What is an Information Plan (iPlan)?

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7 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 9 μήνες)

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The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
1

of
12



Fund development is the
life blood of a charity
.
The dollars

raised

support its programs. It is
at the
heart
of an organization and when it is

under stress
every aspect of the charity
suffers. A
healthy
fund development department running at
maximum effici
ency benefits the
everyone
.

What is an Information P
lan

(
i
P
lan
)
?

Charities function on information. A comprehensive plan to manage the information they need to
functi
on successfully is a necessity
.

An

iPlan

focuses attention on the
fund development
team
a
nd

information they
use
,
create and
share.
It

examine
s

all
data
transactions

affecting a

fund development

program
. It
identifies

what offers
value
, what
needs to be

collected
,

how it will be
recorded for retention
,

so all m
embers of the team can
access wh
at they need
.
Job descriptions
a
ddress
what
the
staff

record

and
how it will be stored
.

The
optimum test for any type of
data
will be its effect on the goals of the charity.

Is an
iPlan

difficult to
create
? No, w
here the

challenge

lies is

ensuring all team

members follow
it
.
A
senior
person of

authority
is

responsib
le

to
determine

how staff will participate
to
en
sure

everyone
contribute
s
.

D
issenters

need to be

and either brought back on task or removed from the group.
Dissenters are negative influences and
viewed as
iPlan

saboteurs.

I
n our experience
,

the majority of charities
do not
manage their donor information, experiential
knowledge and supporting tools
. This valuable data is left in disarray with bits and pieces found across a
variety of me
diums,

ever
ything from computer files to sticky notes

or those little grey cells
.


The outcome is o
rganizational memory

is lost, donor information is incomplete, systems are

non
-
existent
or poorly defined
, d
ocuments are housed
in multiple forms everywhere and
anywher
e
. This environment
The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
2

of
12



drives
what

we view as an

impoverished charity


which
unfortunately in today’s NPO world
is more likely
the norm

than the exception.



Fund development
is
an
information driven business.

The

iPlan

creates a

systematic method for managing the tools used when

doing business. Staff
wor
king from the same playbook,

make the entire team more productive
. Where

there is

no system in

place, chaos rules
,

as each staff member adds their own
ideas about jobs and how they
are performed,
where information is stored, and what
timelines are used.
When

results
are inconsistent; ti
me is wasted,
costs increase,
and
opportunities ar
e missed
.

A
n information plan is
never

fully complete. The plan is fluid a
s

staff

will

continue

contribut
ing

to it
.

Periodic review offers a continuous improvement paradigm that
increases its

value

and periodic
e
valuations ensure
everyone

stays
committed
and
on task and
that
no

one
person
enters into practices
that will
undermine

its

e
ffectiveness.

Anecdote:

A young woman who works for a charity is about to take over the roll of

events
manager. We suggested that she take a course offered in special events management which shows
events staff how to record ticket sales, sponsors, auction donors and more. We were told that there
was no budget for further training. We asked if she wa
s planning to use the donor management
software to record these events. No, she didn’t think so.

Observation:

The manager who filled this position did not take time to explain the full extend of
what is required to ensure the donor management system rema
ins accurate and up
-
to
-
date or they
did not understand it themselves.

The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
3

of
12



An information culture
results
,

as staff

engage i
n the plan and experience its benefits
. The culture
invites staff members
to
suggest

improvements to areas that

affect their work
.

Soliciting change
demonstrates a respect

for those employed and
as well as recognizing
the value they bring to an
organization.

The Information Plan
is
supported

first

by

policies

and them job descriptions that address
information
capt
ure
.

With

the Plan established
integrating
new
hires

into the group is easy

and
they are quickly
elevated to higher

levels of performance as the learning curve is less
ened
. Rather than water cooler
chitchat, tasks are specifically defined to meet the goals

of the organization through a formal training
process
.

Where t
he difficultly lies
is
with the initial build to ensure the development group follow what they
devise.

Once established the principles of the plan need to be mandated by the Board and included

in
the
policies

of the organization.

