SmartCause Digital

Who’s the boss of your nonprofit website?

Nov 19, 2013

Who's the Boss?Are you engaged in a virtual arm wrestling match for control of your nonprofit’s website? You’re not alone. I have seen many fundraisers, communicators and IT staff engaged in similar struggles.

Here are a few guidelines you can use to determine who should be the “boss” of your nonprofit organization’s website. Pick and choose some talking points that apply to your unique situation and take them back to your team!


The website boss should be someone who...

Has a job description that matches the site’s overall goals

Choose someone whose job description matches the goals of the site. The key is to choose a website manager who can make connections between the bigger goal and how the website can help accomplish the goal.

For example, if the site is linked to an advocacy campaign, choose a website manager who works on the advocacy team. If the site has a goal of raising awareness of a disease that affects children, choose a website manager who is working directly on the awareness campaign.


Has social capital within your nonprofit organization

Choose someone with a good amount of social capital within your organization. The website leader will steer important discussions and build consensus among many interested parties.

S/he should have a good reputation as a problem-solver among your organization’s staff.


Can make decisions based on data

Choose someone with a habit of reviewing data before making decisions. For example, when a client asks for my advice on a digital issue, I always review their unique analytics to determine the best option for that specific nonprofit.

S/he should be open to incorporating analytics as an important tool in her/his utility belt.

Remember to empower the website leader to make and enforce important decisions.


Has the time… and the interest

Choose someone who is able to commit a significant amount of time. The exact time/workload commitment varies throughout the year, but the key is that the website leader have a regular block of time devoted to improving the website.

Choose someone who is genuinely interested in improving the website. Their interest is probably driven by that goals match mentioned above, but make sure that both criteria are met: goals and interest. For example, if Diana and Maria are both on the advocacy team and only Maria is interested in the advocacy website, then Maria will be the better website boss.


But what about…

Tech skills?

Your nonprofit’s website will be the most successful if the website leader has a strong goals match and a strong interest in improving the site. If that leader doesn't yet know the ins and outs of Google Analytics, that's ok. Tech skills can come later.


The IT department?

The IT department is an all-star on the website team but not the team captain.


The rest of the website team?

It takes a team to make a great nonprofit website! Remember to regularly consult staff for their unique expertise:

  • Accounting: “Are we providing the financial disclosure information required of us as a nonprofit? Are we collecting the information we need to document financial transactions?”
  • Fundraising: “Are we successfully meeting our online fundraising goals?”
  • Program / Advocacy: “Does our website support the efforts of the program / advocacy staff?”
  • Human Resources: “Is our website helping our staff recruitment and retention efforts?”
  • Executive Director: “Does our website effectively communicate the organization’s vision?”

Do you have…

questions about who should be the boss of your specific nonprofit’s website? Tweet me @silverbell. I’d love to “meet” you!


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About the Author

Yesenia SoteloYesenia Sotelo is a digital skills trainer and web developer.

I'm grateful to have led trainings & presentations for these nonprofit thought leaders

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