Date of Award

6-8-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

Mary Jane Kuffner Hirt, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David Chambers, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

P. Michael Kosicek, Ph.D.

Abstract

Constituent Relationship Management ("CRM") is defined as an organization-wide strategy designed to enable the organization to better manage, track and steward its constituents. CRM has benefited for-profit enterprises for nearly three decades. In the nonprofit sector, the concept of CRM is fairly new. Despite the increase in CRM implementations and current research, both researchers and practitioners still view CRM as a technology rather than a strategy. Since the concept of CRM was first introduced into the nonprofit sector and the supporting technology made available to these unique organizations, implementation efforts have failed to meet expectations and the deployed CRM systems remain underutilized. This study explored the factors associated with CRM implementation failure and success as defined by the organizations in which they are implemented. Through interviews of consultants to nonprofits and individuals employed by them who have experience implementing CRM in the nonprofit environment, I was able to gain a better understanding of CRM implementations in nonprofits and to identify the critical success factors ("CSFs") that lead to success or failure. Due to resource constraints, the interviews were conducted electronically, via email. An interview guide approach was taken and interviewee responses were captured and solicited for additional feedback and/or clarification in real-time. The research uncovered nonprofit success factors very similar to those found in the expert industry data, with a few exceptions. Adequate resources, training, and change management were top factors identified in both the literature and interviewee responses. Defining and setting proper metrics was one factor that was stressed in the literature but not by the respondents. Additional findings include various differences in the respondents' definitions of CRM and CRM success, all of which may have greatly affected the success and full utilization of past CRM implementations and any future implementations.

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