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* News updates about your organization * Special events, discount purchase offers * Legislative alerts and tracking notices * Fundraising appeals * Membership renewal reminders
2. Having clear e-mail usage procedures. Sometimes it is preferable to use direct personal contact such as telephone or letters instead of e-mail - for instance, when responding to complaints, or thanking donors for gifts.
But your staff should be clear and comfortable about using e-mail to save time and resources. Sending bulk e-mail from a good database is faster and cheaper than sending bulk faxes. One association that I consulted with recently linked their staff bonuses directly to savings realized from using e-mail over fax.
A great deal of Board business can be conducted via e-mail. This may not include actual voting (check your by-laws and legal obligations for this). But much of background information that is provided at a typical Board meeting could be disseminated by e-mail ahead of time, thus freeing up valuable meeting time for substantive discussion.
How effective is your Website in promoting and achieving your strategy? An intranet (password protected area) can be very useful if you have staff or chapters geographically distant from your head office. It can provide training materials, mentoring discussion boards, templates for frequently used documents, etc. And, you can have a private section of your site for your Board, as an alternative to sending information via e-mail.
Depending on your operations, there are other technologies that might be appropriate for you to consider as you plan your future strategy and investments. These could include handheld devices and laptops if you have employees who are often out of office. Voice recognition software can be used for dictation by disabled staff, or those who are really not comfortable with keyboards. For larger organizations, virtual private networks may be appropriate for file sharing and synchronized database maintenance.
Whatever your size, use strategic and prioritizing "What's One Thing . . .?" questions that I listed above, together with your estimation of current inefficiencies in staff time and resources to come up with a wish list. Then you can start to analyze potential investments that you need to make, and potential savings or revenue that you can realize in longer term.
© Philippa Gamse, 2002. All rights reserved.
Philippa Gamse, CyberSpeaker, is an eBusiness and technology strategy consultant and professional speaker. Check out her free tipsheet for 19 ideas to promote your Website: http://www.CyberSpeaker.com/tipsheet.html Philippa can be reached at (831) 465-0317.