Learn how you can digitize your organisation using free (or almost free) tools.

Actionable handbook to help you digitise your organisation

@SlickEventsApp July 3, 2020

This handbook has been designed to help you digitise your organisation (sports club, golf club or any other not for profit organisation) and enable you to accomplish more with less effort using remote work tools and processes.

The covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to rethink how we work together, what we can and cannot do, and if there is one good thing that has come out of this is that the adoption of “remote work” has increased significantly! But not everyone knows how to apply remote work to your organisation setting - this handbook aims to do just that, make it easy for you to adopt a remote work mindset for you and your organisation. This is something that will be really helpful even after the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

In the end of the handbook we have included a couple of use cases that shows you in practice how to use the different tools and processes to perform a specific task - make sure to check them out.

Most, if not all of the tools we mention in this guide has a free plan and are considered market leaders in their space.

Some notes on how to read this handbook.
Actions you should take are marked with a ✅ so that you can easily find them. We try to only suggest you to use free tools but sometimes there are some paid tools out there that are worth mentioning but we make sure to let you know of the free alternatives.

💬 Communicating more effectively

This chapter will help you understand which communication channels you should use for different types of communication. Today most organisations rely on email communication and perhaps a website where you publish news, that not that many people read. So how do you get your information into the readers hands?

Your online presence

You need to decide if you want to have a website and which social media channels you want to be active on. Please don’t create a social media account or website that you never update!

Buy your domain name
If you want a website, or an email address with for example your-name@your-organisation.com then you need to go ahead and purchase your domain name. It’s easier than you think and doesn't cost very much. GoDaddy and Namecheap are quite good to use and user friendly. When you buy your domain make sure to think about if you want to use their website and email services. Usually there are cheaper alternatives so make sure to only purchase the domain name and no extra services that cost money.

If you decide to set up a website there are numerous alternatives out there, but before you get it you need to decide what you really need. For most organisations it’s enough to have a beautiful one-page website that describes your organisation, what you do, your sponsors and where to find you. And more importantly have an online registration/contact form for new customers or members.

If you decide to have a Facebook page and or Instagram account then make sure to register them and follow the guidelines from Facebook to make sure that it looks nice and is discoverable. Just google “how to set up my Facebook page” and you will find plenty of guides to help you.

How to build and launch your website

I would say that there are more ways to do that then there is time for us to write this handbook so we will just briefly go through a couple of options with their pros and cons.

Use a website builder such as Squarespace or Wix. They do a pretty good job at giving you a website but you might end up paying for more than you actually use, another good option is www.carrd.co.

The good old email

Did you know that the average person receives 126 emails, per day! Source: Radicati So maybe that’s why people complain that they haven't received your email? Emails can easily end up in the recipients spam box based on for example how the subject is formulated.

There are quite a few downsides to using email - but it’s still a cost effective way to to reach your customers or members!

Here are some quick tips to help you use email effectively
Make sure to use a common mail address that you can use to send and receive emails on. It could simply be organisationname@gmail.com.

✅ Setup a specific email address for your organisation at gmail.com
The reason why we suggest using Gmail is that you get access to Google Docs, which is a free online collaboration tool.

It is possible to get help from people us (Slick.events) to help you forward emails from your own custom domain to a shared email box. For example reroute all emails sent to hello@organisationname.com -> organisationname@gmail.com, and more importantly make it possible to respond to emails from your own domain.

If you are going to be sending a lot of emails, i.e. broadcasts to all your customers/members several times per month, and you have more than 100 contacts in your email list then we really encourage you to use an email newsletter tool. This is where you can design your email, manage opt-out settings (regulatory requirement), track your email open and bounce rates and much more. I’m not going to recommend a specific tool here because they all have their pros and cons and most have a starter plan that starts at around $10 /mo.

🎉 Being productive in a remote work setting

Over the years there have been a surge of new ways to communicate with each other, there are WhatsApp groups, Facebook Messenger groups, Slack and Microsoft Teams and more.

We prefer to use a tool called Slack.
What is Slack you might wonder?

"Slack brings the team together, wherever you are With all of your communication and tools in one place, remote teams will stay productive no matter where you’re working from.”

Slack has an extensive free plan and you can invite as many users as you like. You should head over to Slack.com and read more about the tool before continuing reading this chapter because we are going to get into some details about how to use Slack effectively in your organisation.

Getting started with Slack

We assume that you have created a Slack Workspace already so now go ahead and create different channels that we think are a great starting point for any organisation.

Create a channel in Slack (click the + next to the title "channels") called #board and a description such as “For the people working on the board”.
Make sure to make it private!

