Does your parish have a school associated with it? How about diocesan schools or high schools? Who administers the web site? Are you able to allow various organizations to update their section of the site? Our schools are making great use of technology for tuition payments and reporting grades, but we appear to be missing opportunities to communicate distinctive competencies, and mission. And in many cases we don't have a means for alumni or other donors to contribute to the school electronically.
Schools have had web sites for quite some time. The challenge is maintaining them. So often a talented parent or student provides the service for the site and then moves away or graduates. New content management systems such as Radius Web Tools make it very easy for non-technical people to maintain content on the web site. In fact there can be several people who are able to update their part of the web site. By providing easy-to-use content management tools, the school can create and maintain a web site regardless of who matriculates. And the school can incorporate a tool for electronic donations on the web site.
We have seen some really good examples of parish and school web sites which reflect the relationship with the parish as appropriate to the organization. Check out St. Agnes in Phoenix, who elected to use one system with a clear distinction of school and parish. Notice that St Agnes school also prominently offers Online Giving as an option to donate to the school.
Another example is St Thomas Aquinas in St. Cloud, FL who has the school identified in the menu structure of the parish web site.
Review your school web site and let us know what you think!
While you are at it don't forget parish youth groups. The content management system is flexible enough to allow them to have a section on the parish web site that they maintain.