Posted by Lisa Thompson

It’s 2015. The answer should be “yes.”

It’s a non-negotiable: Every nonprofit organization should have a web presence with both a public side and a private side. Unfortunately, many still have not adopted adequate technology to give them access and control over the private side, which can hurt the public side.

Think about it like this:

The public side of your site is where your online visitors go ( to engage with your organization online. The private side is an administration or private area where you or key members of your team log in to update and modify content for the public side.

There are still too many nonprofits who rely on just one person to make updates and content changes on their website, either because they’re operating with inadequate technology or they don’t feel comfortable with their content management system (CMS). For sure, you shouldn’t need a computer geek, an intern, a web developer or any other techie to modify and update your website for you—you should be able to update information on your own with point-and-click simplicity. Drag and drop and you’re done. That simple.

Here are three reasons to make sure the next iteration of your website is built on top of a CMS that allows you to easily manage the private side (or backend) of your website.

  1. Vitality is crucial. We define vitality to mean “the perception that the content on your website is continually changing and evolving.” Whether that’s through regularly posting to your blog, changing images or adding new articles, it’s important to update your site’s content often. You don’t want return visitors to get the impression that nobody’s home. With a good CMS, updating content is a breeze.
  2. You know your nonprofit better than any techie. You don’t want to give the keys to your website’s private side to a guy who knows computers but doesn’t understand your mission. When you’re in control of managing your site’s content, you’ll feel empowered to make changes, updates and add content as needed, depending on what’s happening in your organization at the moment. Relying on a computer guy to update your website can cause delays and is, frankly, so last year. Or even so five years ago. Nowadays a good CMS will give you the power and freedom to change content as you see fit without a tech geek holding your hand.
  3. You’re invested. Simply put, you have an emotional connection to your cause and therefore to your website since it is, after all, the main window to the heart and soul of your organization. The same could not be said for a freelance web developer or your board member’s nephew who builds and updates websites in his free time. You need a CMS that puts you and your team at the helm of website changes because you all are most invested. Freelance computer geeks can come and go; you need someone to manage your site who has stick-to-itiveness and motivation that goes beyond a paycheck.

If you want the public aspect of your website to be engaging, fresh and relevant for your online visitors, you need to focus first on the private side. Be sure you have a system that gives you the ability and access you need to make your website your most powerful marketing tool.