Honestly, we can’t believe we’re about to say this… but Summer 2016 is nearly over! It feels like it just started, but we’re already mid-way through July and August is coming up quickly. For all of you involved in your school’s leadership groups you know what that means – it’s planning season!
This time of year it may be a bit difficult to get the members of your committee together – family vacations and trips to the beach or pool tend to eat up a large chunk of time. So how can you effectively prep for the school year without the formal structure of a meeting? Here are a few web-based applications that could be helpful for getting back on track and starting the planning process early without sucking up the last bits of everyone’s summer
If you’re looking for the To Do List to end all To Do Lists (yes, those are intentionally capitalized) – look no further. Trello allows you to create various boards and invite different members to each one. You could have one large board for the entire organization, and then boards for each of the various sub-committees and the executive board. Within each board you set up lists, such as “ideas,” “in progress,” “pending,” or “complete.” (Or really anything you want to call them.)
One of the best ways to have a collaborative experience without requiring everyone to be in the same room is to give members access to their relevant boards and then ask them to add items to the first (“ideas”) list. From there members can each write a note within the item if they’d like to vote on it. You can assign the specific items to different individuals, and from there they can move it through the lists – from “Ideas” to “In Progress” and so forth, until it has passed through each of the necessary planning stages.
For different committees these lists might look different – the Event Planning committee might have lists with titles like “Bookings,” “RSVP,” “Budgeting,” etc., while the Communications committee’s board might look more like a traditional editorial calendar with articles titles, resource notes, and deadlines.
If you are interested in having a meeting but are having difficulty getting all of your members in one location, Google Hangouts is for you. You can do everything from have a good, old-fashioned Instant Message (IM) conversation to video and voice chats.
When using the IM feature, you can add multiple users to the chat session so that your entire board – or just specific committee members – can have a discussion and share links wherever they are. If their locations allow for it (i.e.: they aren’t in line for Splash Mountain or lounging on the beach) you can also have a multi-user video chat. Many people tend to think that having an IM conversation might be easier, but there’s a lot to be said for being able to see facial expressions and body language and hear someone’s tone of voice. For all of the convenience it offers, faceless conversations (IM, texting, and emails) have led to more than their fair share of misunderstandings because someone forgets that sarcasm or genuine interest (as opposed to someone being patronizing) can’t be heard via text.
If your group has “been there done that” with Trello and Google Hangouts and you’re looking for something more robust – Slack is where it’s at. Everyone from small three-man shops to huge hundred person companies are using Slack to manage everything to do with their organization.
Seriously, this app can handle everything. It will integrate with your email and a variety of other apps (Trello included) to allow you and your team to see absolutely everything you need all at one glance. You can set up individual “channels” for each project you’re working on where you can chat and share and store files. Each user can hop between the channels they have access to, so there’s no need for the President to be logging in and out of different programs to see how the progress is going on each and every one.
Slack works a lot of different ways for a lot of different people – as we said, it’s quite robust. It may, in fact, be far more than your organization really needs – but if you’re finding that no matter how many tools you implement things are still slipping through the cracks, then what you may need is the tool to end all tools – Slack.
Finally, of course, there’s Pay4SchoolStuff.com! As you most likely already know, Pay4SchoolStuff is dedicated to making managing your parent or community group as easy as possible. From quick, secure, and convenient payment processing, to robust reporting and superior data management, our platform is everything your group needs.
Give us a call at (877) 397-2937 to request a demo, or visit our new site at Pay4SchoolStuff.com!