Knowing Your Purpose

So, now to the main theme of this thread, where I shall look at the issues third sector organisations face. We need to face up to it, not knowing your purpose is likely to be a problem your organisations faces from time to time.  The reasons for this are complex.

Third sector organisations share some issues with businesses and government bodies whilst some are peculiar to third sector organisations.  Many small organisations find their resources restricted and time limited. Without paid staff organisations are dependent upon volunteers. Paid staff means volunteers need to track down finance or manage staff; it can be tough for unemployed people who manage paid staff.

Some people enjoy it because their small organisation becomes their personal purpose. Organisations can take on a life of their own; they take on a reality in the minds of their members, beyond the mundane reality of their resources . To create a website that works for their organisation, they will need to understand how others perceive their practice, as they strive to express it to the outside world.

Why Websites Need a Purpose

Let’s face it sick organisations produce sick websites. No-one can rescue a poor website if the client organisation is sick. A healthy organisation will not want to put up with a poor website for long. Many designers and developers find their clients frustrating. You can see why if you understand the problem may be with the client and not the machine. Woe betide the designer who has no people skills and does not understand organisations.

Here are five issues that lead to organisations losing their sense of purpose.  They don’t:

  •  see their organisation’s purpose as the site designer’s business. They want a website and object to being asked about their purpose.
  • understand the shift of emphasis from coding to plug-ins
  • know their own purpose and don’t know they don’t know their purpose.
  • understand they share problems with other types of organisation and can learn from experiences elsewhere.
  • have enough capacity.

This is a work in progress for me and I shall expand on each in turn over the coming weeks. If you think I’ve missed something do let me know.

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About the Author

I've been a community development worker since the early 1980s in Tyneside, Teesside and South Yorkshire. I've also worked nationally for the Methodist Church for eight years supporting community projects through the church's grants programme. These days I am developing an online community development practice combining non-directive consultancy, strategic management, participatory methods and development work online and offline. If you're interested contact me for a free consultation.

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Your Website is not an Advert - October 22, 2014 Reply

[…] It is important to know and understand the purpose of your website and to do that you need to understand your organisation’s purpose.  If you assess your organisation’s needs, you may find your website develops in unexpected directions.  In this post, I address the third issue that tends to cause organisations to lose sight of their website’s purpose. […]

Five Reasons Why So Many Sites Lack Purpose - October 29, 2014 Reply

[…] Perhaps I’ve covered this several times but it is worth returning to the question, why do so many organisations struggle with the purpose of their website? […]

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