Changing to a new nonprofit accounting software system can be exciting but also challenging. Many people on staff will be happy to leave the old system behind and move forward, but others may not be keen on the new change. A smooth transition is the key component to helping everyone see the benefits and you will need to work with your employees to help them understand the importance of this big change within your nonprofit.
Why do people resist change?
There have been plenty of research papers and books written about the human tendency to resist change. Some people prefer the same routine, day in and day out, while others love change and the excitement of new things. It’s very likely your staff includes people on each end of the spectrum, as well as many in the grey area between the two extremes.
Five Best Practices to Prepare Your Team for Change
There are plenty of best practices in the corporate training world, but we have chosen our top five favorites. These techniques have been proven to work, and we advise your nonprofit team to put these practices into place to help your staff transition easily. Try these to help your team embrace the nonprofit accounting software change and learn how to move forward.
- Identify the “Negative Neds” and “Naysayer Nellies”: Negative Neds and Naysayer Nellies are the pessimists in the group—the individuals who like to say, “I told you so” when something new doesn’t work out. Neds and Nellies do not necessarily want an idea to fail, but they are hoping that it will. In order to get the Neds and Nellies of your group to embrace this new nonprofit accounting software change, you need to include them. This way they have invested in the change, and now have an interest in the outcome. Invite the Neds and Nellies to be a part of your nonprofit financial management team, so they can learn about the new nonprofit accounting software. Make sure to include them on discussions and make them feel a part of the solution. This will decrease their negative attitude while increasing their positive attitude toward the change.
- Explain the reasons for the change: Give your team all the necessary information and plenty of time to understand why you have chosen a new nonprofit accounting software system. Some will already understand the importance but others may not. It is important to host meets, informative lunches, and staff briefings in order to help your employees understand and recognize the importance of the new accounting software system. Whatever you do, do not bring this up last minute with your employees. This will cause tension and confusion. We recommend building it up, with a proper introduction to the new software provided, along with plenty of information.
- Ask for input: Make it a priority to ask for input from multiple groups within your nonprofit. Include members from every department so that each department has a voice in the decision-making process. Each group will make known their own needs and concerns. When you include everyone, it ensures that the new nonprofit accounting software you choose will meet the majority needs of your nonprofit.
- Offer necessary training: Training for a new nonprofit accounting software system is more than just a one-time thing. Train small groups and provide multiple follow-up training and support to learn about the new system. Invite all participants to bring in work-related projects to use in the training so they can see how the new software applies to their everyday work. The more hands-on training you provide, the better your employees will learn.
- Train an expert: Another way to make the transition easier is to choose one internal expert from each department. This individual will receive advanced training and support. The onsite expert can then be the person that everyone goes to with questions or for help on how to use the advanced features of the new nonprofit accounting software system. This will help everyone use the new system to its fullest capacity and gives people the right tool of a friendly face they trust within their organization.
It may take weeks to introduce the new nonprofit accounting software system’s launch but, when it is set in place and initial training completed, you will find that people will make the transition easier when these 5 techniques are used to help them adjust. Change is hard but it is your job to help make it easier with providing the right information, participation, awareness, and training.
RBP Methods is a nonprofit software and consulting firm that helps right-brained people navigate a left-brained world. We understand how hard it is to ask these tough questions and to change your nonprofit’s mindset. We offer a wide range of consulting services focused on helping nonprofits manage their accounting and financial needs. Our software choices include Abila, AccuFund, and other nonprofit accounting software. For more information, contact RBP Methods or call us at 503-648-9051.