Because of social distancing and self-isolation, the traditional face-to-face meeting is impossible. In the short term, many of you have already jumped into the video conferencing pool.
And what a large pool it is! There’s no shortage of consumer-grade tools that can get the job done, especially for smaller groups:
- Google Hangouts
- Microsoft Skype
- Facebook Messenger
- And the list goes on...
(If you haven’t chosen a video conferencing platform yet, or don’t have a lot of experience in running virtual meetings, take a look at this comprehensive article)
But what if, instead of simply using these tools on an ad-hoc, temporary basis, your club’s board took this opportunity to completely change how you communicate and collaborate with each other. Consider the following scenarios:
You are updating your club’s bylaws. You know there is a copy on your club’s website, but it’s stored as a PDF. You don’t have the tools to update a PDF, so you email the rest of the board to try to find a copy you can edit. Somebody has one, but it’s a few years old – meaning a lot more work for you as you must compare that version to the website version and redo the work somebody did years ago before starting on your work....
It's your first year in charge of planning your club’s big annual event, but you don’t know where to start. You know the previous organizer, who no longer curls at the club, was a meticulous planner and has all their work documented, so you reach out to them for a copy of their planning documents; but they left the club on bad terms and aren’t responding to your requests. Or, maybe they simply changed email address and the one on file bounces back as undeliverable...
These scenarios, to various degrees, are played out in non-profits all over the country. Boards are staffed by volunteers who often use their own their own computing and communication tools to get the job done. This leads to little or no document history or control, a lot of wasted time, and a lot of extra work for the next volunteers in line.
As a non-profit organization, your board has access to powerful, enterprise-grade communication and collaboration tools - often at NO COST to your club!
In part 2, we’ll give you an idea what’s possible, and compare some of the major platforms.