COVID-19 has had some unexpected consequences for our work lives.
On one hand, it’s stopped everyone in their tracks physically, hunkered down at home, unable to travel.
On the other hand, it’s sped up our virtual lives like a runaway train.
Between Zoom video calls, dozens of Slack channels, and the (occasional) TikTok video with the kids, information is speeding past our cerebral cortex at an alarming rate.
What’s the antidote?
How about a persistent, organized, centralized digital space? One where you don’t have to be “Live” constantly, where you can readily find the meeting notes from three weeks ago, and where you aren’t distracted by ads or off-topic content.
Here’s how to create a sanctuary for your nonprofit staff. An oasis of calm that’s built to serve them, namely Crowdstack.
Benefit #1: Centralized Resources
Every organization has a “Sarah.” She’s that one person who is the “gatekeeper,” that reliable one who connects everyone, remembers the email chain where you discussed that fundraising idea last year, and knows that Joe is organizing student volunteers for the next event.
That’s a lot of responsibility for one person. How about cutting out the gatekeeper, and putting all of that information in a space that’s accessible to everyone? Then Sarah can get back to her actual job(s).
Move the email chains to a forum instead. You might even achieve “inbox zero.”
Forums are still asynchronous like email, but they become available to, and searchable by, everyone. You can also organize them. Set up forums for each major subject, and make it even easier to find everything.
And if Dwight won’t give up his email, turn on “post by email,” which automatically creates a forum topic (or reply) from an email. (You don’t even have to tell him.)
Bringing the resources together in one space is also helpful to support employee or social ambassador programs, making it much easier to share information, PDFs, worksheets or other materials while building a sense of community for the project.
The screenshot below shows an example Resource page, where you can share images, PDFs, videos, or any type of file in Crowdstack. They can be organized into sets, and readily accessed by the team.
Benefit #2: Fewer Logins and Less Maintenance
The average nonprofit uses 50 bazillion (that’s hard data) different technology platforms. With an online community, you can ditch the separate WordPress blog, the calendar system, and all of the plug-ins.
Trim down your technology “stack” and make it much easier to manage by using a platform that includes the majority of your needs in a single hub. Forums, blogging, resource/file sharing, live chat, events, and more are all in one place. No more “cobbling together.”
When you’re using a community platform like Crowdstack, you can also use self-serve single sign-on (SAML 2.0) so that your staff doesn’t have to set up yet another set of login credentials for the community; they can simply be authenticated via your existing system.
Software-as-a-service means you don’t have to worry about ongoing maintenance, upgrades, or security. The community simply works.
Benefit #3: Private Spaces for each Team
The fundraising team, the Board of Directors, the volunteers, they all have different needs. They want to be able to collaborate in their own space. Some of their conversations may need to be conducted in private as well.
Set up Groups and invite the members of each team to share together in their Group. They can get notified when there’s something new, and communicate simply with the entire group in complete privacy.
The screenshot below shows public (anyone can view/access), private (viewable but not accessible), and hidden (invitation-only) Groups in Crowdstack.
Groups can be created (and disabled) at any time, providing infinite flexibility for working groups, temporary initiatives, ambassador teams, or any other team of employees who need digital space to collaborate. Whether the team is working remotely (as most of us are right now) or is together in one office, a digital hub can be the glue that maintains connections and keeps everyone organized.
Online communities can be a secure sanctuary away from the noise of social networks.
Your organization owns and controls the content, the membership, and the design, so it can suit your needs precisely.
And the biggest benefit? An ongoing connection among your nonprofit staff, regardless of their physical location.