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Nonprofits Say Staffing Biggest Challenge for Online Programs

(June 9, 2009) According to a recent survey of 60 nonprofit organizations carried out by Convio, nine out of 10 organizations cited insufficient staff as the top barrier to success with online programs.

Budget constraints (64 percent), and lack of online expertise (29 percent), were also cited. These constraints, Convio argues, force nonprofits to make trade-offs regarding what online projects, events and activities they will take on and which they will have to pass up.

According to the survey results, nearly 70 percent of organizations have three or fewer staff dedicated to online programs and activities, and the complaint of resource constraints was not limited to just smaller organizations. According to the survey results, 71 percent of organizations with 10 or more staff dedicated to online activities, and 92 percent of organizations with revenue of $100 million or more, also cited insufficient staff as the primary barrier to their organization’s success.

Diverse Skills Needed

Having the right people is just as important as having more people on your online team, the report notes. Along with evaluating the size of your online team, it is equally as important to evaluate the skill mix that your team possesses. According to the survey results, online staff spends an average of 28 percent of their time on web administration followed by creative/design (24 percent), campaign management (15 percent), strategy (15 percent), analysis (11 percent) and usability (7 percent).

“The challenge here is that if your organization only has one or two employees dedicated to online, this diverse set of skills may not exist entirely in-house,” the report notes. “As a result, these organizations either do not perform these types of activities, or may have to turn to contractors and consultants outside of their organization to provide these key online skills.”

According to the survey, small organizations (those with less than $1 million annual revenue) relied on contractors outside their organization for 28 percent of the time spent on online programs each week compared to just 5 percent for the largest organizations.

The Secret of Online Success: Why Structure Matters, is available on Convio’s website. Convio is a nonprofit constituent relationship management (CRM) software firm.

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