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Herding Cats: How to Get 20 Nonprofit Stakeholders to Agree to Your New Website

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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. We'll use examples from our experiences with nonprofits, colleges and universities to offer best practices for wrangling a group of stakeholders.

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Herding Cats: How to Get 20 Nonprofit Stakeholders to Agree to Your New Website

  1. 1. Herding Cats: How to Get 20 Nonprofit Stakeholders to Agree to Your New Website NONPROFIT TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE March 15, 2014
  2. 2. Senior Vice President, Client Services Email: nlind@phase2technology.com Nicole Lind
  4. 4. About Phase2 • 100+ person application development firm using open source since 2001 • Full-service firm providing digital strategy, design and software development & integration services • Primary verticals include: Publishing & Digital Media, Nonprofits & Government & Public Policy • Headquartered in Washington DC with offices in New York City, San Francisco, and Portland. We also have a nationwide staff presence including Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Minnesota
  5. 5. Our Nonprofit Clients
  6. 6. Session Goals • Explore unique challenges of building websites and web enterprises in the nonprofit space • Learn solutions for tackling the challenges of building websites and web enterprises in the nonprofit space
  7. 7. Challenges
  8. 8. Numerous Stakeholders Lack of Digital Strategy Intense Cost Justification Lack of Technical Experience
  9. 9. Numerous Stakeholders • Characteristics of the problem • 20 people will not decide on one vision to create a set of requirements which is critical to building technology • aka - Voices from the shadows syndrome • Creates last minute crisis and assassination attempts on your site launch
  10. 10. Lack of Digital Strategy • Characteristics of the problem • Not knowing answers to questions like what is primary goal of the website...Create awareness, collect donations, easy administration???????? • aka - I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up syndrome • Creates demoralization in web teams and confusion in certain sections of the organization
  11. 11. Intense Cost Justification • Characteristics of the problem • Nonprofits are inherently very money conscious and need more of their dollars “going to the cause” and a website is often hard to justify when the cost is higher than expected • aka - What comes first, the chicken or the egg syndrome • Creates unfinished web solutions so the metrics can never be generated to justify the cost of a robust solution that would essentially help move the nonprofits cause forward
  12. 12. Lack of Technical Experience • Characteristics of the problem • Nonprofits are extremely complex organizations and their web needs are no longer just for basic brochureware. Enterprise and integrated solutions are becoming more of the norm • aka - Websites are so easy to build and anyone can do it syndrome • Creates broken and non-integrated data between the website, back office and legacy solutions like CRM and donation systems which of course basically drives the cost up of the entire enterprise
  13. 13. Solutions
  14. 14. Establish Rules of Engagement Get very early buy in for your governance plan
  15. 15. Must Have A Single Point of Contact (POC) This person should be technical enough and business savvy
  16. 16. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate Again Create published meeting schedule, central repository for project updates, internal marketing and training programs
  17. 17. Conduct A Formal Discovery Get documented metrics for success, content and design strategy, user stories and business requirements, technical architecture, schedule, estimate and then get sign-off from ALL the stakeholders
  18. 18. Visuals and Demos Are a Must Create a simple one page map of the web ecosystem, demo how workflow will work for various stakeholders
  19. 19. Manage to the Triangle
  20. 20. Avoid Making A Bad Decision By Going With Someone/Firm Without Nonprofit “Enterprise” Experience
  21. 21. Questions & Dialogue
  22. 22. Additional notes that came out of the session: A request was made for some slides from a old presentation of mine about personality types (which in the deck I called tribe members) and there is a bunch of stuff on risk as well. The content of the deck is on Drupal Migration but is pretty much able to be tied to other technology efforts. http://www.scribd.com/doc/86155027/I-m-Leaving-You-The-Risks-of-Dumping-Your-Old-CMS-for- Drupal-and-How-to-Manage-Them Key topics to study up on: -Project Portfolio Management -Project Methodology -Project Management Triangle ! Searching for tools: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_project_management_software