It’s about more than changing the website

Matt Perman has a great post Why Kiva Works where he references Seth Godin trying to help a non-profit figure out the web 2.0 world.  An executive at the ‘old-style’ non-profit Godin was helping remarked…

“So, if we embrace this [new] approach, we don’t have to just change our web site — we’re going to have to change everything about our organization. Our mission, our structure, our decision making. . . . ”

I’m part of a group tasked with ‘redoing’ one of our major websites.  Frankly, this task scares me.   Not because I don’t know how to make a website, but because I realize it’s about so much more than the website.

As Godin explains it’s not about merely using new tools, it’s about becoming a new kind of organization.  Why is something like Kiva (a new kind of organization) successful?

It’s because they have a different sort of organization. They created a web-based nonprofit that could never even exist without the New Marketing. One group uses the web to advance its old agenda, while the other group is of and by and for the web.

Questions and issues I am wrestling through.

  • How can we structure our ministry so that we are dependent on a digital ecosystem… where the digital platform helps give lift to everything we do… where we couldn’t exist without it?
  • Do we want to actually do this?  (It could be a bad idea).
  • What are the major organizational cultural shifts that will need to take place to make this happen?

Let me know your insights in the comments.

[Photo courtesy of]


2 thoughts on “It’s about more than changing the website

  1. Great questions – hard to figure out the answer. I think what makes successful is that it knows what target audience they want to connect with via the digital realm. Because a big part of what kiva does is connect with people face to face (the field partners and the entrepreneurs).

    So I would say no to your second question – we don’t want to be dependent on a digital ecosystem. However, the digital ecosystem will help advance our purpose significantly and if not exploited, our opportunity cost will be very very high.


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