Revised March 15, 2006
Is Your Staff "Walking the Talk"
Re: Your Organization's Online Activities?
(Does Your Staff Use Your Own Public Online Services?)
Mission-based organizations launch all sorts of online activities for remote staff and volunteers, for clients, and/or for the general public. For instance, they may have online discussion groups, an intranet where staff and volunteers can share profiles about themselves and updates about their work with each other, or an online service that is promoted as central to the organization's mission and identity.
But is your staff showing leadership in using these online tools themselves? Are they "Walking the Talk" regarding your organization's online activities? If staff at your headquarters aren't using your intranet, for instance, why should your field staff? If staff members aren't checking in regularly to your public online services, how can they promote it to potential funders and to others?
For those who use the Net to teach students in remote locations: are the online profiles of your staff, teachers and tutors all up-to-date, for easy access by the students? If your staff and instructors aren't using your online services, why should your students?
Are you a "techno-hypocrite"? Is your organization promoting online tools that your staff doesn't use themselves?
If your organization is to use an online forum successfully, all staff must embrace it. From the person who answers your phone to your executive director, everyone at your organization should have FIRST HAND experience using your organizations online programs and services, and this use should be tracked and evaluated regularly.
"Walk the Talk" regarding your tech use. Don't be a "techno-hypocrite." If your staff shows leadership in using your organization's services, then the remote staff and volunteers, students or the general public you are trying to reach will embrace the services as well.
- If your organization has online forums, ALL staff should be logging in at least monthly and appropriate staff should be regularly responding to posts. There are ways to track online use via computer, but a better way might be asking staff members regularly what has been most interesting to them on the online forums lately; if they can't answer, they aren't looking.
- If your organization has an intranet to work with remote staff and volunteers, all staff should be contributing to this work space. Their pictures and profiles should be updated regularly. The latest and most important information from individual offices should be posted on the intranet. If this is not the case, you need to do a better job emphasizing to staff that this is a REQUIREMENT, not an option. You may even want to tie use of these online forums to individual staff performance evaluations.
- If your organization has an online service, ALL staff should be registered on the service, and checking in with it as a user at least monthly. Again, here are ways to track online use via computer, but you should also ask staff members regularly what has been most interesting to them on the online forums lately, to ensure they are using the service.
- Does Your Organization's Practices Reflect Its Own Mission?
Being successful in today's business and media climate means an organization must reflect in practice the values it promotes publicly. This latest article offers examples of organizations who aren't "walking their talk" regarding their mission, and the consequences such organization's face in not doing so.
- Mission-Based Groups Need Use the Web to Show Accountability
The number and tone of media stories regarding mission-based organizations/civil society and how they spent contributions in the wake of various disasters have done little to help such organizations better serve people in need. Rather, by concentrating on a few bad cases, or by misrepresenting administrative expenses as somehow unnecessary, they have made potential supporters suspicious of all charities, and those these organization's serve pay the ultimate price. There has never been a better time for mission-based organizations to use technology to show their transparency and credibility, and to teach the media and general public about the resources needed to address critical human and environmental needs.
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