From the lovely ASAE Technology listserv today:

Has anyone on this list ever successfully lobbied for the creation of a new department that focused solely on your company's Web initiatives? This new department could (depending on your site's ultimate goals) contain a director, programmer/developer, graphic designer, and content manager/writer.

I'm sure there's an organization out there that has done this. Has it worked? I have no idea. My first instinct is to say, "Not necessary. Just hire good writers. Content is king after all."

However, if I examine our organization (yes, I'm talking about Gulo), that's basically our setup. And it works pretty frickin' well. Work comes in through the directors. The graphic designer designs and builds HTML prototypes. The developer takes the prototype and builds out the application. It's not a perfectly-tuned machine and we don't have content writers (Zach and I share this task), but the work gets done.

But here's the thing – our small "web department" works for several associations and nonprofits. If we were working for just one I imagine things would get kind of slow. There's just not enough development work in most associations to rationalize hiring full-timer. Keep in mind that a good developer runs $65K+ these days. Even a graphic designer will probably get bored unless he or she is working on publications or newsletters as well.
Hire writers into your communications or marketing group. Hire a web project manager to interface with writers and create work for outside vendors. You'll save money (in health insurance costs alone) and end up with better results… or at least, someone outside the organization to blame if things don't turn out.

Written by

Fred Simmons

As a Managing Partner and the Director of User Experience at Gulo, Fred enjoys making website interactions more natural and improving UX design. Outside of work, Fred enjoys golf, BBQ, craft beer, movies where the bad guy wins, comma-separated lists, and talking about himself in the third person.