Your church website can learn a few lessons from corporate intranets. After all, both types of sites focus on making their members more effective participants in an organization. Here are best practices adapted from The Wall St. Journal’s “How To be A Star In A Youtube World” collection of articles.
In Dated and Confused: Corporate intranets should be invaluable employee tools. Too bad they often aren’t, Forrester Research is cited regarding the top factors driving companies that have implemented, or are considering, employee portals. Below are the percentage choosing each option followed by how this relates to church websites.
- Let employees find information: 94%
Easy to see how you can substitute parishioners in this example.
- Enable collaboration/information sharing: 50%
Think ministry meeting notes, upcoming events, feedback about events, polls.
- Automate business processes: 44%
Online registration for church membership, ticket sales, religious education enrollment
- Reduce costs: 40%
Mailing and printing to some extent. Note: while companies can mandate that employees use an intranet, churches are limited to encouraging such use.
- Provide secure, remote access via Web: 25%
Potentially, but probably a stretch for most churches.
- Provide online training: 17%
Orientation for new members; overview of forms, schedules/calendars; religious ed curriculums; and manuals.
- Control access to content/applications: 10%
Less common with church sites, but you could have protected access to finances or sensitive data assuming you had the resources to implement this properly and safely.
- Better govern existing intranet: 8%
Sure, there’s always room to improve.
- Allow access to crucial business systems: 6%
- Other: 9%
Hmm, add yours in the comments below.
- Don’t know: 2%
Wow, 2% admitted to not knowing why a portal was implemented. Maybe that can be reassuring for your parish if you don’t have all the answers.
Another article in the series, The Winning Formula:An Intranet Guru Talks About What The Best Ones Have In Common, featured comments by Kara Coyne, director of research at Nielsen Norman Group. She was asked about “coolest new features that have lately popped up on intranets.” Her answers:
- Classified ads (easy to add to a church site)
- Killer app is usually phone book or cafeteria menu
For churches, the phone book equivalent is contact information for staff and volunteers. What about the cafeteria menu? The corresponding item is your Mass schedule including who’s officiating.
So, what similarities do you see?