At most state associations, everyone wears a multitude of job hats. One of the common drives at associations is the “do more with the same” mantra, which is another way of saying that hat racks will have to get bigger, because everyone is going to be wearing more.
One common effort by associations, especially when an association moves their site initially to a design that implements a CMS (content management system) and has a variety of login permission options, is to plan to use volunteers for content expansion of the web site. This can happen in a variety of ways:
- Specific member-posting sections, such as bulletin boards or forums.
- Specific member-level posting sections, such as a blog from the Board President
- Advertiser-based posts, such as for Positions Available
One of the things to remember is that you are creating a new hat when you do this – the online volunteer content management hat. It has to be worn in order for it to happen. This means the creation of rules: who can and should post, time frames, editorial approval requirements, placement and priority on the web site, etc. It means the management of content delivery of people who are not employed by your organization.
It also may mean training on how to update content on the site. Even the most common CMS sites are usually customized in some ways that will require some training. And chances are, your content source also isn’t fluent in your CMS. So training will likely be part of your job as well, and when software changes occur to your website, that may also create more training.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t cultivate your volunteer sources for content. What we are saying is: PLAN IT. The idea seems simple but can cause a lot of work if not determined proactively. Keep this hat small, and plan ahead before diving into the volunteer content pool. Lay out a schedule for debuting volunteer content, and take care of the issues involved in regularly providing it before the debut. You’ll be glad you did.