While the daily newspaper may be a dying breed, I still find reasons to read the Wall Street Journal on my daily commute. A few interesting items from yesterday’s edition:
- Tech Giants Ramp Up Their Online Offerings – Many large technology companies have resisted the move to online applications since they are often less profitable than traditional software. It also requires firms to incur expenses (e.g. servers) that previously were paid by customers. Unlike installed software, revenue from online products is spread over longer time periods, but may not last if customers don’t continue to use the product. Except for financial software (Quicken) and sometimes MS Office, I use almost all online software now, yet online software still represents a small piece of the market. But similar to the case of online donations vs. offline contributions, the market share is increasing rapidly – online software sales are rising more than 40% annually compared with 3.4% for all software. Ultimately, companies will have to adapt since this is what many consumers want.
- Playing Well with Others - While this article focuses on the relationship between marketing and R&D, its principles also relate to the benefits of collaboration which I’ve discussed previously, especially important when implementing online campaigns. For example, does your nonprofit “make sure that everybody recognizes the value that each department brings to the process – and how one side complements the other”? In many organizations, each department has its own goals and staff are evaluated by how well those objectives are achieved. But the most important goals usually require many areas to collaborate, something which is still not a part of many organization environments. It’s important to “get out of your silos” and “focus on the customer.” In nonprofits, this can easily be translated to viewing your organization as the constituent does – as one.
Finally, are you making the most of your online communications channels? Nten offers some useful examples of organizations that are doing it right in Online Communications That Don’t Suck. If you decide to embark on a web site redesign, Tech Soup offers Tips for Designing (or Redesigning) a Nonprofit Web Site. My tip – even though it can be challenging to get everyone to work together (see above), make sure you include all stakeholders throughout the process. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a site that no one is really happy with. (And don’t forget to ask real constituents to provide input and feedback, don’t just ask others in your office.)