Collaboration Toolkit

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Engage Members and Drive Action with Communication Tools

  • Effective communication saves time and keeps team members engaged in ongoing action.
  • A variety of tools can help you communicate quickly and effectively. Consider web services, apps, and available offline tools when deciding on your best medium for communication.

When choosing tools that best suit your group, ask:

1. What types of materials will we need to share?

Are you developing and editing written documents, such as a Vision Statement or Memorandum of Understanding? Consider cloud file-sharing services like Google Docs or Microsoft SharePoint that allow users to combine redline edits on documents. File-sharing makes editing much less time intensive!
Are you sharing schedule details? Doodle, an online scheduling service, can quickly identify availability.
Are you holding many conversations with several partners at once? Keep your discussion threads organized using Basecamp, an online platform that compiles and updates discussion threads, and stores documents and to-do lists.
Are you sending a blast of updates from a field location? Cell phone apps like Whatsapp and GroupMe allow you to send unlimited text messages to groups of 25 to 50. A workgroup might use this to send an update on a project from the field. Or, members may wish to notify others quickly of a new event or funding opportunity.

2. What technologies can your members access?

Some offices don’t allow software or websites, and others have limited web access. Additionally, some members may not have cell phones or smart phones. Consider members’ equipment before relying on technology to communicate.

3. Who will organize communications?

Appointing a central member to organize group emails, documents, or (if available) websites can simplify and unify messaging.

  • Remember: Whoever takes on this role should work closely with Collaborative leaders and have the time and capacity to keep regular contact with all organizations in your group!
  • Some efficient ways to regularly update members include email listserves, written or electronic newsletters (may require contributions from many members), or online group spaces like LinkedIn, Wikispace or Facebook groups.

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