This guest post is from Stephanie Hoskins. Stephanie is a co-founder of Good Intents, providing digital outreach solutions to help nonprofits expand and engage their audience. She is a mother of three and an active member of Catapult Lakeland in Central Florida.
As even our local commissioners are going virtual, many of us find ourselves tasked with moving to remote work overnight. It’s daunting. There are employees and volunteers in our organizations who have little to no experience with virtual meetings.
At Good Intents we’ve learned a few things from collaborating with our partners remotely for over a year. Based on our experience–the things we’ve done right and the things we’ve gotten wrong–we have some ideas to help you successfully transition your traditional office into cyberspace.
1. Host an orientation meeting
Before ever having your first meeting to discuss the business of the day, you must give people time to orient to the change. Dedicate your first mandatory meeting to say hello to the team. Require everyone to remote in for a brief orientation so that they know what to expect in advance.
Keep your meeting brief. Fifteen minutes or less would be best. Otherwise you can get into a convoluted how-to-session with the group of users. Encourage attendees to do a trial run of what’s needed five minutes before the session. You can use the orientation to address issues the majority have and then schedule one offs for those who need extra help. There is nothing worse than making the entire group sit through one team member experiencing a list of issues they aren’t all experiencing.
After the call, give everyone time to process what they learned from the test run to cut down on technical issues moving forward.
2. Include a list of virtual guidelines and expectations
Don’t wait for your tribe to create these rules for themselves overtime. Streamline the process by getting everyone on the same page up front. Share a simple list of expectations and rules for how you expect attendees to communicate and share ideas.
This is the equivalent of passing the baton so that your team doesn’t end up speaking over each other due to delay caused by connections, or to help avoid the dreaded feedback loop caused by someone calling into a meeting with the volume on their computer turned up. You want to hold people accountable to the rules for conducting meetings, but also remember that these rules don’t have to be set in stone. You should adjust them to account for the unique strengths of your team culture.
3. Share hosting responsibilities
Assign a new team member to share in the responsibility of rallying the troops and managing the technical aspect of the meeting. This kind of rotation will improve your team communication quickly. Giving others the opportunity to manage the members in your virtual space creates empathy and understanding on the team for the challenges created from working remotely.
You can make this work!
The message needs to be conveyed about co-workers and their mindsets. Working from home is a challenge. You have to have dedication to achieve your tasks and the ability not to worry about what everyone else is doing or not doing.
Butts do not have to be in chairs in order for work to get done. Remote workers have been preaching this for years. You can make this transition successful and productive.
If there’s anything you’ve learned from your experience transitioning to remote work, share it with everyone in the comments. Stay safe, and good luck!
Your fundraising needs are changing, and we’re here to support you during this difficult time. Many organizations are shifting their in-person events to virtual formats and utilizing mobile giving and text messaging to engage their donors. If you’d like to learn more about how Qgiv’s tools can help you continue to raise vital funds while keeping you and your donors safe, please contact us—we’re here to help.