Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success (1 of 2)


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My panel presentation at the 2013 Nonprofit Technology Conference (see Part 2 for Ryan Davis' slides)

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  • Organization one – The Wilderness Society. Online is one fiefdom of many and a weaker one at that. In general, influence comes through competitive alliances intended to build power. To get online help each department must compete for attention and support – or go it alone and create their own initiative/team. Some basic detail about how the digital/online structure was set up. Short discussion of couple reform/restructuring efforts – moving online fundraising from online to fundraising, for example. This is just a shifting of power, not a breakdown of walls or improvement to collaboration/sharing. It also doesn’t address digital (or funding) needs/experiences of other departments.
  • Internal silos are one thing – one well documented thing. Well accursed for limiting collaboration and sharing of information internally. All true. As (or more) significant is that siloed orgs are so busy working out internal communications that they often appear and act as fortresses to the outside world. This limits/weakens communications, especially in digital, web, email, social where sharing and interaction are common/desired.
  • In organizations – and the bigger world – people interact with those around them (in their department, geographic community, community of practice) but also with the larger world based on relationships, interest and experience. Networks – online and off – mean that messages (information out and learning in) come from and go anywhere. A throne-based organization sets up barriers that slow or halt the passage of information, asking of questions, learning, sharing, collaboration. A throne based organization knows it is weak but set out to tackle the problem in two typical ways: Software – intranets, internal email, instant messaging, shared calendars Restructuring efforts grounded in (and dependent upon) the power centers themselves rather than the needs of audiences, allies, targets or even staff
  • Organization Two – Greenpeace. The point here is not to hold GP up as a model of “how to do structure for success in digital/online” but rather to identify some of what they’ve done to restructure themselves in a way that does a couple key things: Create a learning/sharing/open organization that’s aware of external/outside actors and lets info move in and out more efficiently (and move internally) Support key traits of citizen (and staff) mobilization – recognized that they have a huge international audience (email, social, etc) that could grow but while a good chunk of it listens it’s not nearly active enough to power the change that’s needed.
  • Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success (1 of 2)

