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  The Advancement Intranet Web Sightings
Overview | Content Management Software | The Process | Marketing and Management | Sample Table of Contents

The Advancement IntranetAdvancement is a complex activity based on a myriad of interactions with external and internal constituents.

Advancement encompasses and crosses many organizational boundaries and this results in the need for numerous and comprehensive policies and procedures. i.e. Prospect clearance, tracking, data entry and information requests, research policies, and many more.

These need to be shared and deployed, and what better way to do this than through an advancement Intranet?

What does the Intranet provide?

  • One source and one version of the truth.
  • Interesting, reliable and up-to-date information.
  • Diminished redundancy.
  • Ease of accessing information through a web browser.
  • Security of information.
  • Standard presentation of all advancement information.
  • Flexible and yet consistent with other web standards within the organization.
  • Improvements in workflows and other processes.
  • Levels knowledge across the organization.

Initial Considerations

  • What portions of the information need to be available to the general public such as your gift transmittal form, and what portions need to be restricted to advancement staff only?

    This is one of the most important initial questions.

    You don’t want to end up with separate sites as it will greatly increase maintenance and technical complexity. Better to have a “staff only” section where a login is required.
     
  • Will volunteers need to access parts of the site and how will this be managed? i.e. Alumni branch reports, ability of volunteers to find information on their prospects, etc.

    Volunteers are often geographically disbursed and the Intranet can provide a great resource to help manage them.
     
  • Who will create and edit the content? How will updates of the content be managed? How will tasks be assigned and monitored? Who will manage the project?
     
  • What will be the content standards such as fonts, images and page layout? Will the Intranet have the same look and feel as the rest of the organization? Will it match your style guide?
     
  • What tools will be used for adding and editing content?
     
  • What will be the timeline for implementation?
     
  • What advanced functionality such as database driven pages will be required? Be imaginative. i.e. Information you now produce manually can be done dynamically such as a staff list. Determine how data on the Intranet can be deployed to multiple advancement locations such as the staff list on your giving site.
     
  • What reports and statistics need to be available, and how will these be integrated into your overall performance management reporting?
     
  • You’ll have to decide if items on the site will need to be interfaced with PDAs or other mobile devices.
     
  • Who will be responsible for the ongoing technical maintenance of the site?
     
  • Who will be responsible for managing security and passwords? More problematic in a larger decentralized organization. Think about secure socket layers and site certificates since a lot of the information may be sensitive.
     
  • Run in-house or outsource the project? Each has its benefits. Will you need consulting help to implement?
     
  • How will the site be marketed to ensure staff use the Intranet and are informed of changes and new features?
     
  • How should the site be organized? Around constituencies or around program areas?
     
  • How will the Intranet help with periodic reviews by internal or external audit? Will all of your detailed processes also be included on the site? Makes them easier to access and review.
     
  • Think about content layers. If you have multiple internal web sites, it’s an ideal time to combine them.
     
  • Evaluate how your Intranet will work and co-exist with your network file sharing. Some web collaboration software can function in the same fashion  but can also do versioning and make documents available to both/either internal and external users. This technology can be employed within your Intranet.
     
  • As you design your Intranet, a major goal should be to simplify a user’s experience. Try not to add another complication to your staff’s day-to-day work. Think strategically of ways to use the Intranet to make your organization more efficient and to reduce work.
     
  • How will your Intranet work with your current development system? Can you have all of your system help located within your Intranet so you only have to maintain it in one place?
     
  • What content will be deployed? Policies and procedures, forms? Any thoughts about deploying some of your reports? Interactive prompted and real-time reports? Business process work flow and approval systems?
     
  • Will the site be capable of including news feeds from some of your other sites so you can have additional interesting and changing content? Will you in turn be able to send feeds to other sites? i.e. Your gift and pledge acceptance policies to the central finance site.
     
  • Expectations need to be managed. Different user groups will have different needs and aspirations. Areas such as advancement services may need assurance that the technical capabilities of the site will be adequate.
 
More resources ...

Supportingadvancement.com Top 10 rules to make your content management system rollout a success.
 
  Content Management Software Vendors

CMS Matrix
Community service to everyone interested in looking for a means to manage web site content.

Plone.org
Content management system that is built on the powerful and free Zope Application server.

OpenCms.org
Professional level open source website content management system.
 
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