I want to pass along an article Building a Mission-Delivery Engine: Moving Your Website beyond the Web by one of my favorite NPQ authors, Carlo Cuesta.

In it he talks about the limitations of many websites that describe themselves to an audience and contrasts that to the deep potential of some websites act with a community to cause an organizational mission to blossom.

Cuesta suggests that a well-conceived website is a common area for “building a frame of reference that allows for the creation of experiences expressing the particular promise an organization makes to its stakeholders. This frame of reference comes from a melding of multiple points of view of users and supporters, draws its purpose from the organization’s strengths, and results in the formation of something new. It forges a bridge between the stakeholders’ wants and needs and the organization’s perspective of what is truly valuable, elevating the experience and expanding the impact stakeholder and the organization can create together.”

We can attest to that. For all the time NPQ spends publishing online there is one thing we know for sure, the value of our mission is only lived out in the relationship between us – within our purpose driven community which includes NPQ. Our community makes the meaning in our work, provides the energy and direction and challenges that keep us on course.  When they are pleased they amplify us…when they are well pleased they make sure our fuel is replenished in the form of statements of support, cash and content for their peers.

The amount of time this sector spends talking about the tools of web sites and social media is truly phenomenal. And no doubt there are ways in which they have ushered in a new era of different possibilities for social action butthe real point and power is in our willingness to engage with one another in common endeavors. The moment that the relationship becomes nonreciprocal – when the user gets the sense that they are not an actor with power is the moment when our possibilities and power are immediately weakened.