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CRM Staffing Questions

  • 1.  CRM Staffing Questions

    Posted 19 days ago

    I'd like to talk to other universities who have implemented Blackbaud CRM or Salesforce, in regard to impact on advancement services staffing.  What changes in staffing were needed?  Perhaps less of certain types of positions?  Perhaps increases in other types of positions?  We're particularly focused on the impact on the staff responsible for importing (or otherwise processing) bio and gift data, as well as staff responsible for gift/fund administration. 

    We here at Colorado State are rocking Ellucian Advance w/a highly customized front-end interface for our end-users and highly customized back-end for data import.  I've been asked to quickly gather info on what staffing needs might look like on a new system.

    Please let me know if you have a moment for a quick phone call to compare notes, etc.  Thank you!

    Donna Koopman
    Managing Director, Constituent and Gift Information
    Colorado State University
    Mobile: 937-238-2391

  • 2.  RE: CRM Staffing Questions

    Posted 19 days ago
    I have worked with institutions that have moved to both - although with SF there typically was the additional implementation of either Affinaquest or Ascend.  And in no case have staffing levels been able to be reduced in the areas you mention.  The volume of gift and bio data requiring entry doesn't change!

    In some instances, you might be able to take advantage of integrations where your legacy system prevented that - although Advance would not have prevented issues there.  But even so, what seems to be true almost everywhere I have seen these systems deployed is the increased desire to capture more data as you increase CRM visibility.  That often increases the need for data hygiene and integrity staff.  And, depending on how you used your old system, gift and pledge entry could become more complex.

    Meaning for you, unless you are able to replicate all the automation you have implemented with Advance, I doubt you will see an opportunity to reduce staff except, perhaps, on the reporting side.  But that assumes you take full advantage of self-service reporting tools and query functionality.

    Interested to hear if anyone has been able to cut staff after implementing these systems!


    John H. Taylor
    John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
    2604 Sevier St.
    Durham, NC   27705
    919.816.5903 (cell/text)

    Serving the Advancement Community Since 1987

  • 3.  RE: CRM Staffing Questions

    Posted 19 days ago
    I agree with John's comments. An old colleague used to say, "I've never had anyone ask me for less information."

    I don't want to speak out of turn, but when Georgia Tech underwent its platform migration from Advance to Blackbaud CRM, it was a monumental effort that took 18+ months. As with anything, there was so much that had to do with change management as much as learning new technology. AdvSvcs staff had to expand and adapt to new skillsets fairly quickly - learning Microsoft technologies vs. Oracle, etc. So much of this also depends upon your organization's data management practices and how you use your current system. For example, GT kept track of spouses as embedded, "mini records" on the main constituent (unless the spouse was also a unique constituent in the system). BBCRM doesn't support that - each entity needs to have its own constituent record. So that meant a lot of effort on the Bio side to accurately migrate/create new linked spouse constituents and all the properties and attributes that go along with that: name formats, solicit codes, etc.

    I can't imagine that you'd be able to get by with a reduction in staff, but since everyone's implementation will be different, it's also hard to predict and say "you'll need to plan for X% more FTE in these areas..." 

    Kennesaw State University

    Matt Bain
    Executive Director, Advancement Services
    Division of University Advancement

    3391 Town Point Dr NW
    Room 4550, MD 9102
    Kennesaw, GA 30144

    p: 404-944-9130

  • 4.  RE: CRM Staffing Questions

    Posted 13 days ago

    Thank you Isaac, Patti, John, Sabre, et al. for the valuable insight. 


    I have talked to many colleagues over the past week since sending out my initial inquiry. I did not hear of anyone reducing staff as result of any system conversion (CRM or otherwise.)  I did hear of many institutions hiring temps or other types of arrangements to back-fill operations – in order to free up staff to focus on implementation project. I also heard a lot about how staffing might change – repurposing positions and such, and adding new positions in key areas such as training, analytics, reporting, data integrity, etc.


    I imagine that's no surprise to many of us, but an important confirmation for my next steps in terms of staffing plans.  Thank you again!





    Managing Director, Constituent & Gift Information

    University Advancement, Colorado State University

    C: (937) 238-2391


    Confidentiality Notice: This electronic email, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure, or distribution is prohibited. If you receive this electronic email and are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by phone or electronic email reply and destroy all copies of the original message.


  • 5.  RE: CRM Staffing Questions

    Posted 19 days ago
    Happy Friday!

    The University of Notre Dame moved off Ellucian Advance and into Salesforce in October 2018.  This implementation was for our Bio side, we remained in Advance for gift processing.  We've just begun a project to move all aspects (Gift & Bio) onto Ascend.  

    I lead the team that both updates biographic data and processes all gifts.  We are a team of 5 (including myself), which did not change through the conversions.

    If I had my way, I would like to add another resource within my team, who would be responsible for loads of data (bio and gift).  That responsibility/subject matter expert is housed under our Information Technology and Services team and while the gift loads are handled daily, our larger data loads can take more time due to competing priorities from other areas of the division.

    Patricia Herrity '97

    Director, Advancement Records, Financial and Data Management


    O: 574-631-4292

    M: 574-250-3000


    University of Notre Dame
    1100 Grace Hall
    Notre Dame, IN 46556


  • 6.  RE: CRM Staffing Questions

    Posted 18 days ago
    Hi Donna -

    This is a great question.  I am sure you will get lots of interesting responses.  Moving off of a legacy system onto a platform - like Salesforce - brings a lot of changes.  We have been implementing Salesforce Advancement systems since 2015 and have managed more than 200 Advancement implementations since the 1990s.  We have worked with very large organizations - 300+ in Advancement and very small organizations - less than 5 in Advancement.  I would love to share some of what we have seen over the last 6 years with our Salesforce implementations.  It is really important to go into these with good change management strategies.

    Please feel free to reach out and we can set up a convenient hour to discuss.


    Sabre Leek
    CEO, Sleek Consulting LLC
    Mobile: 603-661-4062
    Office: 603-642-5594

  • 7.  RE: CRM Staffing Questions

    Posted 14 days ago
    A bit late to this question, but I too have never seen a reduction in staff purely based on changing the DB. However, jobs do certainly evolve after these changes. To the extent that you're able to automate manual tasks or increase the capabilities of automated processes, you may save some wear-and-tear on staff who were previously pushing those processes through, but they always seem to have other priorities that they can now turn to, rather than really creating any surplus.

    Generally, the areas that orgs do need more staffing after a conversion are on the reporting, analysis and training side. In part, as others have said, there is greater demand for data, reporting and analysis, and the job of the new system is to enable what was not feasible before. Training is critical because the on-boarding training is really only the start of a longer journey towards comfort, and ultimately, mastery, of a new system. 

    Thank you,
    Isaac Shalev
    CRM Expert
    Sage70, Inc.
    (917) 859-0151

    Schedule a 30-minute consultation now: