When I meet with pastors and ministry leaders about getting a new website, the majority of the time they see their website as a tool for the public, an information center for visitors, and so forth. They usually haven’t given much thought to their website being for them, and are amazed when I begin to discuss the many ways a website can actually help their organization and team.
Instead of just thinking about the ways your website can help the people outside of your organization, begin to think about how it can help the people within.
Think about this with me for a minute.
Imagine your website as a full time staff member that works 24/7 around the clock. No overtime pay. No health benefits. No 401k. In fact, this “staff member” will work as hard as it needs to for the same flat fee each month. No need for lunch breaks. No attitude or complaining (except for the server hiccups every once in a while).
You may be wondering how this is even possible. The answer will vary based on your organization’s needs. To get your gears turning, consider the ideas below that we have used with some of our clients.
In my opinion, this is one of the biggest areas a website can help you in. Instead of passing out printed registration forms for VBS this year, why not have an online form applicants can fill out instead. If your website’s CMS (content management system) doesn’t have custom forms, online services like Wufoo (my favorite), JotForm, and Formstack allow you to easily and affordably create custom online forms. Let’s say you want to do camp registration online this year and need to collect camper fees at the same time. Not a problem! The above services (along with others) offer payment integration as well. Some other ideas: volunteer forms, donation forms, feedback forms, prayer request forms, photo submission forms
Do you find yourself constantly printing off the same documents for people? Why not create a resources page on your website where you can upload and make available those documents. Some other ideas: Archive newsletters, upload event marketing materials, etc.
Some churches print and even mail out monthly calendars to their members. I understand some people may not be on the internet, but I would assume for the most part, your members are online. Since you know this, why not cut costs by always having an up-to-date calendar available on your website.
Maybe you just need a calendar for your team. Many content management systems (CMS) will allow you to create password protected pages where you could have a staff-only calendar.
Instead of having church member directories printed, why not create a password protected online member directory? What about a staff directory?
These are just a few ideas to hopefully generate even more ideas. I want to encourage you and your team to begin to think outside of the box about your website. The easiest way to discover more ideas is to ask yourself “What tasks are my staff and I doing on a regular basis that our website could be doing for us?”
Have more ideas? Please share.