Giving Compass' Take:

• Beth Kanter discusses how nonprofit organizations can collaborate effectively without being overwhelmed by both the internal and external collaboration tools that are available. 

• Why is nonprofit collaboration essential to drive mission goals? What does efficient collaboration look like for nonprofits? 

• Read more about how to innovate the sector with nonprofit collaboration. 


Online collaboration tools and platforms give nonprofits the opportunity for connectivity and collaboration internally as well as with external stakeholders like volunteers and board members. And, that’s a good thing. But it can lead to being overwhelmed or what has been dubbed “Collaborative Overload” or “Collaboration Tech Tool Overload.” This is the burnout from too many emails, meetings, and collaborative tech tools that limits our organization’s ability to get stuff done.

Establishing work flow norms is about how we do the work together effectively and efficiently. But how exactly do you do this with your nonprofit staff? Start here.

Step 1: Brainstorm. Have participants use sticky notes to do a rapid brainstorm answering questions related to your online collaboration platforms.

Step 2: Synthesize. As a group you can cluster the ideas or task someone to synthesize the ideas into a set of work flow norms and expectations. They can be shared back with participants in a google document for feedback.

Step 3: Use It. As issues come up, revise your work flow norms to see how well you are following through. One approach is to take a few minutes at the beginning or end of your meeting to reflect on how well you are applying the norms to your work. It is a good idea to update the norms process annually, as you change or add collaboration platforms, or when new staff come on boa

Read the full article about establishing work flow norms at nonprofits at Beth Kanter's Blog.