Marketing vs. IT—the Epic Battle for your Web Site

Who is running your web site—Marketing or IT?

How you answer that question will usually predict how successful your organization is at moving the needle in the four essential fundraising functions:

• Acquiring names
• Converting donors
• Raising dollars
• Communicating impact

Marketing people think about their intended target audience—the visitor, constituent, donor—and that helps to shape how they approach every aspect of the web site. Marketers care most about what happens on the other side of the screen when real people have to interact with content and complete tasks. A marketer takes a constituent-centered approach to the web.

IT on the other hand, is most concerned about what impact the web will have on operations. IT will always operate from a perspective that ensures that back-end processes are most efficient, that data collected is complete, and that data processing requires as little human resources as possible. An IT person takes a very organizational-focused approach to the web.

If the goal of your web site is to build and maintain relationships with constituents, engage them in your mission, and inspire them to get involved, then your web site needs to be very constituent-focused. People are smart—especially online people. If your web site is very organizational-focused, they will recognize it immediately and will stiffen up their defensive instincts. But when you design your web site with the intention of meeting the needs of those most important to your organization—your constituents and donors—you will find that they will thank you by completing more conversion goals.

Not Sure Who is Running Your Web Site? Consider the Following Questions:

  1. Do ideas drive online programs, or are programs a function of technical limitations?
  2. Have you been told, “we can’t launch this new program because it won’t easily integrate with our donor management system?"
  3. Do your donors have to jump through a series of hoops in order to make a donation?
  4. Have you missed out on potential fundraising opportunities because of technology issues?

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