Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: Best Practices for a Successful Grants Management Software Implementation

10/13/2015

Sloan_Implement_blogAnne McKissick, the director of grants management and information services at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is well-known in the philanthropic community, having spent decades successfully managing grant operations and information services for private foundations. She inherited GIFTS, the grants management platform, when she joined Sloan but she knew that it wouldn’t provide the features that she needed.

When she saw her first demo of Fluxx and heard the vision for a collaborative grants management platform that would serve the interests of the nonprofit community, she got excited. McKissick also knew that change management is never easy. But because Fluxx believes that new customers should benefit from the experience of older customers, we wanted to share some of her team’s best practices for a successful implementation.

Know who your stakeholders are and what they want.

McKissick says, “I spent a lot of time sharing my vision for our grants process and capturing requirements from my colleagues. Each executive and team, from program staff to communications team to the grants team had ideas for what they wanted. Getting everyone involved in the process, even before we selected a new solution, was critical in getting their adoption once we went live."

Have a vision but iterate.

“When we implemented Fluxx we were on the heels of many much larger foundations so that’s how we were treated,” McKissick says. “Despite the fact that we are a small team, we went through a thorough discovery and build process. Today, Fluxx has learned a lot about simplifying the process and with each customer it gets easier. Now, with an iterative philosophy, I know they recommend starting small and building from there.”

Get training along the way.

Everod Nelson, the Business Analyst who managed the implementation project at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, says, “Admin training along the way was a huge help in gaining enough understanding of the system to be able to take over some of the build and configuration. Really getting into the product helped me truly understand the system for when it was time to roll out Fluxx to the rest of the team.”

If you have any best practices to share about your implementation, let us know in the comments below.

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Written by Michelle Wohl