As we roll into 2018, I can't help but think why are chorus boards still operating as we did twenty years ago? We now have technological tools that can help us operate more efficiently and achieve more as a chorus if we only use them to our advantage. One of my favorite tools for team collaboration is Slack and I think chorus boards should start using it. Here's why:
First and foremost, Slack is free. Yes, free!
Keeps Communication Channels Open 24/7
Boards need allowance to have long-winded discussions but these are often hindered by current forms of communication such as email and in-person meetings. With email comes the fear of clogging inboxes, which keeps communications brief and with a low likelihood of follow-ups. In-person meetings typically have time restrictions. Board members may find that they want to discuss a topic more thoroughly but simply don't have the time to do so.
With Slack, board members can communicate freely and openly whenever they like. Use Slack's channels to create various discussion topics such as "fundraising ideas," "chorus operations," or "chorus technology." When it comes time for the in-person board meetings, members will have already had ample time to discuss the issues at hand making the meetings run smoothly and efficiently.
Hosts Online Voting, Polls, and Surveys
Slack can integrate to a variety of poll and survey applications. Check out the application Polly. Using the function /polly in Slack, you can create customized surveys and polls for the board.
Need an item approved by the board before your next board meeting? Simply set up a poll with options "yea," "nay," or "abstain" and post to your channel.
Need to schedule a meeting time that works best for everyone? Create a survey with sample dates and times for your next meeting and post to your channel.
Shows Committee-Specific Channels
If your chorus board has a committee such as finance or fundraising, this committee can create their own Slack channel visible to only members in the committee. This allows them to work directly on their committee's projects without involving outside members in the discussions.
Allows Private Messaging & Tagging
If you need to take communications offline for a bit, you can send private messages to individual board members via Slack allowing you to communicate directly to the person you want to speak to.
Alternatively, if you want to draw someone's attention to a specific idea or post within the channels, you can simply "tag" the user so they can see it!
Gives Ability to Manage Projects and Assign Tasks
There are bound to be projects and action items that come out of your communications via Slack. The Board Chair or President can help identify these action items and assign them to a board member via Slack's various project management app integrations such as "Trello," "Asana," "To-do," and "Busybot." The apps themselves will automatically remind the owner to complete their task or project by the designated due date - leaving your hands free to do other things!
Connects to Google Drive for File Collaboration
Slack also has a Google Drive app integration. Simply hook up your Google Drive account so you can share and collaborate on documents directly in Slack. Slack will keep all shared documents in its own file manager so you can easily see which documents are being worked on via the application.
Gives a Way to Recognize Board Members
A board is usually made up of volunteers, so it's important to remember that they need recognition too! With Slack's emoji's and additional applications like Growbot, you can send shoutouts to board members and even tie their achievements to the core values of the organization. Slack is a great way to keep people informed of the team's successes and provides a place to thank each member individually!