Effort Required – The only person committed to this project for a set number of hours per week for the duration of the project is the Project Manager. However, everyone will have demands on their time and have to put in a certain amount of effort in order to ensure project success.
  • Scheduling – Examine potential conflicts across the project. A schedule of conflicts, including projects and holidays should be developed. Use this as a template.
  • Fit – Consider the right fit for each role. Ensure everyone is of the right mindset and has a collaborative personality.

The success of a non-profit CRM implementation project is dependant on the infrastructure you put in place at the outset. Don’t skimp on the planning stage of a project. Ensure you have the right teams with the right people in the right roles in place.