Thursday, January 3, 2008

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

Sometimes I feel a little schizophrenic when I'm sharing information because although I am a passionate evangelist for All Things Web, I'm also getting more practical (don't tell my colleagues) when it comes to using resources wisely and achieving results.

Part of the beauty of the new online tools, like blogs, wikis, charity badges, and social networking sites is that they are easy to access and use. However, just because you CAN use them doesn't mean you SHOULD.

The best rationale for using a new technology is whether or not it will help you to achieve your organization's goals. For example, DON'T blog to blog, blog with the goal of increasing your membership, sharing information with your donors or learning from clients. On the other hand, DO add charity widgets to your fundraising mix if you have a robust individual giving campaign and a concrete, feel-good case for support.

I know, I know, it's not fun to be left out of the mix. But it's also not fun or responsible to waste precious resources on tools that don't add value. Be creative and keep learning but keep your eyes on the prize - achieving your mission and making the world a better place.

Joni Podolsky, author of Wired for Good: Strategic Technology Planning for Nonprofits has this to say about the right use of technology. (We LOVE this book!)
"Technology is a wonderful tool, but it can be a hindrance when the process it
is meant to improve is inherently flawed. Only after processes are examined and
documented should staff have creative discussions about how technology can
increase capacity and improve effectiveness."

Again, don't focus on CAN, focus on SHOULD.


Qui said...

That was biblical. And your words of wisdom certainly apply to corporations/government agencies, too.

Typical requests around here from clients: "Can you give me something about the blogging?" and "We need a YouTube video."

Strategy. Strategy. Strategy.

(Happy 2008 Joc! Hope we can work out a date soon.)

SkipperMJ said...

Wow! You summed up our past six months of strategy planning like you were in the room.

It's refreshing to see we are not along in debunking the technology myth of: "if you build it, they will come". Tech tools for the sake of having them is never the answer, the strategy has to be in knowing your audience and then deploy the best tool that helps you reach them.

My tech blog I write at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has had that very same theme. We have been taking the approach of baby steps - I think it's working but like all good things, it takes time.

Look forward to future posts! Keep up the good work.