Implementation Best Practices For Your Blackbaud Grantmaking™ Solution 8980

Implementation Best Practices For Your Blackbaud Grantmaking™ Solution


Whether you’re implementing a new grantmaking system or adding a new module to your existing solution, project management is at the core of a successful implementation. The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project management as the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people such as the development of software for an improved business process.

In my role as a Customer Success Manager, I have worked with many customers to help them adopt new systems and modules. I came to Blackbaud with a background in grantmaking operations and project management and while this post is not intended to be a tutorial on the PMI principles and practices, I can share the key takeaways I have found most useful for grantmakers to apply to their system projects.

At its core, managing your implementation project involves three critical areas: Process – People – Systems. Let’s look closer at each area:


Congratulations! You’ve decided to implement new technology to improve a business process, such as automating a workflow, providing enhanced reporting, and generally making it easier for you and your grantees to do business.

The first step is to dust off your old process workflow and ask yourself and your team where are the non-value added (NVA) steps in this workflow that can be streamlined or eliminated? For example, do we still need to keep separate grant schedules and budgets when the system will track and report commitments and payments automatically? Are manual reports still needed when you can customize a new interactive dashboard for every staff member? Do my grantees still need to provide their IRS determination letter when my software can check their status in real-time through the Candid GuideStar integrated connection?

Implementing your new system around inefficient workflows will not get the best out of your technology and may even create more work for you. Streamlining your workflow will eliminate redundant steps in the process, freeing up your staff for more value-added work and removing unnecessary tasks for your grantees.

Tip: Avoid Non-Value-Added Processes

Six Sigma methodology defines non-value added as any action that does not add value to a product or service, value being defined by the customer. It is the waste within a process. NVA processes could be something as simple as shuffling items from one person to another more than necessary or producing reports that no one reads.


Managing your implementation project is part art and part science. Many grantmaking organizations do not have a dedicated Project Manager and rely on their Grants Management team to lead the way all while performing their “day job”.

A major project, like a technology implementation, can feel overwhelming when you have so many other tasks to manage. However, there are many tools you can use to stay organized and keep your team on track. One such tool is a project plan that clearly shows the steps, owners, and timeline for accomplishing your goals. Microsoft Project is one option for project management software but an Excel spreadsheet may also meet your needs. Manage the plan but don’t let it manage you! If changes are needed to the timeline, for example, due to unforeseen circumstances, then make the adjustment and ensure that everyone is on board. Remember, every project is a temporary effort with a beginning and an end once the goal is achieved.

Tip: Proactively Reduce Resistance to Change

Change management is a core competency for grantmakers involved in implementing new technologies. You are frequently changing the very nature of people’s work, which can feel threatening. Participation and communication are key. Involving your staff in workflow design sessions as well as frequent project updates are two ways to gain buy-in and reduce resistance to change.


After you purchase your new technology, you will be assigned an implementation manager who will provide services to assist you in implementing your solution. They will provide a Statement of Work (SOW) that details the services and responsibilities for the project. You will work with the consultant to hold a project kick-off meeting, plan the project timeline, schedule product training, and review and finalize the design and configuration as well as test the system upon delivery. Partnering with your consultant for a successful implementation requires your active engagement and business expertise. You know your process and people best, so your consultant will look to you for timely decision making, critical issue resolution, and efforts to promote the Engagement internally.

Tip: Create a Test Plan

Get your team involved in user testing by providing them with a test plan. The plan identifies the items to be tested, the features to be tested, the types of testing to be performed, and the person responsible for testing.

I would love to hear your tips for successful implementation. Please comment on this blog to share with our community members!

Kathleen Ward
Principal Customer Success Manager, Foundations

Come say hi and connect with me on my community profile!
News Blackbaud Grantmaking™ Blog 04/12/2023 10:31am EDT

Leave a Comment

Check back soon!