Forms and insights to boost internal collaboration
As part of our “teams” work, Big Duck regularly provides planning or coaching to nonprofits as it relates to internal collaboration and communications. In a recent session, I was talking to an organization about trying to strengthen how it works with other departments. I shared that I knew other nonprofits that used intake forms to manage internal project requests made to the communications team. To help them learn from others, I posted a resource request on LinkedIn and was happy to see so many folks willing to share.
Beyond resources, other nonprofit staff have reached out to me and shared similar challenges so we thought it would be helpful to provide these useful insights and tools with the broader nonprofit community.
Insights from organizations who’ve done this
- “We used an intake form for design requests and blogs at SF Bicycle Coalition, with mixed success. And I’ve worked with several clients where we used a template for defining basic strategy for comms requests – having the requestor identify audiences, objectives, desired outcomes, etc. And yet others use tools like wikis, Notion, or Airtable to manage comms requests. It really depends on culture!” – Rachel Dearborn, Brand and Communications Strategy Consultant of Dearborn Strategies
- “We created a graphics and web change form a few years ago. It’s working brilliantly, especially after we marketed the form internally.” – Fatima Jones, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at The Apollo
- “We have been successfully using a communications department request form (built in Microsoft office form) that lives on our Intranet and is connected to Office 365 tools using power automate so the request goes to a specific inbox as well as a communications Teams channel. We can access any attachments on the Form.” – Susan Geier, Director of Communications at AgeSpan
- “We have our intake form/creative brief embedded in our PM tool, but it would be just another form if the team hadn’t built it around a prioritization framework linked to department and organizational strategic priorities, as well as guided by the ADKAR change management & internal communications methodology.” – Jono Smith, Head of Brand Communications & Digital at Make-A-Wish America
- “We use a pretty extensive intake form (built in Wrike) for all marketing deliverables – they range from copyediting to a comprehensive integrated campaign. Once the team has reviewed a request and agreed on a plan of action, we assign deliverables/tasks to the intakes. These deliverables are each built on a workflow process template. This helps estimate production time and provides transparency for internal clients around the steps in the process and the staff responsible for them. Project management-wise, Wrike is quite powerful, but it has its downsides as well. Wrike requires a substantial time investment to understand and effectively use its features. And we wish it would integrate with our outbound marketing tools to make reporting on campaign metrics more efficient. ” – Franziska Marks, Marketing Operations Manager at TechSoup
- “I’ve built some Google Forms for clients for blog post production, including some layers of automation (e.g., files are uploaded/moved, tasks are added to someone’s to-do list, etc.). Started w/ some internal messaging, but has been working well for 2+ years.” – Jereme Bivins, Managing Director at Good Dog Strategies
- “Our marketing team recently started using Asana’s forms for project requests, and staff feedback has been positive. We have a dedicated project on Asana that takes in these submissions, which are then reviewed, assigned, and placed within the Asana projects we’ve set up for each of our departments and divisions. Depending on your org size, the final step may not be necessary, but this workflow makes it so we’re able to parse request volume a bit nicer on my team’s end, given the size of our organization.” – Richard Gambale, Senior Director of Marketing Strategy at The Jewish Board
- “I worked with a social impact agency that had these internal challenges around communicating with the creative team and Asana was a great tool. It’s a form and a calendar. If you’re interested in key steps, the priorities are the purpose of the asset (ie awareness on social media), type of asset (ie video), and launch date. A Communications Director can usually take it from there with a strategy if there is one.” – Denise Byrd, freelance writer and content creator
Examples of tools you can review and adapt
- Intake form for email communications requests (for a newsletter or targeted) that’s in Asana, so it directly feeds into the email calendar. By connecting to Asana it automatically creates a task that staff can assign an owner and collaborators to, which allows them to keep any follow-up in the same place. – provided by Aimee Lerner
- A communications and graphics request form for staff to fill out and email or Slack to their colleagues – provided by Caroline Sánchez Avakian
- Communications deliverable brief – provided by Hannah Huntt
Do you have any tips or examples to share? Email them to [email protected] and we’ll update this post as we get additional content.