It’s the Seating Chart, Stupid | npENGAGE

It’s the Seating Chart, Stupid

By on Nov 18, 2010


Where should the Internet team be on the organization chart? Who should own the Internet at our nonprofit? These are two of the most common questions that I’ve been asked over the years.

If you want to quickly improve how your nonprofit leverages the Internet, then org charts and owners aren’t the way to go. Focus on the seating chart.

People who sit together work better together. Don’t believe me? Try it for a week.

Have the email people and the direct mail people sit together. Have the website people sit with the gift processing people. Have the social media people sit with the programs people. Mix it up and repeat.

The first step in breaking down the mental silos is to remove the physical silos. You will be amazed at what happens.


Steve MacLaughlin is the Vice President of Data & Analytics at Blackbaud and bestselling author of Data Driven Nonprofits.

MacLaughlin has been featured as a fundraising and nonprofit expert in many mainstream publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, USA Today, The NonProfit Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Bloomberg, and has appeared on NPR.

He is a frequent speaker at events including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), American Marketing Association (AMA), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Direct Marketing Fundraisers Association (DMFA), Giving Institute Summer Symposium, National Association of Independent School (NAIS), Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC), Institute of Fundraising National Convention (United Kingdom), Civil Society Conference (Netherlands), International Fundraising Congress (Netherlands), Ask Direct Fundraising Summer School (Ireland), and a keynote speaker at several conferences across the social good sector.

Steve previously served on the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) Board of Directors and is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.

He is a frequent blogger, published author of a chapter in the book People to People Fundraising: Social Networking and Web 2.0 for Charities, and is a co-editor of the book Internet Management for Nonprofits: Strategies, Tools & Trade Secrets. His latest book, Data Driven Nonprofits, became a bestseller in 2016.

Steve earned both his undergraduate degree and a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Indiana University.

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