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Today’s digital climate demands that businesses and organisations of all kinds – not just not-for-profits – build a culture for collaboration. But with red tape still firmly held in place in most not-for-profits, innovation is getting harder to achieve.

In these organisations, bureaucracy is endemic. You’ll send the meeting request, wait for a response, change the meeting request, discuss the meeting in a 40-email-long chain with 10 people CCed, write the agenda, wait for everyone to turn up, wait for people to settle in, discuss last meeting’s actions, and finally, we get to discuss the new agenda… Is this beginning to sound familiar?

When you’re tied up in processes, the end result is fewer actioned results. Staff become frustrated and demotivated, and the cycle continues. Is it any wonder that collaboration can seem like a chore for some?

At ntegrity, we’ve seen that great results start with the culture you build. However, it’s one thing to want to collaborate – and another thing entirely to actually implement it. Not-for-profits lose traction when they aren’t equipped with the right tools or frameworks to foster this collaborative culture. Without them, people slip back into bad habits – and the 40-message-long email chain rears its ugly head once again.

Unproductive frameworks and processes – “the way things have always been done” – can get in the way of fresh ideas. Once you change the environment and manner in which these conversations occur, amazing things can happen. It’s a bit like taking a desk that’s been facing a wall, and turning it around to face the window: same components, different point of view.

Once you have the right mindset, you just need the right tools to get the job done! Here are some new (free) resources that will help you find a fresh point of view, so you can collaborate quicker and better.

1. Slack

 

In 2012, a study found that the average office worker was spending 28 per cent of their week reading and responding to emails. Slack is team-based messaging software designed to combat useless day-to-day activities like this, allowing you to digitally tap your coworkers on the shoulder to ask questions, have discussions and share files. Malcolm Turnbull has even announced that he’s keen to get his cabinet ministers onto Slack.

Applications for charities are endless, from allowing for inter-departmental content collaboration, to getting updates from team members in disaster zones. Slack also has special pricing for not-for-profits, and are set to expand further into office software – so watch this space.

 

2. Trello

A simple project management tool, our team use it every day to house our to-do lists, store content ideas, build content calendars and manage projects. We love Trello for its simple, visual nature.

 

3. Google Drive

Store all your documents and data in one place, collaborate simultaneously on reports, strategies and content with your team, and centrally control sharing permissions. Unlike Dropbox, which only gives you 2GB free space, Google Drive offers 30GB, making it a better option for organisations with lots of assets and information to store.

 

4. Sunrise

Sunrise is designed to bridge the gap between your basic digital calendar and an always-on personal assistant. Link as many email and social accounts as you need 0 each colour-coded so you can easily organise your day in and out of work. Sunrise’s new Meet extension allows you to share the times you’re free for meetings via one simple link.

At ntegrity, we also use our calendars to share our availability to collaborate on projects, book coworkers’ time in advance, and ensure we’re across important deadlines and meetings.

 

5. Take your tools to the next level with integrations

A great suite of tools and platforms is one thing, but to really take them to the next level, get them talking to one another. Try IFTT (If This Then That) and Zapier for handy ways to link your tools with automated reminders and workflows. All the tools above also offer multiple inbuilt integrations to make collaboration simpler.

Interested to hear more about how we transform workplaces into collaborative team cultures? Read more on our blog.

Originally published on Probono News Australia.