Have you heard about the Technology Adoption Curve Chasm? If you haven’t, check out Geoffrey A. Moore’s book Crossing the Chasm, where he discusses the challenges of getting past the adoption of new technology by the innovators and early adopters, and succeeding with the early majority. It’s a challenge that Social Media has gone through, and which the Not-for-Profit market is now delving into.

 In my work implementing Social CRM for various associations, the first part of this new concept, social, meets resistance and often skepticism sounds all too familiar. Some people hear that “it is the future”, but are not sure what that means in a practical sense and are, therefore, hesitant to commit. Others view this as just another fad and are slow to jump onboard; they want to see the ROI first. While associations and nonprofits have always understood the value of engagement and “Friendraising” it has been difficult to translate those concepts into digital communities and data elements, that are tracked and segmented for practical application.

 So to help demystify Social CRM, and bridge the adoption chasm, I decided to break it down into three key segments:

1.  Engagement

  • Organizations that effectively use the community are seeing engagement by their members, beyond just live events and committee meetings.
  • This de-centralized engagement is something that Not-for-Profits need to maximize as funds for live events decrease.
  • Understanding the value of engagement is nothing new, but understanding that communities are organic and need to be developed is. Just as an event is planned months, even years, in advance, a community should be planned and developed over time to insure maximum engagement.
  • Engagement is not just having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or a gated-community, it’s delivering your organization’s mission to these various channels in a way that fosters a human connection. Developing that deeper relationship with your constituents is important to the survival of your association or nonprofit.

2.       Synergy

  • While engagement is an important function, it doesn’t mean much on its own. You need the synergistic effect of multiple products working together to deliver value. At Avectra we accomplish this by integrating the Social (MemberFuse) with the CRM (netFORUM) and ensuring there is a way to evaluate and assign a quantitative value to the engagement via A-Score™.
  • In my experience, many organizations think about parts of the whole, and very few think about the impact of all. Thinking about Social CRM not just as a product, but as a way of having all parts of the organization deliver a synergistic effect that is far greater than the sum of its parts, is one step closer to crossing the chasm.
  • This is important for investors/donors to evaluate; staff to implement and for members/donors to understand.

3.       Relevance

  • That synergistic value is realized in developing a relevance that is market-driven, constituent-relevant and agile enough to adapt.
  • Every organization strives to be market-relevant. We all want to be valued and that is achieved by understanding our market, enhancing the market share, and delivering on constituent needs.
  • Your organization wants to be the best at delivering that relevance and connecting with your members and donors and in doing so, your message will be amplified and heard.

The Social CRM Chasm is real and to get past it we need to understand that bridging the various moving parts is not an independent act, but a coordinated effort that is deliberate and must be adopted by all.