Time is usually in short supply at the end of the year. Reports are due, you’re planning for the next year, and/or you're wrapping up the end-of-year fundraising campaign. It’s busy! The last thing you want to do is have to go into your fundraising software and unravel an error that’s been several months in the making, or fix a broken report that’s showing incorrect data.
As you’re planning for next year, here are some tips to help prevent technology challenges before they arise, so you can step away and know that your systems are running as they should.
- Update your CRM and Website. We all know how dangerous security breaches can be. Keeping your systems up-to-date means keeping your data secure. When was the last time you did an update?
- Evaluate your reports through the year. Are they giving you the information you need? Do you have an easy way to get a full picture of your results? Dashboards or charts to easily visualize information? Invest the time to create the suite of reports you need and use it all year long.
- Continue training staff on software and database management. Have there been changes in features or functionality in the systems your staff use? Staff meetings are a great place to mention these things, one little change at a time. Education is key to continued ease with technology.
- Look for data stoppers. When you last created a report, did you gloss over that one line that said “error”? It wasn’t important to what you needed at the moment, but it could be important for what you need tomorrow. An error or something seeming off, means it needs attention ASAP. Address it when you see it to avoid data stoppers later on.
If you are a dedicated System Administrator, these are great tasks to add to your to-do list through the year. If your organization doesn’t have a dedicated System Administrator (...or even if you do!), consider hiring experts to lend a hand. Proactive support can ensure your systems are up-to-date with the latest bug fixes and patches.
Maintaining your systems all year long will minimize and prevent technology problems from stealing so much of your time. Take these small steps throughout the year then walk away, trust your systems, and enjoy some free time and open space as the calendar pages turn.