NetChange | Part 4: Leadership

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Part 4: Leadership

Teams now lead digital decisions

Question: How involved is your team in the decision making process around the creation (or deletion) of digital properties? 

A strong majority – 56% – report they “lead” the decision process, while 37% report they “influence” it. Only 7% report they “are involved but follow others’ lead” or “are informed” of key decisions by others.

We lead


We influence


We're involved


We're informed



In order to have a true Internet strategy a digital team must be empowered to lead, make difficult decisions and sometimes say no in order to maintain priority and focus.

This shows how far the sector has come from the days where most web teams were positioned as end of line tactical publishing shops with no ability to shape their workflow. It is tremendous news.

And are expected to drive transformation

Question: Is your team expected to drive transformation with respect to how your institution approaches advocacy, fundraising, organizing, or communications? 

While at 50% “sometimes” was the top response, fully 42% report they are “always” expected to drive transformation. This shows significant improvement from 2011 when only 28% of teams reported a “strategically led” culture.









This finding points to the increased openness senior management is showing towards the opportunities for digital to transform outdated and inefficient internal NGO practices. It also shows the increasing influence digital leaders are having within organizations.

Of all the responses, this one most clearly highlights the role digital is playing in the evolution and improvement of our sector as a whole.

We’re running more effective programs

Question: When comparing yourself to peers and industry best practices, how effective do you believe your digital program is? 

42% of respondents consider their program “mostly effective”, an increase of 9% from 2011 results. A further 8% believe they are “highly effective”, a doubling from 2011. 42% consider their programs only “somewhat effective”, a drop of 8%. Only 7% consider their programs ineffective, a drop of 3%.

Mostly effective


Somewhat effective


Highly effective





This is more positive news and a reliable progress indicator for how digital leadership is evolving. The digital culture of measuring and reporting impact has positive implications not only for our programs but for institutions as a whole in all that they do.

We’ve got a clear business case for senior leaders

Question: Does your senior management team perceive you to have a clear business case and measurements for your digital program? 

37% of respondents report their digital work is “perceived to be delivering tangible value” by their organization’s senior leadership. A full 56% are in the mushy middle, where “things look good but few specifics are known to others”. Only 7% report that “no one really knows what we do or why”.


Things look good but few specifics are known to others


We are perceived to be delivering tangible value


No one really knows what we do or why


While good, this number must grow.

Resources in non-profits have always been and will continue to be tight. As the pace of technical change slows it will become more and more crucial for digital leaders to put more attention on gathering understandable, actionable metrics, distributing ownership of them to multiple departments, and clear and consistent management reporting.


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