Tools to Collaborate


So you want to make a difference, but you can’t do it all by yourself.  Whether you personally want to do something for your community, your nonprofit wants to launch a new program, or your work team needs to implement a project, collaboration is essential, especially in these times of lean resources.

Collaboration with community members, nonprofits, large corporations, small businesses, artists, or government agencies can maximize your efforts and increase your audience.  There are many benefits of collaboration including new skills and abilities, variety of ideas, increased man power, additional monetary resources, and improved efficiency.  These advantages can result in more creatively designed programs and strategically managed projects.

There are also possible drawbacks of collaboration including conflict of priorities, disagreement on work style, overload of suggestions, and a slower decision making-process.  However, there are a variety of tools to mitigate these disadvantages.

Collaboration software helps facilitate a team to actually get their work done.  According to this Forbes article there are 5 different categories of collaboration tools:

  • The Gantt Chart – Great to keep you on target to meet your deadlines.  Examples include TeamGantt and Teamweek
  • The Kanban Chart – Best for projects that have tasks that need to be completed before others can begin.  Examples include Trello and
  • The To-Do List – This is tailored to projects with clearly defined tasks, examples are Wunderlist or Kickoff
  • The All-Encompassing Collaboration Suite – Best for large complex projects. Examples are Basecamp and Asana
  • The Social Network – Configured similar to a social networking site. An examples is Yammer, now part of the MicrosoftMSFT -0.19% family

Collaboration platforms can be used to engage community input and decision making, such as:

  • Mind Mixer– Created to be a town-hall meeting online.  Community members can have meaningful conversations with their leaders and their peers.
  • Neighborland– A new way for residents to collaborate with local organizations and take action on important issues.

The Foundation Center’s website has an entire section dedicated to Nonprofit Collaboration Resources.  Resources include the Nonprofit Collaboration Database, which houses hundreds of searchable example of collaborations, as well as podcasts, written documents and links to additional resources.

Campaign Consultation provides collaboration workshops, trainings and guides, such as the Roadmap to Community Collaboration and a Community Asset Mapping Guide.

So pick a resource and get collaborating!

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Megan Wall

In my role as Project Specialist with Campaign Consultation, Inc. I work primarily on projects with the Corporation for National and Community Service, specifically AmeriCorps VISTA outreach initiatives. Prior to joining Campaign Consultation, I worked in Liberia on two different USAID-funded initiatives. Prior to that, I was the Micro-Grants Manager for a USAID food-security initiative where I created and executed agri-business training and monitored micro-grant usage. Read more.

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