I am preparing for a presentation I will be giving next week at the annual Christian Stewardship Association conference and have been thinking through some of the questions I am likely to get. One of the questions will likely deal with “Who’s responsible for our website?” Now there is a loaded question with no easy answer!
In my humble opinion, everyone in your organization is responsible for your website. If your organization is large enough or tech savy enough, you will likely have a staff dedicated to keeping your website up-to-date and working with (somebody) to develop your e-mail communication stream. However, difficulty may arise when the responsibility for the website resides in a particular department where there is no real vision for extending the reach of the organization to the internet beyond a basic brochure type website. Having a donor centered culture within your organization will help to mitigate some of these challenges. Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Responsibility for keeping information on your website up-to-date should be broken down into areas of outreach. If your international work needs updating, it should be up to that department to supply the information. If you have a podcast outreach, the staff responsible for creating the video and/or audio portions should be responsible for providing new content.
- There should be a regular meeting of a production team that coordinates priorities. Everyone in the organization should be requesting new information on the website. Make sure that your web developers are not responsible for determining what is priority and what isn’t.
- Develop an organizational philosophy of focusing on the needs of your donors. This will help you set the priorities for your internet strategy and will also help to drive content and direction.
- Consider your strategy. Locate the responsibility for your web team based on what the strategy is for your website. If it is to provide information to your constituents then maybe it is best in your communications department. If your strategy is to develop relationships with donors, then maybe the responsibility falls in your development department. There is no one correct answer.
The issue is to determine your strategy and let that drive the decisions you make regarding your website. Too often we let the tools drive our strategy and then down the road realize that we went left when we probably should have gone right and it becomes too difficult to change.