This article explores specific tools and programs that can help your internal communications, making your charity more productive overall.
We’ve previously published an entire article on why collaboration can be useful for your charity, so you can check that out here if you fancy.
We’ve broken the types of programs down into three categories:
– Informal chat tools
– Online meeting tools
– Data management tools
Informal chat tools:
As popular and widely used as email is, when it comes to internal communications certain capabilities that make small tasks much more awkward. This is where alternative tools come in, offering real-time messaging across numerous profiles. Below are some of the most popular options in the industry:
This is a relatively new addition with an extremely user-friendly design. It’s used by numerous large charitable organisations including SCVO. Slack allows you to create channels for various topics of conversation. Each channel can have as many or few team members as you choose so that you only need to involve the relevant people. This feature makes it great for group projects, where all members have access to the conversation stream and can search specific terms.
Price: Free up to 250 members and 85% discounts on pricing thereafter. (Charity discounts available here)
Huddle provides a similar user experience though is marketed as ideal for both internal and external communications. Nonetheless, when you break it down there is very few major differences beyond the higher price. That may lead you to wonder why we are mentioning it; the main reason is because it offers integration with Microsoft and Salesforce which we know are two hugely popular programs for charities.
Price: Free to try and £15.00 per month thereafter.
This app has been hugely popular for social use for a long time now, reaching 1 billion users in 2016. WhatsApp has picked up in some charities, including MSF and Childreach International but is arguably still not being used to its full potential. The mobility, familiarity and ease is what makes it a popular choice when organisations have employees and volunteers working across numerous countries, or out in their field without permanent access to a desktop. Better yet, it’s entirely free and can be used to share text, links and images.
Price: Completely free.
Online meeting tools:
For many charities it can be hard to get everyone in one place for meetings or discussions and that’s before you consider the costs and necessary resources. Being able to replicate the nature of a conventional interactive meeting is something technology does well. Below are examples of some of the most popular digital conferencing tools going.
Skype for Business:
This business edition offers you opportunity to communicate through chat, call or video with up to 250 others (making it ideal for webinars). On top of this it offers enterprise grade security so you don’t have to worry about any of the content you share. Luckily this is one product available on tt-exchange, allowing you to access the product for just 8% of the full cost. Depending on the needs of your organisation, the free version of Skype may be enough for you, with option to communicate with up to 25 people. This offers fewer options for cross-program compatibility but still offers ease-of-use with Microsoft’s products.
Price: £235 per Server, £3 per user CAL (Available on tt-exchange).
This similarly gives you the option to collaborate and communicate with your associates without a fixed location. GoToMeeting allows you to schedule or immediately initiate online meetings for numerous people. The user friendly sign up makes it straight forward for new people to join and there is the added feature of a recording option.
Price: £11 upfront and £9.50 per month (Available on tt-exchange).
Data management tools:
Most charities have considerable amounts of potentially highly sensitive data. That poses the questions of where to keep it and how to display it when necessary. Fortunately there are simple solutions available which are user friendly and minimise use of computer storage.
This program is entirely focused on easing collaboration for you and your colleagues & volunteers. Box offers centralised file storing and automated processes which mean things can be accessed and edited by all members of your team in real-time, and from any device due to the cloud based nature of the software. This is an extremely secure choice so is good for charities handling sensitive data
Price: £73 for 10 users (Available through tt-exchange)
Dropbox similarly provide a file hosting service that allow you to save and share documents in the cloud. This makes accessibility very straight forward for employees and volunteers working at different times in different places. The advantage of Dropbox is the highly user friendly interface and offering of analytics and reporting; these are two capabilities that Box unfortunately don’t offer.
We hope this overview has given a bit more insight into what products are right for you. If you want to look further into collaboration, why not take a look at these:
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This article is based on one originally published by our US partners TechSoup here under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.