Do we actually need a website these days?
That is the question I asked our communications team one year ago. As head of communications at the foundation, I have spoken publicly and often on the important role social media channels in particular play in driving conversation on our toughest issues. I’ve spoken on the need for “social media for social good” partnerships, especially in markets such as China and Brazil where we’re seeing the incredible impact possible when big thinkers come together online to find solutions to global development challenges. Ultimately a “traditional” website launch in 2013 can feel almost retro in comparison.
But for certain audiences, websites are the online resource for essential information on the foundation, and when we evaluated our digital channels it became clear that we needed to invest in a new version of gatesfoundation.org.
In particular, we needed to find new ways to share accurate, up-to-date information about the foundation’s priorities and strategies with our grantees and partners. Our new website is designed to strengthen engagement and reinforce relationships between the foundation and those we fund. By more clearly articulating our strategies and processes, we hope to have even greater impact together. By publishing these strategies in multiple languages, we can commit more fully to our global grantee base.
We know, as well, that we need to hire the best people to achieve our formidable goals. Last year, one in eight of our new hires came through gatesfoundation.org. Accordingly, we hope the new website will help us recruit the best talent globally, providing glimpses into the professional backgrounds of our employees, and what it’s like to work at the foundation.
With the launch of the new gatesfoundation.org, we also aim to provide a springboard to the social media channels where so much of the public conversation on our issues takes place. On our blog, Impatient Optimists, we continue to host conversations and look to include as many voices as possible. But for those who partner with us most closely and most often we hope the new version of our website will be able to provide more clarity into our work and priorities.
To that end, we want to hear from you. Please share your thoughts on the new website—is it providing the information you need? We look forward to your feedback.