Slack – a free time-saving tool you need to know about

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“In our office at High Speed Training, we don’t use internal email or Outlook and we don’t send each other paper love notes from desk to desk. We use Slack. We love it. We’re not endorsed by Slack, but we should be as we rave about it so much. If it’s good enough for Adobe, eBay and BuzzFeed, then it’s good enough for us.”, says Emma Bennett.

Slack is a communication tool

It reminds me of a professional, slick version of the classic MSN Messenger, but for organisations instead of teenagers. Pictured below is a screenshot of Slack from their blog.

Slack

During my time as a volunteer coordinator, I’ve battled with email chain after email chain. I’ve spent so many hours trailing through old messages looking for telephone numbers, small details or important dates. Moving my volunteers to Slack means searching for any detail quickly and easily. I can communicate with them all on one channel without needing a mailing list, and receive instant text-message-like responses from those using the app.

Here are seven reasons to use Slack.

  1. Slack is free.

Let’s face it, we’re all strapped for cash and everyone loves a freebie. There’s no way we would waste valuable funds on expensive digital tools, but this one is free, and it’s great. Slack also has a non-profit program where third sector organisations can get more features and storage for free, by applying with their registered charity number.

  1. Everything is secure.

Everything is password protected and all conversations are completely private. No lost data, everyone is happy. I don’t know about you but running a charity means I have zero time to be worrying about information getting lost or stolen.

  1. Simple to use.

Any tech change can be hard on charity workers who already have a system in place. It means training everyone to use it and generally, people like to stick with what they know. That being said, even the techno-dinosaurs in your organisation can master this tool with ease. The design is so user-friendly and once you have everyone set up, you’ll be on your way and you won’t want to use email again.

  1. All conversations are searchable.

Everything in Slack is searchable, so you can find past conversations quickly and easily. No need to scroll through everything, just type in what you need…‘fundraising meeting April’ or ‘XYZ research spreadsheet’… and you’re away.

  1. Use Slack everywhere.

Working from home has never been easier and charity workers, in my experience, are all about the flexi-time. The difference between email and Slack is how instantaneous your responses can be. You don’t have to configure Outlook and you don’t need to worry about accessing Webmail.

  1. Centralise all communication.

Everyone is using the same tool and everyone is uploading their documents in one place so all the information is centralised. This makes everything more streamlined and, quite frankly, in a world full of red tape the simpler the better.

  1. Integrate everything you need.

You can easily integrate Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Twitter, Trello, Dropbox and loads of other useful tools that you may use already. You can send and receive everything you need without stressing about attachment size or whether your colleague is using Windows ’97.

So there we have it.

I’m writing this as a serial volunteer, trustee, volunteer coordinator and user of Slack. I’m an advocate for this tool because I genuinely think, with consideration, it might make life just that little easier in your organisation. If you decide to try it, please let me know in the comments so I know I’m not alone in my love for this little piece of technological magic.

Speaking of making things easier – have you downloaded our free local PR toolkit?

free Local PR Toolkit

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Emma Bennett is a charity blogger and works in digital for High Speed Training, who provide online safeguarding and personal development courses. She is a charity Trustee and Volunteer Coordinator for a Leeds Supplementary School, and a former researcher & administrator for Voluntary Action Leeds and Young Lives Leeds. Emma is extremely passionate about volunteering, young people and mental health and has worked extensively on a wide variety of third sector projects. Follow her on Twitter at @emm_benn.