Getting things done: Tools for nonprofits to manage their projects
There’s a real sense of accomplishment when my to-do list dwindles at the end of the day. It’s the same way I feel about an organized calendar or when I get down to inbox zero.
Nonprofit staff people are particularly starved for time, but there’s no reason you can’t also feel this pride and relief throughout your day. Need a hand? Let me share with you just a few of the project management tools that we use here at Big Duck.
- Basecamp is a tool that we use to collaborate with all of our clients. We love that we can keep all files and discussions in one place. That means we don’t need to use a file sharing service for any large deliverables, and it’s easy to search for a particular file or thread in any given project. Our clients get an email notification whenever someone posts something, so you don’t have to always log on; you can respond straight from your inbox. Personally, my favorite part of Basecamp is the calendar, which tells me what’s due and when, so that I know the status of all of my projects at any given time.
- Google Docs are great for collaborating on work-in-progress documents. You can set your sharing settings to allow as much or as little group collaboration as you need, track your edits, and leave comments for specific people by tagging them. Once everyone has had a chance to review and weigh in, you can resolve all of your comments and clean it up. Voila!
- Asana and Trello are handy systems that help you manage your personal to-do’s. Most of Big Duck’s staff use one of these two systems to stay organized. Team Asana loves the collaboration of the platform and the fact that you can invite people to specific projects and assign them tasks, so you know exactly who is working on what and when. You can share boards and tasks on Trello as well, but the main functionality we like about it is the calendar, which helps you focus on the tasks you have each day.
- Boomerang or FollowUpThen are handy tools for those who like a clean inbox. Boomerang allows you to schedule emails, which is nice whenever you need to send a reminder to someone a few days from now. FollowUpThen is another way to schedule emails and you’re able to set specific time intervals, like 3 minutes, 3 days, or 3 weeks.
- Evernote is a not only a note-taking tool, but also allows you to store and manage many other things like links, attachments, tables, and checklists all in one spot. Organize your notes by creating several different notebooks for each topic and tag them with key phrases to help you find them later. You can even have short to-do lists and set yourself reminders for when you need to really pay attention to them.
Take a few minutes out of your day to set up the right tools and systems to keep organized, be more efficient, and collaborate like a professional. Believe me, it’s worth all the effort and will end up saving you time in the long run.