It takes effort from many people to ensure that humanitarian organizations can keep doing good work. The larger the mission and broader the reach, the more important it is for internal teams to be organized, communicating well, and able to collaborate. They’re handling areas like fundraising, strategic partnerships, program development, and more. These are necessary parts of the operation. Without adequate fundraising, projects can’t continue. Without key partners, the organization is limited in reach. Here’s how Teamup can help, as a fundraising calendar to streamline nonprofit scheduling and event planning, plus make it easier to collaborate with nonprofit partners.
The internal work of humanitarian organizations
Let’s look at a large global organization which collaborates with governments, NGOs, and numerous partners to provide key resources for people in crisis. With numerous projects around the globe, they have hundreds of boots-on-the-ground folks who coordinate and deliver life-saving relief. On the internal side of things, there are also hundreds of people working to keep the organization funded and operational so they can keep bringing help where it’s needed most.
One of these internal divisions is tasked with fundraising, partnerships, and program development. Within the division there are multiple teams and hundreds of staff members. They often collaborate across teams and divisions. They also frequently work with external stakeholders.
For a division like this, they need a fundraising calendar that meets their top scheduling needs:
- Aligning schedules: Coordinating schedules within and across teams, sharing availability with stakeholders, and avoiding schedule conflicts.
- Avoiding bottlenecks: Preventing congestion in event or project timelines, enabling delegation, and eliminating delays or stalled workflows.
- Streamlining communication: Enabling clear and efficient communication, dismantling information silos, and sharing relevant knowledge.
- Allocating resources: Assigning and managing resources (venues, equipment, personnel, etc.), and optimizing use across different events or projects.
- Handling last-minute changes: Adapting to sudden shifts in plans, handling unexpected developments, and keeping every stakeholder updated.
In any organization, coordinating a simple meeting or handling nonprofit event planning with many stakeholders can get complicated in a hurry. Here’s an example: you’re planning a major event on the fundraising calendar. A fews teams in your own division are planning the event with several nonprofit partners. You’re collaborating with some folks from another division. Everyone involved needs to know about major changes to the planning timeline or event program. Based on their role, some folks also need regular updates about team availability and task assignments — but others don’t need that much information and would find it overwhelming. To further complicate, there are different security levels to think about. People within the organization are privy to some details that must be kept confidential from external stakeholders.
You can see how communication and even simple status updates can get quite complex and frustrating in this sort of scenario. What often happens with nonprofit scheduling is a lot of redundant communication. You end up sending one set of emails and files to certain people, then another to a different team, and a separate follow-up with the external collaborators. If something changes, you have to go through a whole series of updates, emails, and messages to keep everyone informed. It’s not only a frustrating and time-consuming job, it also creates a lot of room for error.
In this scenario, you need a nonprofit event planning system for automatic updates across the board, for everyone involved. But you also need a system that’s flexible and customizable to accommodate different informational needs and security considerations.
The solution: Flexible, secure scheduling and communication
Easier nonprofit scheduling starts with making things visible. So, you start building the system by getting all the division events on one fundraising calendar. It might seem overwhelming, but you can keep things organized with sub-calendars, color-coding, and folders. Each sub-calendar can represent a person, place, category, resource, so on. In this scenario, let’s go with a calendar structure based on event categories:
- Travel and availability of directors and deputies
- Partnerships meetings and events
- Business development
- Special programs
- Fundraising efforts
- All meetings and events
For this division, most events involve lots of people. The type of event typically determines who is involved. So it makes more sense to organize by event type than by individual. If an event belongs to more than one category, it can be assigned to multiple calendars.
Directors and deputies do have an assigned sub-calendar, but they’re the exception. And that’s needed because their travel and availability is its own event category, and is a scheduling factor for other event types.
💡Takeaway: A simple calendar structure might be the best, even for a busy division with many things happening. Don’t feel the need to overcomplicate. Start with a simple structure. Adjust as you go to create a structure that works for your organization.
Secure, customized access
Schedule visibility works best when each person can see what’s relevant to their role, without having to sort through “data clutter.” Think about what each person needs to see. Then you can set up customized access at the appropriate level. Do they need to add and edit events? Or just view updates and access information? You can fine-tune access for each staff member.
You’ll do the same for external stakeholders and nonprofit partners, as well. A secure read-only link works well for folks outside the organization who need to see nonprofit scheduling for partner programs, fundraising events, and so on. A read-only link is also helpful for sharing temporary or limited access with a group. Revoking access is as simple as deleting the link.
💡 Takeaway: When setting up customized access, start with a less is more approach. For example, selectively share sub-calendars based on what each team or individual needs to know about. Default to read-only access. You can always expand (sharing more sub-calendars, raising the permission level) as needed.
Synced information sharing
Collaboration gets sticky when people don’t have all the information they need. You can avoid both version conflicts and information bottlenecks by putting all the details, notes, links, and files in one accessible place: on the event itself. Upload documents, reference sheets, images, forms, so on. Add a clickable link for online meetings. Rearrange and label event fields as needed; you can also add custom event fields to capture numerical information or provide easy-fill options.
You get two huge benefits with this approach. First, the lead on any project can avoid having to answer the same questions, send the same files, and give the same updates over and over to team members or nonprofit partners. Instead, they just add the information to the fundraising calendar event and everyone involved can access it when needed. The same goes for status updates or ongoing discussion needed for nonprofit scheduling. The second benefit is that you’ve got documentation built right-in. If you keep everything involved, or referenced, from the same place, you can find it again for project reviews, partner reports, etc.
When an event on the calendar is updated, it’s updated for everyone involved in the nonprofit event planning. So if you remove the outdated guest list and upload the new one, everyone will have immediate access to the latest information. The calendar admin can set up notifications for each team member based on their role and what they need to know.
💡 Takeaway: You can keep all the information in one place and still use all the tools you depend on. Add links to spreadsheets, resources, or needed files that are housed elsewhere.
Ready to try Teamup for your organization? Get started with this guide.