Herding Cats At The Nonprofit Technical Conference

Nicole Lind, Chief of Staff
Posted

If you need to get 20 nonprofit executives and board members in a room at once, just yell:

"We're thinking about launching a new website!"

...and watch them all converge.

New websites bring out the opinions, ideas, and requirements from all corners of your organization. And while you want to hear all of that input, you need to move the project forward, too. As SVP of Client Services at Phase2, I've seen nonprofit website builds that flourish and website builds that ultimately are not as successful.  A common challenge I see with building websites and platforms for nonprofits is the numerous stakeholders involved in the project.  The bottom line is that 10 stakeholders will not be able to agree on one single vision for the digital strategy. The way a nonprofit handles this challenge will make or break their website project.

On Saturday, March 15th, I'll be presenting a session at the Nonprofit Technical Conference in DC about this very challenge and how nonprofits can implement strategic practices to avoid stakeholder traffic jams.

A few topics I will cover include:

Characteristics of multiple stakeholder syndrome

As I mentioned earlier, a large group of stakeholders will find it difficult to create a single vision for the web project. Chances are that each stakeholder has specific digital needs, and some of these may conflict. With no clear set of requirements, this lack of clarity will put a project at risk for expensive timeline delays.

Digital strategy development

More often than not, nonprofits tend to lack an official digital strategy. This can partly be due to having multiple stakeholders and priorities, but it can also arise from the absence of a discussion about specific website objectives. There are obvious risks with not having a digital strategy before starting a website project, and again, the lack of clarity around what is needed and how it will function will ultimately cost the organization unnecessary time and money.

Justifying website development costs

Similar to the digital strategy issue, problems abound when nonprofit tech teams do not know how to measure the success of a website build. Often a nonprofit's web platform has a lot of moving parts like CRM, donation, and social media integrations. These facets are"under the hood" and aren't necessarily visible to business stakeholders, but are integral features of the website. Without the proper site mapping, metrics and analytics, it is extremely difficult to justify the cost of development and maintenance costs.

With these common challenges in mind, I am excited to discuss the tactics and best practices for overcoming these issues at NTEN.  Hope you can join me on Saturday, March 15th, 1:30PM at NTEN 2014.  Meanwhile, learn more about requirements gathering by checking out Jordan Hirsch's blogpost: "What The Heck Are We Building? 10 Steps To Successful Requirements Gathering."

 

Nicole Lind

Chief of Staff