In the scramble for attention in digital spaces, nonprofit organizations find themselves facing the daunting task of churning out content that engages audiences at super-
human speed — what in the marketing world would be called “owned media.” The tricky part is making content that the audience actually wants to consume and not just broadcasting the institution’s self-selected priorities. For most organizations, doing so requires a radical shift to staffing and process structures.
Roles within digital communications at nonprofits have matured a lot over the last 10 years. First, the role of institutional “web masters” split into website manager (in charge of content maintenance) and developer (often a consultant) when modern Content Management Systems (CMS) pushed the knowledge base beyond building static HTML pages. Five years ago, digital communications and marketing, often described as social media, were relegated to interns or junior staff for no other reason than the existing team didn’t really know much about Facebook or Twitter.
In 2014, putting the identity and reputation of your brand in the hands of an intern is tantamount to gross negligence. Thankfully, most institutions recognize this fact now. Gone are the days where “5 years experience” or even “10 years experience” in a job description for a digital team member seems absurd. So what does an organization’s digital team need to look like today, and how does one find the right type of people to staff the team?