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Hi, I run a small animal nonprofit in western PA. I'm trying to find something that is webbased that we can use to stay organized. So far everything we have tried has failed.
I was looking into one of the virtual meeting tools, but frankly they are way out of our price range.
We need a place to discuss fundraisers, vet visits, spay and neuter appointments (we spay and neuter between 30 and 60 animals a month), adoptable animals, etc etc
Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
When you say organized can you explain your needs in more detail? Conference calls can be handled with cell phones for free if necessary so based on your explanation I do not see how a virtual meeting tool will help keep you "organized".
Organization is typically related to documents.
Sorry, I knew I wasn't being clear enough but was just in a hurry.
Our volunteers and board members all have full time jobs, so it is impossible for us to all meet at the same time. Conference calls would also not be possible. And because we are not just a rescue, we have many things going on at one time.
We need a place to express opinions/volunteer for projects. Right now we use facebook almost exclusively for this, and people miss a lot.
I was looking for a program that when people went to it, they would maybe see the various topics: spay/neuter appointments, vet visits, fundraisers, grant writing, etc. So if someone wanted to help with fundraisers or had a new fundraiser idea, they could click on fundraisers, etc.
We tried a cell phone app but that didn't work either.
What is your budget? sounds like you are looking for an Employee Engagement Platform.
Unfortunately our budget is next to nothing. :( I could maybe swing $20 a month personally right now.
It sounds like you have two needs:
1) A way to discuss things and share information.
2) A way to schedule and have reminders.
My first thought is for you to use some type of online forum software. There are many different versions and a lot of them are free to download and install on your own server or hosting account. The only "cost" is that you have set them up and maintain them yourself. Normally one person can manage a small one. Larger forums with many members often employ volunteers to help run them as the need for technical skill is very low.
And some type of online calendar application should take care of the second item. There are many options for both free and paid.
The best option would be forum software that also has a group calendar option.
It sounds to me like you need a basic Project Management tool - something that makes it easy to have multiple conversations, make plans, and perhaps share files as well. I encourage you to look at Slack (FREE) and Google's GSuite for nonprofits (FREE, https://www.google.com/nonprofits/products/apps-for-nonprofits.html).There are many others, both cheap or free. But I think either of these could work well for you, and they are fairly user friendly so it shouldn't require training for all your volunteers, which I imagine would also not be possible. =)
"So far everything we have tried has failed. "
You've gotten some good suggestions here. But a software program, however great, may still fail, if your volunteers and staff won't use it. Whatever you choose, you need to have more than one training, you need to reward people for using it (just a recognition of it at a meeting can be great), you need to drive people to it ("I need to take this conversation from email to our online platform, please..."), etc.
YahooGroups might be a way to have ongoing text-based, threaded conversations and to share files (it's free). Google calendar can be a good way to share appointments (it's free). WebEx could be a good tool for live, online audio and video meetings, but anything that happens in the chat window (the text-based conversations that can be allowed during the conferencing) would need to be saved and shared, either as a message on your YahooGroup, a file shared on your YahooGroup, or a file shared on a GoogleDoc.
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
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