eMinistry – You Get What You Pay For

How do you maintain your web presence? Chances are, it’s with a volunteer. Webdesigners are usually barraged with requests for help by friends who have boutique small business. They are frequently also asked by their houses of worship to volunteer their services as well. But, there’s a case to be made for investing some of your budget in your presence. This post should help you make that case, by examining questions of fairness, nurturing, season, and safety.

What is Fair?

  • Does the church have a budget for its physical presence, paying real money to plumbers and grounds keeper, or does it have only volunteers in those roles? If there is a budget for the physical presence, there is a case for a budget for the cyber presence as well. If it seems obvious that it’s fair to pay your plumber and electrician, who invested time and money into their training and who have families to support. Computer professionals are no different from other skilled professionals who have also worked hard and invested in their skills, and who also have lives and responsibilities to juggle.  There is a saying, “if it’s worth nothing to you, it’s worth nothing to me.”  Consider what you are saying about the value of your webdesigner’s work when you tell them you want something for nothing. Would you say the same thing, to a medical doctor who worships at your church? The question of fairness is very relevant here.

What Volunteer Experience Nurtures Members Best?

  • Of course, every church member should be encouraged  to contribute to the community that supports their spiritual growth, but that contribution should be something that also nurtures the members. Sometimes, this means looking at the member in a new way.  Perhaps the  webdesigner would appreciate serving on a membership committee, rather than posting one more website.  It’s a minister’s job is to pastor one’s own flock first (the very people who volunteer), so the spiritual value of the volunteer experience should be an important consideration.

What’s Appropriate in This Season?

  • To everything there is a season. A season where throwing a “pizza party” so your friends can help you move a few belongings from one apartment to another is adorable, in one season of life, less so as one ages. There comes a season to graduate to the “real” world of work and working relationships: real movers, doctors, attorneys, grounds keepers, and web professionals.  The question here is twofold: what season are you in as an organization, and do your relationships with those who support your existence appropriately reflect this season?

Finally, What’s the Cost of Fallout?

  • There comes a time where the demands of your site exceed what can and should be expected of a volunteer, and fallout is likely. As webdesigners ourselves, we’ve too often seen sub-par attention paid to websites from volunteers. They meant well, but we’ve seen church sites that are several versions back on core releases with security updates, leaving them open to attack. The latest site that one of our team  assisted with, out of kindness, had 11 plug-ins that were woefully out-of-date and was behind by many security updates of the CMS itself. The volunteer meant well, but that’s where it stood, and that’s not an  uncommon thing.  Has your leadership considered the cost of fallout from losses – hacking or otherwise – due to a poorly maintained presence?

We hope that our eMinistry posts and eBook will provide you with the guidance you need for better success, and that this post in particular will equip you with good, logical arguments you can take to your budget committee, for funding for this critical area.  We wish you blessings on your eMinistry.

Categories Featured Articles, Workweek | Tags: | Posted on March 12, 2014

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