So you’re the new person in charge of your nonprofit’s website management. First of all, welcome. Also, here are three dozen items for you to tackle and updates that need to be made, and they’re all urgent. Good luck!
Overseeing your organization’s website is a big undertaking, and in your first few days, weeks and months, there will be a lot to learn. If you’re lucky, you had some time with the outgoing website manager to discuss the transition and prepare for your new role. But if you’re like most, you’re diving into things headfirst and figuring it out as you go.
One of the biggest variables you’ll need to figure out is how to manage the website itself. It might use a different content management system (or CMS), or maybe it requires some coding knowledge you’ll have to brush-up on. Perhaps you’ve inherited an absolute Frankenstein of a site and rather than waste time trying to make it work, you’ve decided to build a case for an entirely new and better website.
Regardless of what you find as you’re getting up to speed or whether you were able to work with the outgoing manager before their last day, there are ways you can successfully take things over as a new website manager.
Website Management Tips for New Hires & Staff Changes
Over the years, we’ve worked alongside all kinds of nonprofits—organizations with different missions, teams of different sizes, folks with different levels of comfort and experience with technology and marketing. And we’ve helped our clients navigate plenty of staff changes along the way.
To help as you navigate your website manager transition, here’s an overview of where to start and reminders as you go.
1. Get to know your website
When it comes to managing your website, it helps to dive right in. Even if you’re not ready to make any changes, you can still log in and start getting a lay of the land. Who knows? You might even be surprised by how easy it is to navigate!
Hopefully the previous website manager set you up as a user so you can log in and look around. If not, your next best bet is likely to reach out to the company you partnered with to build your website. They may be able to add you themselves or point you in the direction of someone who can.
As you’re getting to know the site itself, you’ll also want to get familiar with where to turn for website help. Does your website partner offer support? What’s the process for taking advantage of it? Are there other benefits or features within your plan that could help as you’re getting up to speed? These are questions you’ll want to figure out sooner rather than later.
Your website partner may be able to answer these and other questions with published resources. For example, you may have access to a knowledge base or support library with how-to articles or a newsletter you can sign up for to receive tips, tricks and updates about new features. This can help you get more comfortable with your website now and ensure you have what you need to manage it in the future, so start early!
2. Tackle technical and logistical items
Sometimes it’s best to rip the Band-Aid off, and this is one of those times. Getting a basic understanding early on of the tools you use and how to access them will help you avoid having to figure that out later down the road if and when something goes wrong.
If it’s not possible to coordinate with your outgoing manager on technical questions, then you might have luck reaching out to your website partner. If they helped your team set up integrations and launch your site, chances are they may have a record of the tools you used at the time and can point you in the right direction.
As these accounts come into focus, you can start to outline what tools your team uses, for what purpose and how they can be accessed. This overview will come in handy the next time you need a refresher on your full marketing technology setup, and it’ll help future members of your nonprofit marketing team, too.
Outside of specific account access, it helps to take this time to review some administrative details. Don’t forget to:
- Review billing details. Once you’ve gotten account access, double-check each tool’s billing and payment settings. If the card on file for any account is tied to the previous manager, be sure to update it now before it becomes a problem later on.
- Adjust form notifications. Does someone on your team get an email from the website when a donation is made? What about when an application form is submitted? Your previous website manager might be included in that list of recipients, so don’t forget to update notification settings to alert the right staff members moving forward.
- Remove unneeded users. If your previous manager is still a user on your site, now’s the time to consider restricting or removing their access. The same goes for your third-party tools, like a payment processor or website pop-up manager. For security, it’s best to remove folks from your accounts if they no longer need access to those tools.
3. Organize ongoing maintenance
Once you’re comfortable with your website and your accounts are in order, it’s time to begin managing updates and ongoing maintenance to the site!
You may have a backlog of requests by now and a website to-do list a mile long, so you’ll want to prioritize your requests and immediate updates. But as you consider long-term maintenance, an easy place to start is your previous manager’s process.
How often do you typically publish to your blog? When was the last time your site was checked for broken links? Consider using that as your jumping-off point and adjusting your cadence as needed while you’re getting settled.
Other steps to fold into your maintenance might include regular content refreshes, publishing to your blog and moderating comments. And as you become more comfortable in your role, you can build on that maintenance and consider ways to grow traffic to your site, measure results and overall improve your marketing efforts!
Download a Website Maintenance Checklist
Keeping up with nonprofit website maintenance is easier when you get into a routine. See the schedule we recommend and snag our downloadable checklists to stay on track.
When your marketing succeeds, your nonprofit can flourish. And whether you’re working on a full team or as a lone wolf, others are rooting for your success in your role. So when in doubt with website management, ask for help! Reach out for support when you need it, check out blogs and forums for advice, and don’t forget to plan ahead and document everything so future website managers can learn from you, too.
If you’re a newer website manager, what’s something you wish you’d known sooner? What have you learned about how to manage a website since you started? Let us know in the comments!