Next Steps

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Each of these tools offers different advantages for collaborating and sharing resources online. Before selecting one or more of them for your organization to use, it’s important to think about which one offers the features that will best meet your needs. You’ll also want to talk to your staff and volunteers and designate people to manage the tools. Using an action plan can help you get organized and move forward efficiently.

Talk to your stakeholders and consider staff time investments.

Before implementing any tool, you’ll need to identify and understand the needs of the people who will use it, such as your organization’s volunteers or partners. Consider whether consultants, clients, or even your board of directors will be impacted by your decision to use an online tool for collaborating and sharing resources.

Additionally, consider the amount of time it may take to set up and administer Google Apps or Zoho Wiki. You’ll need to invest some staff time for training and ongoing maintenance. Review the comparison tables that provide guidance on time required for each tool.

Compare and prioritize features.

Consider your organization’s needs when deciding how to go about collaborating online. What is most crucial to you? Is it internal file sharing, community building, or sharing information externally? Are you seeking a combination of the three?

Once you’ve identified your needs, take the time to compare the features that meet those needs. You can begin by using the comparison table and report card provided in Chapter 1. Build upon these tools and adjust them for your organization.

Effectively prepare for and address change management.

Once a tool is chosen and the adoption phase begins, consider:

  1. How will you let members of your organization know?
  2. How will you train staff or volunteers to use the tool? 
  3. What is your plan for ongoing maintenance?

 

Once your organization has selected and begun using Google Apps or Zoho Wiki, you’ll want to evaluate its effectiveness.  Talking to your staff and volunteers and gathering their opinions on the tool will help you gauge how useful and meaningful it is to your organization.

An action plan can help your staff see the value.

These sites do not require major investments of money or time, so the decision to use one (or more) of them may not majorly impact your organization. Still, it’s a good idea to make sure your staff understands the value they add.

An action plan can help you organize your thoughts on paper. Include what you want to get from an online collaboration tool, a list of identified stakeholders, and steps for moving forward. To begin creating your action plan, download the action plan template.

Click to open interactivity Test your knowledge of online collaboration tools.

Test your knowledge of online collaboration tools.

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