Past, present and future; a knowledge base has started to take form.

Elements of an Information Plan





Evolution




Information Culture



Evaluation




Continuous Improvement



Maintenance




Performance Reviews




Tools &

Format




KMS Order electronic tools, outputs



M
anagement Strategy



Procedures, Instruction Sets

The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
4

of
12





Leadership




Policies



E
lements

to support

your Information Culture



Recognition and Rewards


Staff satisfaction



Continuous Improvement


Corrective Measures



Staff Contributions



Training

In the
chapter

one

we discussed being L
.
O
.
S
.
T
.

and our goal is moving to L
.
O
.
T
.
S
.

through the
elimination of chaotic practices

that undermine the e
ffectiveness of an organization.
The elements of the
Information Plan addres
s Leadership, the need f
or Order within an organization;

Training to ensure
everyone understands
and knows how to perform
their role
s

and Staffing

to select people with the right
skills and attitude
.

Leadership

An
Information Plan
is top down
.

When
the he
ad of the organization
does
not model the values of the
plan

and
support

its methods
,

the project is doomed to failure.


L
eaders who do not
acknowledge
the
organizational
capital

of

the information used to
perform their business p
laces


the
iPlan’

in peril
.

The statement needs to

be

made:
“this is how we run our business and
everyone is

expected to
participate.” If this comes from a mid
-
level manager
,

they lack the power and influence to support
change.
S
uccess is a function of all team members contributin
g not merely a few.

Senior managers
need to
mirror the practices and demonstrate the value
the plan

give
s

the

organization.


The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
5

of
12



T
he

Information Plan

creates a

framework
which

supports the organization through all staff changes, it
works as a training tool an
d it defines job expectations so no lapses or loss of momentum occurs.

Phrases that erode the process are:


No time
,
Too busy
,
Too difficult
,
I don’t know how
,
I don’t understand it
,
I’ve always done it like
this
,

It’s not my job!
, It won’t work
.
, I’m frus
trated.

Everyone has time when the outcome serves
the

organization, no one is ever too busy to contribute a
few minutes to its success,

and

nothing is too difficult for a motivated staff member
. You don’t know …
find out. You

don
’t understand ... take a le
sson and learn!

There are no
valid

excuses
,

only

expressions of staff who lack motivation and have been allowed
to
place their own preferences ahead of the charity

and its welfare

as a whole.

The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
6

of
12



Policy statements are used to provide guiding principles for an

organization. These principles affect
job descriptions and
staff compliance. When we look at the fund development department, policies are
needed to address all areas of donor interaction and
donor
data management. Fundraising staff need to
know the exp
ectations of an organization
. W
here expectations have not been defined chaos results.


Poor or indifferent management practices provide a negative effect on an entire system.

Anecdote:

An organization purchase
d

a fund development software system

to support their

capital
campaign.
While

training
the

new
est

staff member
,

it was
mentioned
that the fund develop
ment
manager had sent out receipts for campaign donations
which they had
recorded on a spreadsheet
rather than using the software package purchased. This resulted in re
-
work as this information was
required in the software to create a stable, accurate acco
unting of all gifts.




Observation:

The FD manager sent the wrong message to their staff. Further to this message, a
request was made for find donors who had donated in specific dollar ranges. An interesting request
since all gifts had not been record
ed in the donor management system.

Anecdote:


A charity had

a beloved
volunteer. This volunteer entered

all donations into the
fundraising software. When it c
ame

time to print receipts, the volunteer d
id not and would

not use the
receipt printing capabili
ty of the software which records receipt numbers at the point of printing. Yearly
receipts d
id
not show the receipt number on each transaction that ma
de up

the yearly receipted total.
The decision by the volunteer
was

so wrong it

was difficult

to explain
the thought process behind it.

Observation:

Volunteers don’t make decisions
,

they follow charity policies. Free labour in this
case was not a benefit to the charity but a management disaster.

The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
7

of
12



Policies and Procedures

Successful f
und raising is based on r
elationship b
uil
ding
,

which
in turn is
supported by

k
nowledge
r
etention
, Just in Time m
emory
,
data
accuracy and
prompt
access to
this
information.

