Technology is changing at a rapid pace and new technology is often a critical factor in maintaining competitive advantage and driving innovation. For nonprofit organizations, technology can drive efficiency and help clients access critical services.

Regardless of your reason for implementing new technology, changing systems or platforms can be a complex and disruptive process.   A well-structured change management is an invaluable addition to project planning. By systematically addressing the human aspects of change, organizations can ensure smoother transitions, higher adoption rates, and better overall outcomes.

Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organization’s goals, processes, or technologies.  The primary objective is to implement strategies for effecting change, controlling change, and helping people to adapt to change. Without a solid change management plan, even the most promising technology implementations can fail, as they often encounter resistance or disengagement from employees who are affected by the change.

One of the leading methodologies in change management is developed by Prosci, a research-based organization known for its structured approach to change management. Central to Prosci’s methodology is the ADKAR model, which outlines the five key building blocks necessary for successful change:


  1. Awareness: Employees must understand the need for change. They need to be aware of why the change is happening and what the risks are if the change does not occur.
  2. Desire: Employees must have the desire to participate in and support the change. This involves addressing individual motivations and concerns to gain buy-in.
  3. Knowledge: Employees need to know how to change. This includes training and education on the new technology and processes.
  4. Ability: Employees must be able to implement the change in their day-to-day work. This involves developing the necessary skills and behaviors.
  5. Reinforcement: Steps must be taken to ensure the change is sustained over time. This includes providing ongoing support and addressing any issues that arise post-implementation.

If you want to maximize your investment in new technology, it is essential that a change management plan be developed as part of the project planning process.   If you don’t have a trained Change Management practitioner on staff, you may want to consider contracting with a qualified change management practitioner who can guide and support the effort.

Developing a change management plan as part of any new technology implementation is essential for several reasons:

  1. Minimizes Resistance: Change often meets resistance. A change management plan helps anticipate objections and prepares strategies to address them, thus reducing friction and resistance.
  2. Enhances Communication: Effective change management ensures that there is clear, consistent, and transparent communication throughout the organization. This helps keep everyone informed and aligned with the change process.
  3. Improves Adoption Rates: By addressing the ADKAR elements, organizations can ensure that employees are not only aware of and knowledgeable about the new technology but are also capable and motivated to use it. This leads to higher adoption rates and more effective utilization of the new system.
  4. Reduces Costs and Risks: Mismanaged changes can be costly. Delays, rework, and productivity losses can add up quickly. A change management plan helps mitigate these risks by providing a clear roadmap for the transition.
  5. Boosts Morale and Engagement: When employees feel supported and their concerns are addressed, their morale and engagement levels tend to increase. This positive atmosphere can lead to a more productive and harmonious workplace.

Incorporating a change management plan in new technology implementations is not just a best practice—it’s a necessity. By leveraging frameworks like Prosci’s ADKAR model, organizations can navigate the complexities of change more effectively, ensuring that new technologies deliver their full potential and that employees are engaged and empowered throughout the transition. Change is inevitable, but with a well-crafted change management plan, it can also be an opportunity for growth and improvement.