Many nonprofits, especially small ones, struggle to find technology tools that are affordable, easy to implement, and help spur collaboration across teams, volunteers, and yes…even donors!
As you are doing your work in the cloud, have you ever thought about how are you able to share and collaborate with others? Wikis, like PB Works, formerly called Peanut Butter Wiki, allows you to share files and information while managing your project. Wikis aren’t new – the first one was created in 1995 – but they are much more robust today, as they have been enhanced and improved over time by the open-source community.
Wikis can be set up to just share outward facing information. Wikipedia is a perfect example of this. The fact that almost anyone can login to update or add new information makes its collaborative. The ability for many people to edit, add and share is what makes wikis different from typical websites. More advanced forms of wikis, allow you to share files and information securely. The same way Wikipedia is open to everyone, some wikis are closed to just a team of collaborators who can view and edit the information. These are inward facing wikis and are just as useful. I’ve used wikis in classes I’ve taken and graduate classes I’ve taught in addition to working with volunteer committee members.
And now, Jelly is the latest social media tool that allows you to ask for answers to a question about something in a photo you post. Its tag line is “Let’s help each other.” Think something like Quora but with photos. Having just launched a few weeks ago, Jelly had a quick rush of people downloading it to their smartphone. Now people are trying to figure out what to do with it. How could nonprofits take advantage of this cutting edge technology?
When you think of it from a nonprofit’s perspective, think about how someone can solve a problem. You might take a picture of an event invitation sample and ask how you can make the image more attractive. You could ask how to increase event awareness or increase donations for it. People who have signed up for it can answer your question and you can pick the best answer. Think of it as brainstorming your problems with a crowdsourced focus group of people willing to help if given the chance.
When trying to determine the best tech tools for your nonprofit, don’t overlook tools like Wikis and Jelly to help improve collaboration with your colleagues, volunteers, and yes…even your donors!
Dave Tinker, CFRE, is Vice President of ACHIEVA and an adjunct professor in the Master of Information Strategy, Systems and Technology program at Muskingum University. He began his career in fundraising and nonprofit management as a teenager. You can follow him on Twitter @davethecfre.