Client Resources

Building a Successful Online Team

A crucial component of realizing your online capabilities is ensuring that you have the right personnel to help you achieve your goals. Our experience has shown that by filling a few key positions, organizations are able to not only implement the strategies we develop together, but maintain and grow their existing websites and online organizing, outreach and fundraising campaigns.

At EchoDitto, our goal is to empower organizations to communicate with their members, constituents and customers in the most effective way possible, using the most efficient, innovative and appropriate technology available. As we like to say, we'd much rather teach you to fish than give you a can of dolphin-safe tuna.

Below is a list of what we believe to be the most crucial positions required for maintaining and growing your organization’s online presence. 

As you can see, the majority of these positions are more strategic than technical, although the content manager position does require some basic web development skills. Depending on the size of your organization, and your online goals and objectives, it may make sense to hire an internal web developer/programmer/system administrator who can manage the more technical aspects of your operation.

Of course, we know that few organizations have the resources (or space!) to hire 5 new people at once. Depending upon the size of your organization, it will make sense to fill these roles in a variety of ways: one skilled staffer may be able to cover 3 or 4 of these roles for a smaller organization and outsource the rest to consultants; the online team for larger organizations may require a team double in size.

  • Internet Director (Role: Strategy and Planning)
    Your organization’s internet director will oversee the successful strategic and technical planning and execution of online campaigns and initiatives, including online communications plans (email/blog/web content), and organizing efforts. In addition to coordinating among program areas and staff, this person would also be responsible for overseeing your organization’s relationship with other online community influencers (e.g. bloggers, social networking websites, online video outlets)—a role which could eventually evolve into its own full-time online organizer position (see below). Read a complete job description >>

  • Web Content Manager (Role: Content and Administration)
    Also referred to as a webmaster/web producer, this person is responsible for managing your organization’s online community presence on a day-to-day basis, such as implementing content or functionality associated with a campaign or initiative. The webmaster should be technically proficient for day-to-day site administration or design as well as have experience getting results through vendors or contractors. The webmaster works closely with the internet director to maintain and implement the online campaign/content plan. We believe that filling this position is not only cost-effective but, in fact, critical to the success of most online strategies. Read a complete job description >>
Secondary Hires -- for Building Capacity
  • Online Organizer (Role: Outreach and Campaign management)
    Initially, your internet director and webmaster should be able to handle outreach to the greater online community, as well as manage the user-generated content associated with the various interactive or participatory features of your website. However, as your online presence grows, we recommend appointing a dedicated online community organizerwhose primary responsibility will be to devise, create, and manage online communications with your community members (e-mail, blogs, discussion groups, feedback, etc.) and organizing or campaign efforts. Ideally, this person will also manage your organization’s relationship with other online community influencers, and will reach out to external blogs and online networks to promote your campaigns. Read complete job description >>

  • Creative Director (Role: Design and Branding)
    Your creative director is charged with determining the best ways to visually represent your organization’s identity online. This is a people-oriented job responsible for developing high-level design concepts for projects under frequently tight deadlines. While most Creative Directors do their own design work, they are also responsible for recruiting and managing third party design firms as well as internal design resources. This role is appropriate for larger organizations. In smaller organizations, this role is usually filled by a design-savvy member of the internet team (webmaster / organizer / developer) or outsourced to an external design firm. Read complete job description >>

  • Web Developer/Engineer (Role: Technical Development)
    While some organizations choose to hire a tech-savvy webmaster to handle minor technical updates and outsource the heavy technical lifting, other organizations find that it makes good financial sense to invest in a full-time developer. If your organization chooses the latter, look for someone with programming, database administration, and some basic graphic design skills. Your ideal candidate should serve as a strong strategic thinker and be familiar with emerging web technologies. Finally, ensure that your candidates have experience with the same technology powering your online infrastructure (e.g. don't hire a PHP developer if you have a website running on cold fusion). Note: Consider delaying this hire if your organization is licensing software that includes monthly support from a product team that can implement custom campaigns (e.g. Convio, Blue State Digital, Democracy in Action). Read complete job description >>

  • Database Administrator (Role: Data Coordination)
    While not strictly a member of the internet team, a Database Administrator, or DBA, is a crucial part of your overall constituent management strategy. As your systems for storing donor, volunteer, activist, and member data grow larger, a Database Administrator will work to keep them all coordinated, particularly if these systems span departments (Development to Communications to Field) or platforms (Raiser’s Edge to Convio to Salesforce and custom applications).

  • Content Director (Role: Content Creation)
    The Content Director is responsible for the development and management of content, in all formats, for use in all online communications. Content may include: blog posts, email alerts, short videos, text messages, solicitations, etc. Read complete job description >>

I see you like to read printed material. You should check out Nicco's book The End of Big: