Diversity of staff
Managing PLE organizations or departments can be challenging as PLE is an interdisciplinary field which calls on staff to embrace understandings and practices that are often alien to their own training. While lawyers and educators are often seen as key members of a PLE team, their strengths can be enhanced immeasurably by members with librarianship, language, communication, marketing, graphic design, sociology, cultural, and evaluation backgrounds. Considerable patience and mutual respect is needed by all members of the team if they are to capture the best of their respective knowledge. However, when that can occur, the more diverse the mix of staff (or volunteers) the richer the insights that can be brought to bear on the challenges the PLE activities are meant to address
Diversity of needs
There is a range of both uses and users of PLE that further challenge PLE organizations and departments to respond appropriately. Lessons learned from one project may not be directly applicable to another. So expertise in meeting needs does not necessarily develop in a linear fashion.
Diversity of funding
There are a variety of government departments, foundations, and other agencies that fund PLE activities. However, their understandings of PLE and it uses vary considerably. Their interests and abilities to fund activities also vary and can quickly change. Keeping up with those changes can be challenging.
Term specific projects
Much of the funding for PLE is designated for specific projects. While many funders will permit a percentage of those funds to go toward the organization’s administrative expenses, those funds are not usually sufficient to support the infrastructure the organization needs. There are often gaps in what various funders will cover, delays in project start times, limitation in ability to carry forward funding to the next funding period, and other limitations imposed by funders mean that organizations undertake a variety of fund-raising activities to keep their organizations from experiencing deficits.
Developing meaningful strategies and setting priorities
As this suggests, the dynamic nature of the PLE environment makes it difficult to steer a clear direction. Rather than developing formal strategic plans that suggest more certainty than is realistic, organizations tend to be opportunistic in pursuing projects that align more generally with their missions.