    1. 1. Why OrganizationStructure Matters forOnline Success(& why traditional departments don’t work)#13ntcstructureNorman ReissNonprofit Bridgewww.nonprofitbridge.com Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    2. 2. Panelists Rusty Burwell, VP Governance American Lung Association Ryan Davis, Exec Director of Social Innovation Blue State Digital Ted Fickes, Founder Bright+3 Mark Pothier, Online Communications Director Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy Norman Reiss, Project Manager Center for Court Innovation (moderator)
    3. 3. Norman Reiss Session format A quick review of resources onorganization structure and online success Questions welcome at any time
    4. 4. Building a Successful Online Team April 2008 - EchoDittoEssential Positions Secondary HiresInternet Director Online Organizer (outreach &(strategy & planning) campaign measurement) Creative Director (design & branding)Web Content Manager Web Developer / Engineer (technical(content & development)administration) Database Administrator (data coordinator) Content Director (content creation) One skilled person may cover 3-4 of these roles in a small organization
    5. 5. May 2009•Insufficient staff is major barrier, but having right people more importantthan simply having more staff•Models – centralized (20%) vs. decentralized (39%) vs. hybrid (41%)•Level of collaboration that exists within organization may be moreimportant than structure
    6. 6. Integrated Fundraising / Communications Job Description April 20101. Detailed knowledge of multiple fundraising channels2. Can apply / utilize database segmentation techniques3. Can work well across departments4. Collaborative work style – supports / celebrates team successes5. Strong listener – can ask and utilize others’ feedback6. Conflict resolution skills – can negotiate conflicting priorities7. Curiosity / insight into overall organization goals8. Strong customer service skills dealing with constituents9. Can encourage colleagues to update online content and actively promote organization10. Unafraid of taking risks to experiment with new programs and adjust approach when needed
    7. 7. ‘ Communicopia, Stanford Social Innovation ReviewDysfunctions of Digital Teams•Silos – physically cut off from others in organization•Personality Fit – comfortable interfacing with others•Overload – not able / willing to prioritize work•Lack of Digital Vision – on which tools to utilize•Lack of Organizational Vision – doesn’t relate work to org. goals
    8. 8. An Organizational Structure that Supports Your Digital Presence November 2012 - Smashing Magazine Clearly Defined Roles for Website Leadership• Online branding • Content creation / removal• Analytics monitoring • New feature deployment• User testing • Hosting• Site accessibility • Technical implementation• Social media management • Graphical designWho is responsible, accountable, consulted and informed for each role?
    9. 9. Questions We’ll Address Today:• There may not be an ideal structure, but there are common characteristics at nonprofits which succeed online• Changing structure won’t be enough if organizational culture doesn’t change with it• If you’re not able to restructure, what else can you do to improve the results of your online campaigns?
    10. 10. Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success Rusty Burwell Vice President, Governance American Lung Association Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    11. 11. bu·reauc·ra·cy noun, plural bu·reauc·ra·cies• government by many bureaus, administrators, and petty officials.• the body of officials and administrators, especially of a government or government department.• excessive multiplication of, and concentration of power in, administrative bureaus or administrators.• administration characterized by excessive red tape and routine.Origin: 1810–20; bureau + -cracy, from French bureaucratie Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    12. 12. “Structure Matters”American Lung Association Structure: • National Office: NY/DC – 80 staff • 9 Regional Lung Associations – 500 staff • Autonomous, separate 501(c)(3) • Local board and staff control • Multi-state regions • 90 local offices including branches Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    13. 13. “Structure Matters”Centralized/coordinated systems • Convio/Blackbaud • www.lung.org and ‘local’ sites; Team Raiser; E- advocacy; E-marketing • ROI – CRM - single, integrated database • Sage Fund Accounting • Intranet – SharePoint • Learning Management Sys – internal and external Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    14. 14. “Structure Matters”Controlling/Managing/Implementing ALA systemsDivisions Departments• Marketing/Communications •Communications/PR• IT/CRM •Online Services• Advocacy •National Policy• Mission •Direct Response• Development •Special Events •Health Education •Corporate Partnerships Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    15. 15. “Structure Matters”Key to battling bureaucracy: Leadership buy-in • First – cooperative/collaborative environment • Second – specific project/tactic • Third – outcomes focused Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    16. 16. “Structure Matters” …and remember: You are a leader Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    17. 17. We will breathe easier when the air in every American community is clean and healthy.We will breathe easier when people are free from the addictive grip of tobacco and the debilitating effects of lung disease.We will breathe easier when the air in our public spaces and workplaces is clear of secondhand smoke. We will breathe easier when children no longer battle airborne poisons or fear an asthma attack. Until then, we are fighting for air. Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    18. 18. Ted Fickes Founder,A Tale of Two Organizations
    19. 19. Organization One : Game of Thrones Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    20. 20. Organizational structure reflects a model of interactingwith people and the world Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    21. 21. How people really interact Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    22. 22. Organization Two : Structure (not just software) supportscollaboration, learning, sharing Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    23. 23. Going Hybrid in a Palmate* Organization: Online Communications Structure at the Conservancy *Palmate: (of a leaf) Having several lobes whose midribs all radiate from one point.©MasonCummingsPhotography.com
    24. 24. Who We Are:• Nonprofit partner to Nat’l Park Service (GGNRA), Presidio Trust, and Golden Gate Bridge District ($35.5 M in 2012)• 45+ Park sites, including Alcatraz, Golden Gate, Muir Woods• Dozens of programs, visitor centers, retail outlets = 10,000 points of contact• Large, one-time initiatives (GGB75.org)
    25. 25. Who We Are, Online:Multiple web sites, social channels, e-news, e-storesand shared content
    26. 26. How We Worked (Not) in 2006• Online through one (long-vacated) desk.• Strong silos. Few cross-program teams.• Redesign stalled. Producer AWOL. Editor and writer quit. Whistling winds.• No past CMS, CRM, or regular metrics.
    27. 27. Constant : Change In seven years: •Web 2.0 → social, mobile, geo- and big data •Two CMS/CRM migrations; 3 Redesigns •Staff doubles to 400. Silos fall and rise. •.5 Webmaster → 3 FTE Online staff and three cross-org teams; e-skills turnover •Economy, government and climate in flux •Golden Gate Bridge turns 75, etc.©MasonCummingsPhotograpy.com
    28. 28. Our Hybrid Structure• Hub: 3 FTE online staff in Comm/Marketing• Open leadership: Communications drives online strategy, but with cross-org input• Convio CMS/CRM + monthly dev hours• Cross-organization: • Web Team (publishers) • Social Media Working Group • E-Newsletter “sub-committee" • Google Wildfire social marketing team
    29. 29. How to Make It Work • Channel change • Communicate clearly, regularly, up-and-out • Measure against goals • "Grow gardeners" • Learn and spread it • Establish resilient policies • Contract expertise. SAAS. • Oversee volunteer efforts • Let teams ebb and flow
    30. 30. Always take the Higher Path.
    31. 31. Watch: http://bit.ly/15NEaCLwww.ParksConservancy.orgmpothier@parksconservancy.org
    32. 32. Ryan DavisBlue State Digital Why Organization Structure Matters for Online Success - #13NTCstructure
    33. 33. Evaluate This Session!Each entry is a chance to win an NTEN engraved iPad! INSERT QR CODE HERE or Online using <insert session hashtag> at www.nten.org/ntc/eval
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