Knowing d
onors as
individuals
not as
a
cheque book
,

is
elemental

to
developing a sincere
understanding

of

their interest
in
a

charity.

How the charity m
anage
s

its
data
defines how they do their business
.
Formal policies and
procedures
can

describe

job
expectations and from these expectations staff can be evaluated on their
success or failure to perform in the best interest of th
e charity.


When examining data from the perspective of what policies, procedures and instruction
s

are needed
the following questions

are useful
:

1.

What
is

the input?

2.

What
is

the output?

3.

How will the output file be named
?

4.

Where are will it be stored?

5.

Are t
here critical

t
imelines
?


6.

When is it performed
?

7.

W
hich job position is responsible
?


8.

Who shares
the output files
?


Written procedures
r
elated to
job descriptions ensure
the

job is completed
as described
.

Consistency
results with

the use of procedures

that c
ontrol how assigned tasks are performed

and consistency
develops confidence in the quality of the
data
.

Asking what is

necessary

to build and maintain

a
good
wo
rking relationship with
a
donor

is

important

when assessing what to retain
.

Unnecessary electron
ic clutter creates anxiety.
A well
-
managed
workplace
will implement

procedures and

instruct
ions sets that further the Information Plan as t
he
se
tools
define

the way the business of fundraising
information management
is performed
.

.

The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
8

of
12



B
est practices
result
,

w
hen s
taff

members receive training

in
desired

skill sets
.
Individuals

can do
the
right
jobs

at the right time
s with the right outcomes
. This e
nsur
es

everyone is working
successfully
as a
team.

P
rocedures
are designed
by department

in collaboration with oth
er departments when information is
shared.

A good way to
begin

is by evaluating

the information flow

between
accounting, communications,
special events,
sponsorships,
fund development
, fund raising and information technology
. Each
department

plays a suppor
ting role

offer
ing

control points

and as such
,

they
need to work with
a common
game plan.

The game plan include
s

data acquisition, data recording, and document management. In
a
global
sense, each area would understand how
it affects the other and define it
s

procedures accordingly.

There is abundant opportunity for staff to participate and contribute.
How often do your hear
“We
don’t have the time

to implement a plan!”
?

Maybe that

should read
“We must make time”,

as the busier
an organization i
s, the more s
carce
time becomes
. T
ime management

is a priority.

Is there the Will?

Senior m
anagement
is

the driving force behind
an Information Plan
. If there is
no will

on their behalf,
excuses and delays will derail the process and other scapegoats will be sought to
place the blame for
failure. Failure rests squarely on
the
shoulders

of

management

and
it
result
s

due to
their
inability to
motivate staff to action.
Senior managements
need to support the value of the implementation and
ensure time and resources a
re alloc
ated to it.

Tools and Formats

The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
9

of
12



One major deterrent to having a
successful
plan is
the
perceived difficulty
of
implementing it.

P
rocrastination

result
s when there is no definitive way to begin the planning process
.
T
emplates
are
available that can be custom
ized to an organization. They are used

to
facilitate
the different elements of
the plan.

The electronic tools used in a business environment have just as much value as physical tools used
for example,
by the trades. Creating a structure to house or store e
lectronic tools means all staff have
access to

what they want when they need

them. Providing
incentives

to contribute to the

Information
Plan

, makes it that much easier to participate.

The use of a KMS (knowledge management system) set of folders to
hous
e

an o
rganization
’s
electronic tools
allows all staff

to find what
they need when used correctly.

Just take a moment to
consider the benefits. N
o questions to ask, no people to track down, no duplicate copies
,

more time for
beneficial
work, less time searc
hing, and a benefit to all.

Maintenance

T
he position of Data Manager can help an organization
understand its departmental data
relationships
. The Data Manager is not a glorified data entry clerk but rather a data guru who transform
s

a simple piece of data
into an opportunity for the charity.

