Technology offers us ways to streamline processes and share information easily, but it can be a bit daunting to use if you’re not used to it. For volunteers and clubs, the benefits of technology can save tons of time and money, something hugely valuable in the non-profit and fundraising world. We’ve asked Joe Bax, Club Treasurer / Registrar of the Kinsmen Club of Barrie, to share his club’s experience using technology:
“Back in 2007, the Kinsmen Club of Barrie used hard copy methods for bookkeeping purposes, money transactions and reports. I started sending a monthly email to members with an Excel spreadsheet of our current club report for them to review. For the members who had trouble viewing the Excel spreadsheet, I brought in my laptop to every meeting so they could review the information."
The benefit? Everyone was up-to-date with a click of a button.
“Our members were thrilled to have this way of information sharing. It’s readily available and the information provided is up-to-date. This was the start of better things to come!”
Joe also said, “Since I bring my laptop to every meeting, I record all our meeting transactions right then and there.”
Talk about a time saver.
“Another giant leap for our club was when we started using Dropbox - a virtual storage to house the club’s spreadsheets, documents, photos, videos, etc. We would update sign-in sheets, contact lists and anything you can think of.
“Dropbox has a free application you can download onto your smartphone or computer. Every time a member is updating a document or spreadsheet, those who have the application will receive a notification. It’s fast, instant and saves me time instead of constantly asking members for information. They can do it themselves and at their leisure.”
Documents Joe would share with the members via Dropbox include: the club contact list, agendas and meeting minutes, bulletin, Notice of Motions, letter templates and club letterhead, Treasurer’s report and project reports and trackers.
Joe has some extra words of advice:
- If you have non-techie members, spend extra time walking them through the online tools.
- Explain to everyone how it will improve the way of doing business within your club.
- Start small; use an online club contact form or agenda before transferring everything online.
- Spend time purging old or unused online documents when the files get cluttered.
Another benefit of putting things online? “It’s a great opportunity that promotes leadership and mentoring skills.”
“Our club is also using various social media tools like Facebook to promote club activities, projects and fundraisers.” Social media is an easy way of sharing information and reaching a large audience.
If your club is looking for a way to stay organized, transparent and efficient, there are many online tools to help you through the process. In any time of change, it may seem overwhelming at first but once you the hang of it, it will save you resources and time – something we can all use.