Public charities and other not-for profit organization can now make use of the latest tools for team collaboration. The most popular, collaboration intranets and extranets, are used by businesses of all sizes to improve communication and collaboration, and are now showing up in the not-for-profit arena.
A collaboration extranet is internet based and offers greater security than email. Moreover, it allows users to organize their communications in ways that aren't possible with ordinary email. A good extranet requires no complicated installation and training process. It can be installed in a few minutes and can be taught to inexperienced computer users in less than twenty minutes.
National and regional charities make use of secure extranets to communicate accurately, in real time, with their installations away from home offices. They also use extranets for working with members of their boards of directors and with major contributors.
According to a high-level executive in a well known Community Service Organization, "Our extranet is very helpful because it allows us to work much more effectively with our Board of Directors. Many of our Board members live far away from our headquarters and cannot spare the time for frequent meetings or even for phone calls. With our extranet, we are able to keep them up-to-date on all of our challenges and opportunities."
She continued, "Because the extranet allows for instant feedback, and because every person with a password can see everyone elses comments, our communications are faster and more accurate. The result is better guidance for us in management."
Extranet software and intranet software can be "rented" from outside providers, who host the extranet or intranet solution and make it available to the non-profit organization's users via
any web browser.
This can be a good solution in that it reduces the burden on an organization's technical resources. Storage capabilities are seldom a concern.
Many intranet and extranet providers create special rates for charitable organization. The discounts are often significant, sometimes less than 25% of their usual commercial rates.