Working
with departments that use data
to discuss how the information plan is working
and review

improvements is v
aluable not only from a process

improvement

perspective but for the Information
Culture and its evolution
.

It continues to impress upon a group of staff members the value of what they
know and how they can use that knowledge to competitive advantage.

Understanding

what is happening at the grass roots

of an organization and examining the effects at
the

data us
er levels offers insights that
will

improve delivery, plug risks to the system and reduce costs.
The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
10

of
12



Evaluating what you do and how you do it

takes time
. I
t is a deliberate activity.
This is b
rain storming
at
its best
and in many cases
epiphany mo
ments
result
as innovations are discovered.

The Data Manager sees all
,

as they view

the functioning of the organization

from a data perspective.

What is needed, why
it
is needed, who uses it, how does it impact now, how does it impact
i
n the
future, how can it be used
, where do we put it,
and
how
do

we record it.

A
ll
are
important questions to

consider

as a charity looks to engage its donors, funders and
advocates.

The right responses will build a historical knowledge base from which the charity can
grow.

Past Present
and Future: All for one and one for all.

The people and organizations that a charity touches
include
s

current donors, potential donors, key
advocates

in
their

community, all levels of government, like associations,

suppliers, foundations,
c
orporate donors,

service groups, board members, alumni, volunteers, employee associations
, research
,
media

and more.

How a charity decides to
connect with members of these varied groups will depend on
the

role they see these groups playing on their behalf.

Performance
Eva
luation

Written in to the Information Plan
are
job descriptions from which staff members can be evaluated for
their contributions and compliance. The Information Plan benefit
s

the charity and its sustainability.
Employees who are unwilling to support the p
olicies and procedures outlined by the charity are of little
benefit to the organization.

Training is a key factor
. Knowing
how to perform a task
is only common sense. Training occur
s

at
more than one juncture as a staff member moves throughout an organiz
ation. Well defined job
The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
11

of
12



descriptions are e
ssential as staff cannot be censured for discrepancies in performance whe
re they are
uninformed

of the requirements.

Staff members who have been well prepared but choose not to comply are insensitive to the goals o
f the
charity. They can modify their behaviours or
they should
leave the organization.

Evolution

A well
-
defined Information Plan
is

embraced by an organization. The benefits
are

found in better use
of staff time,
and
more opportunities to raise awareness a
nd
all important
funds. Morale
is
heightened as
time consuming jobs are eliminated and more effort is place
d

working with donors and building
sustainable relationships.

Staff members

form human capital. As they grow to understand more about the organizatio
n they
have an opportunity to offer

suggestions
to implement

improvements
. A
djustments
,

no matter how small
,

alter a job for the better and staff who identify these changes are rewarded when they are taken to heart.

The Information Culture thrive
s

as it su
pports each and every person

involved with a

charity and
ultimately
translate
s
that success to
all
its programs and clients as
well.

Recognizing valued contributions by staff members, volunteers and clients is a great way to thank
them for the time and eff
ort they
have taken

to share their insights.

The Information Plan will be written into the charities documents through policy statements, job
descriptions, procedures and instruction sets. The knowledge and tools created to support the Plan and
its culture

will be improved on an on
-
going basis by staff fully committed to its value.

Information Culture

An information culture
results as
employees and volunteers contribute what they know and what they
have learned e
nhancing

the ability of
an

organization to fu
nction successfully
.

It is a knowledge transfer
The
Epiphany
: We can do it Better!

Chapter 4:
Information Plan

Page
12

of
12



that creates a legacy
from
existing
staff t
o

new
staff members and

from which
everyone

improve
s
.
It
build
s

a foundation for current operations and future growth.

An inf
ormation culture is built

on:

1.

best pra
ctices




Job Descriptions

2.

business methods



Training

3.

common knowledge



Use of the KMS

A knowledge management system supports an Information Culture by creating a structure and a
definition for knowledge retention and independent access.

A working enviro
nment that supports access
to information supports their staff allowing them to make better decisions based on better data. You
can’t help but have a more productive work environment when unnecessary road blocks and frustrations
have been eliminated.