RUNNING A GROUP

Communication Tools

Published 23rd September 2019

These resources discuss task management software, team communication platforms, and customer relationship management systems (CRMs).

Communication Between Organisers

Having good systems for tracking tasks and coordinating between fellow organisers could drastically improve the efficiency of your group.

Action Trackers and Asana

A lot of EA groups’ activities involve many short, recurring tasks. For example, when planning and running an event, organisers will often go through the same process of booking a venue, writing event descriptions, sending emails, making social media posts, buying refreshments, etc. This means that it’s useful to create an action tracker for running events in order to save time and reduce the risk of tasks being forgotten. Action trackers can be created on Google Sheets.

Alternatively you can use existing task management software like Asana (which is free for up to 15 people). If your team of organisers is larger than 15, or you want to use paid features of Asana you can apply to get paid Asana subscriptions for a very low cost here.

This guide to action trackers from EA Cambridge goes into the details of how to use action trackers and Asana.

Messaging: Slack and Discord

Slack is a team collaboration tool used for organizing work flows. It consists of different channels where team members can chat and share information, documents, and plans. It is also integrated with Asana (see above). It enables you to categorise projects into “channels” and to respond to messages in “threads” so that you can keep conversations about different topics separate. Here is a guide for setting up a Slack account for your group.

To let your fellow group organisers know how to join and set up their Slack workspace, you can make a copy of this document, edit to add your group’s details, and send to your fellow organisers.

The free version is probably adequate for the vast majority of groups, but it only saves the most recent 10,000 messages.

Discord is also used by some groups. It doesn’t have the same ability to integrate other apps like Slack does, but it is free for an unlimited number of users and messages.

Communication Between Organisers and Group Members

Outside of events, most communication between organisers and group members will be through social media, mailing lists, and Meetup. Tips on using these tools are coming soon.

CRM Software

Once your local community exceeds about 20 people, it can be hard to remember important information about all of them. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can come in.

A CRM can help you:

  • Flag community members who have been absent for a while, so organisers can check in with them
  • Track how community members have engaged with the group, to evaluate different activities
  • Keep track of who to prioritise for one-on-one chats
  • Choose events based on member’s interests or needs
  • Notify members about opportunities based on their interests
  • Identify members that could help each other with their goals, to make introductions

You can use Google Sheets to make a basic CRM, with rows being members and columns containing information about each member. There are some Google Sheets CRM templates available online (e.g. here).

Alternatively, use HubSpot which has a free CRM.

If you’d like to learn more, feel free to get in touch with Eve from EA Cambridge to hear about their experiences using these systems.


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