Change is Hard

Change is Hard: Create Your A-Team – Guest Post from the Nantucket Historical Association’s Michelle Soverino

Posted by to Altru on July 1, 2013

Before going live with Altru the Nantucket Historical Association input and stored all of its data in two places: one database that served all its development needs—with a few “fudged” processes to track group tours and facility rentals, and one POS system that tracked museum visitors along with Museum Shop sales and inventory.

When visiting the Whaling Museum, our members were verified at the front desk with a printed list, which became obsolete the minute the paper cooled on the tray. Our program admissions were tracked on worksheets, and we had no means of recording the many ways through which NHA members and donors interacted with the organization. Flipping Altru’s switch on May 31, 2012 was an exciting moment for the NHA: a new era of data input and tracking was born, and with this new beginning came many changes.


To help manage and steer this change, the NHA converted its implementation team into the A-Team: a select group of key NHA stakeholders from across the organization (Department of Visitor Experience, Advancement Department, and Finance & Administration). The strategy behind this was simple: change is best executed when it follows thoughtful collaboration. In the new world of Altru, all of our data interacts and communicates, these new relations among NHA data needed to mirror conversations among staff—none of us operate as islands anymore. Together we discuss, we draft protocol, we seek solutions, and we talk best practices.

As the project manager for the Altru conversion and implementation, and wearing the hat of Database Administrator under many other caps, berets, and beanies, the A-Team provides a valuable sounding board. Our monthly meetings keep the topic of Altru relevant. We actively seek ways to expand our knowledge base and improve our processes across the organization. We approach problems from all angles: How will this affect finance? What does this mean for our donors? Will this influence our guest experience at the front desk? And beyond that, we support each other, we motivate each other, and we lift each other up when outcomes are different than originally anticipated.

– Michelle Soverino, Nantucket Historical Association

You can connect with Michelle on the community or read our entire change management series here.

___________________________________________________________________________________The above is the first of series of blog posts I will be doing for Blackbaud regarding change management.