Email is killing internal comms – here’s four alternatives


You know it, I know it. Email is rubbish as an internal communications tool. It was never designed to be a channel for many-to-many conversations, but that’s how we’re all using it. It’s virtually impossible to find stuff within email threads without wasting masses of time. It’s a slow way of getting a response to a quick question. It kills collaboration and creativity within workplaces. It’s woefully inadequate as a project management tool. The only advantage email has is its ubiquity – your staff know how to use it and so do the partners you work with. Other than that, email is dead.

Here’s four email alternatives that charities are using to transform the way they get things done:


Registered charities can get access to Huddle’s collaboration platform for a greatly reduced price. Huddle is everything you wanted your intranet to be but never was. It’s fiendishly simple to upload and collaborate on documents in real time. You can set up individual projects within Huddle, allowing staff teams to work together regardless of their location. Scottish charity Relationships Scotland recently moved their ‘members section’ away from their website on to Huddle. The change has meant less time and money is spent managing their site – in turn, their members get a secure, easy-to-use space to access the resources they need to run their charity.


The Digital team at SCVO have been using Slack for over a year, the real-time messaging tool has flexed along with their needs.

“We have a remit for a range of activities from running Scotland’s digital participation charter to developing innovative projects such as Good HQ through our SCVO labs. Our basic rule is that it should be used for all internal team communications, we only send email if we are forwarding on, or looping someone external in. We use restricted channels to plan events, share research and track software development. For some team members integrations with tools like trello and twitter are incredibly helpful. Using slack has significantly cut down on the time we spend managing outlook inboxes and the team all love it.”

  • Beth Murphy, #OneDigital Project Manager, SCVO


We’ve been using WhatsApp as our primary communications channel on the #OneDigital Action Learning Sets. The sets bring together groups of charity leaders working together on digital change – these are people who gets far too many emails as it is. WhatsApp has proven incredibly successful as a way of sharing research, asking quick questions and updating people on developments. The beauty of WhatsApp is its simplicity – if you can text, you can use it.

Workplace by Facebook

Free for registered charities, Workplace by Facebook could help you limit email overload and replace your creaking old intranet. RNIB have found it particularly useful as a way of breaking down silos within the organisation – staff now come together to work on fundraising ideas, suggest content for the charity’s radio station and much more. Critically, Workplace by Facebook has some powerful accessibility tools built in meaning everyone can take part.

“For the first time, all RNIB employees can collaborate, participate and share ideas. We’ve never had this level of flexibility and accessibility for our blind and partially sighted staff. Workplace has unified different parts of the organization – cutting through hierarchy.”

  • Clive Gardner, Group Head of Digital and Content, RNIB



Which tools have you been using to transform internal comm?

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Ross McCulloch is the founder of Be Good Be Social training and events, as well as Direcor of Third Sector Lab - a digital media agency working exclusively with charities, housing associations and social enterprises. He has worked with a wide range of clients, including Relationships Scotland, SCVO, Oxfam Scotland, Enable Scotland and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Ross also sits on Foundation Scotland's Impact and Innovation Committee and is Chair of Comic Relief's Community Cash Glasgow funding panel.