The #board channel is where the board members can communicate with each other. Make sure to send a specific invitation to the rest of the board members in Slack so that they get access to the channel. If you would like to discuss a topic “should we create a summer camp this year”, then the rest of the board can simply reply to that topic, add reactions such as thumbs up and thumbs down, share link to documents and much more.

Another good tip is to create a specific channel for different working groups you have, could be a channel for managing specific events, customer support or basically anything you can think of.

Another important channel to create is the #announcements. If you are a not for profit this is where all members of your association and parents should be added. If you are a business then add all employees here. This is where you can post organisation wide announcements about just about anything, see it as an alternative, more interactive channel to your email newsletter.

Set some rules and guidelines
In each channel you create you can add a description of how and what to post. A good tip is to encourage people to start a thread rather than a new message when responding to someone.

If you are a sports club the each team coach should probably create a channel for their team and invite players (or parents) to it. So that could look like #team-2, #team-2-parents

❓ Collecting feedback

If you don’t get any feedback you don’t really know if you are doing the right things, an easy way is to share anonymous surveys with your customers or members. When should you collect feedback and more importantly how can you do it?

Let’s start with when to do it
We believe that you should do it as often as possible, but there is a balance between timing, and survey frequency to make sure that you get as many responses as possible.

“One time events”, such as a purchase, camps, tryouts, competitions - you should send out a survey as soon as possible.
It’s also a good idea to at least two times per year or once per season ask your customers or members for feedback.

Ok great - but how can I do this?
There is a simple free tool that you can use to create and share surveys - it’s called Google Forms and you have probably already either used it as a creator or as a respondent.

Google Forms is flexible enough to add multiple questions, range scales, multiple options and much more. But keep in mind that the more questions you have the less responses you will get.
Try to have as few questions as possible.

Some examples:
For a membership organisation you should send out a more comprehensive survey the end of the season or once per year with your existing members.

After a “one time event”, camp, competition etc you should send out a short survey simply asking for what they think of the event, below you can find an example that we created using Google Forms

Event Feedback

You get a nice graphical overview of all the responses and you can at any time access the data in a Google Sheet.

🌎 Smoother Collaboration in your organisation

Now that you know how to communicate more effectively within your organization it’s time to make it easier to collaborate with each other!

Google Docs

We already briefly mentioned Google Docs, it’s a free online collaboration suite that comes with a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, video meeting software and more. The main benefit of Google Docs is that it’s hosted in the cloud and it has awesome features to help you collaborate on the documents, with real time editing that anyone that has access to the document can see, make and resolve comments on specific text snippets.

Google Docs is free and included with your Gmail account that you should already have created.

With Google comes a thing called Google Drive, it’s your storage space in the cloud. You can create subfolders and share access to these folders with anyone that has a Google account.

✅Setup your Google Drive Structure

  • A folder called Board, then share access with the rest of your board members by entering their email addresses.
  • A folder called Leaders and invite all your leaders to that folder.
  • A folder called Public Announcements and share this your coaches and board members

✅Anytime you create a document in the Public Announcements and you want anyone to access it, maybe you want to post a link to it in your Slack channel #announcements? Then you need to right click on the file, get a shareable link and make sure that anyone with the link can access the file.

Trello

Is another free online collaboration tool that is used by millions of people. Trello works by you creating boards, that have lists and each list has cards This is a screenshot from their website

Trello Image

We suggest that you create one board for each project or working group you have in your organisation, so for example one for board work (and only invite members of the board).

Each card can have a task list, you can assign it to one or more people, it can have a due date and you can comment on it. It’s a great way to manage your projects and make it transparent for the entire project working group and empower them to make progress.

✅Create your free Trello account and set up a Trello board for your board work.

🔐 Keep your passwords secure

Since you are going to create an account with different service providers it’s a good idea to be able to share this password with the rest of the relevant people at your organisation.

The best way to do this is to purchase a password manager such as 1password, Dashlane or similar and force every one that wants access to the accounts to download and use that tool. This however costs a couple of dollars per month.

Another way to do it (which is less secure but free) is to create a spreadsheet with Google Docs and call it “Our Providers”. Then simply add one row for each application you use and the username used for logging in to that service. Then reset the password on all your services to the same one. Make sure to use a password generator (built in to most web browsers nowadays) or make sure to use a password with small and uppercase letters and some numbers. Then write down the password on a note, put it in an envelope and store it securely somewhere at your organisation.

✅setup a way to share access to the tools your organisation uses

Create your event website using Google Sheets

Create a free account today