May/June 2007

Client Point of View: In-Person Training Well Worth the Investment

by Mio Kataoka, Client Education Specialist, Convio

More and more organizations are adding online constituent relationship management (eCRM) solutions to traditional tactics to improve their results. Convio's software and services are proven to drive success but the organizations that take the time to train their staff on how use the tools and adopt best practices are the ones getting a better return on their investment.

Alicia Searfoss, director of special projects for National Relief Charities (NRC), which provides program services that benefit Native Americans throughout the United States, became a Convio client in June 2006. Although she had some experience creating Web pages, it had been years since she had used Web tools other than searching the Internet. She completed Essentials training earlier this year at Convio's Austin, Texas-based training facility.

"We had just deployed and needed to be able to get everything started immediately to get the most return on our investment," explains Alicia, who became Convio Project Manager for NRC in mid-January. "I could have figured it out by taking just the online courses, but it would have taken a lot of time and energy that we couldn't afford."

While Convio's in-person training was indeed essential for Alicia, she started with online classes to get a grounding in the basics. "The online classes were very good and I learned a lot, which I put to use right away. I would strongly suggest clients take all the online classes first so they can concentrate their energy in the Essentials class on how everything fits together."

In the training class, Alicia learned how to execute an entire project using the training database with one-on-one help from the instructors. The class also included a team project. "One of the benefits of the in-person training is being able to talk with colleagues at other nonprofits and learn what they were doing."

During the training, Alicia had a few projects that the instructors walked her through so that when she returned to the office, she was able to finish them up easily. "The training has definitely made me more effective in my job. I can accomplish more and in a timely manner. Convio provides a great support team, but being able to do more projects on our own, saves us money and makes sure we are using Convio's Client Success Services team more effectively."

Melissa Lee, project manager of eRevenue for American Cancer Society's Eastern Division (ACS), attended Essentials training in February, immediately after being promoted from a technical staff member working on one ACS event to strategizing and supporting all of ACS' online campaigns.

"My team considered an internal training led by other ACS staff who used Convio, but ultimately decided to send me to Austin to learn first-hand the full functionality and capabilities of the Convio product suite," said Melissa, who is responsible for customizing the Eastern Division's Web site and training staff to use the micro-sites. "The training has allowed me to be a great asset to the ACS team, locally and nationally, and I recommended that all online administrators for ACS events be trained on use of the full Convio product."

In addition to the courses and training in Austin, Convio continues to provide training for clients on the GetActive platform through migration.

Annie Lynsen, director for grassroots advocacy and communication for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Washington, DC office, had a challenge on her hands last summer. ELCA had just signed a contract to use GetActive software, and needed to make sure Annie and ELCA's state public policy staff around the country were comfortable with the tools and would use them so that they could leverage the product's full functionality.

"Without the staff's comfort level with the tools, we would not be able to achieve our goals," says Annie, who with her colleagues were the first group to take advantage of the D.C. office's training facility, which opened last October. "The online training is helpful but for those less familiar with Web tools, there's a greater comfort level having in-person training and getting your questions answered."

Two training sessions were scheduled to accommodate ELCA staff who varied in their levels of aptitude and skills. Annie attended both training sessions. "We covered a lot of ground in a short time; I was really impressed with the trainers — they were very professional and flexible and made sure everyone's questions got answered. Both the tracks, the tech-savvy group and the group that required more individual attention, learned at their own pace."

The training has allowed Annie to be more productive. "I'm the point person for staff to call if they are having a problem using the tools. Since the training, I've had very few calls asking me how to do something. The training has made my life a lot easier. It was an investment to get our staff to DC, but it has paid off in greater productivity and use of the tools."

Client Point of View: In-Person Training Well Worth the Investment | Convio