Information sharing

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As well as communicating face-to-face at meetings, there are a variety of means for sharing information remotely within your core group and team of volunteers. Sharing information remotely is a good way to have the flexibility to ensure that a wide range of people can become engaged, as those with limited time available to meet in person are not prevented from being involved.

Some examples of information sharing tools include:

Video calls. Platforms such as Skype, Google Hangout or Omnijoin can allow you to use video calls or web conferencing for holding group meetings and catch ups. Using webcams and screen sharing features can be useful for giving demonstrations or presentations.

Scheduling events and meetings. Online tools such as Doodle polls enable easy scheduling of events and meetings by allowing those invited to the poll to state their availability or preferences for particular dates and times from a given range of options. This can save a lot of hassle and makes sure everyone has a chance to have their say.

Sharing documents. File storage and synchronisation services, such as Google Drive, can provide a single place where you can create, share, collaborate on and store your group’s documents and files. This can enable everyone to access relevant files, and settings can be put in place to allow everyone or certain people to edit and add to documents.

Mind mapping. Free online mind mapping software can provide a useful, creative and visual means for recording different people’s ideas and suggestions.

Contact details. Keeping your core group and volunteers’ contact details on record is a good idea, not only for keeping in touch, but also in case of an emergency. Keeping a record of different people’s interests and areas of expertise can also help with utilising the skills you have available.

Case Studies
Country: UK

Southend in Transition use a range of online tools to facilitate the work of their core group. They hold weekly video call meetings using Google Hangouts to allow group members to feedback on progress, plan future activities, and research and take forward their ideas together. They use Doodle polls to schedule their meetings and work days at their community allotment, and all the group’s files and documents are stored on a shared Google Drive, so that everything is in one place and everyone can access them. Mind42 free online mind mapping software is also used to allow members to feed into the future vision of the group and contribute ideas for new activities and future opportunities.