I talk with non-profit leaders every single day and ask the question, “What is one of your greatest challenges with committees?” One of the answers I get just about every time is getting committee members to respond. This is a major issue considering that, for most non-profit organizations, committees are the driving force behind achieving their mission.
Going deeper, I usually ask what platforms are used to handle getting things done with committee members. The answers I get are all over the place.
Some use email.
Some use popular “team collaboration tools” such as Basecamp, Slack, HipChat, etc.
Some just rely on physical meetings.
I’m not here to push or bash any one of these methods.
Email has its purpose.
Popular collaboration tools have their purpose.
Real life has its purpose.
The issue that committee-based organizations face is not in the platforms they choose, but rather how well their committee members adopt the chosen platform as a method for communicating.
Committee members have other responsibilities that are constantly pulling away their time, attention and energy. Their job. Their family. Just life in general.
So how do you choose a platform that actually supports getting committee members to participate, respond and truly use as a tool to support the objectives of the organization.
If you have committee members that are spread out geographically, physical meetings might not work.
If you have committee members that have an over-loaded email inbox (i.e. just about everybody), relying solely on email might not work.
If committee members have to decipher how to use your popular collaboration platform (e.g. Basecamp, Slack, Hipchat, etc.) to get things done, these platforms might not work. These platforms are usually designed with “teams” in mind, not “committees”. BIG difference.
The platform you choose to collaborate with committee members and get things done needs to enable them to focus.
It needs to take the guessing game out of the equation.
It needs to spell out what they are to do, and how to do it.
If the platform you choose fails to meet any of these criteria, your committee members most likely won’t adopt it.
Your committee members don’t have time to “figure out” your platform. Again, they have jobs. They have a life.
The goal is not to use platforms that consume MORE of their time and energy. The goal is LESS.
Consider choosing a “purpose-driven” platform.
A platform that is specifically designed for how your committees work.
A platform that takes out the guessing game of how to use it.
At Social HubSite, we are constantly working to refine the features and details that make the platform more “purpose-driven” for committee-based organizations.
I’m talking about details such as the default placeholder text.Clear and relevant descriptions on what to do next. No guessing.
Focus only on the features that mean something to committee members.
A simple and clean interface with a focus on search. This supports getting in and out of the system quickly. Something committee members value.
Of course, I could go on and on, but I think you get my point.
Getting committees to participate and respond is more than just choosing platforms that have the capability to handle collaboration. There is definitely no lack of choices there.
The key is choosing platforms that are designed to get committee members to participate and respond.
As I mentioned, not all platforms have to be digital.
A well designed “real life” meeting can work well.
A well designed “digital” collaboration software can work well.
Some popular mainstream tools have the capability to handle committee collaboration, but don’t put a focus (i.e. aren’t purpose-driven) on being designed to get committee members to participate and respond.
The platform you choose to handle getting things done with your committees should not be a choice of capability, but rather a choice of design. When you understand that, you’ll choose the right platform for getting committee members to respond, take action and become a stronger driving force in helping you achieve your mission.