Intranets for charities - do we need one?


An intranet is a private network, accessible only to an organisation's staff. Ten years ago charities had little option but to build their own intranet. Now customised intranets are almost redundant for all but the largest organisations.

Read on to discover why you need an intranet and how to save thousands by getting the best intranet software for free (or close to free if you are a larger charity!).

Here are 3 reasons you need good intranet tools

1. Waste less time through clear communication

Most charities spend much of their cash on salaries so efficient working is crucial.Without intranet software hours can be wasted searching old emails for documents or scouring piles of paper for an elusive meeting record.

Good intranet tools keep documents and communication in the open so that anyone can find what they need quickly. Access to modern search functionality means that even poorly filed documents can be found easily.

2. Improve service for your supporters and beneficiaries

Charities make great use of volunteers and part time workers, which can make it hard to maintain consistent communication with supporters and beneficiaries.

Without intranet software supporters can end up receiving duplicate communications or, worse still, no communication. Case work can also fall between the cracks, impacting on quality of service. Good intranet tools pull together all your organisation’s priorities and let your staff team divide up responsibilities without losing track of who is doing what.

3. Facilitate flexible and remote working

Organisations are coming round to the benefits of remote working: flexibility with family responsibilities, saving time commuting, recruiting staff from outside the vicinity of your HQ. Many charity workers also spend significant time on the move as part of their day to day role.

Without intranet software staff can be tied to the office or wasting valuable time travelling to the office to file papers or log information on and archaic locally hosted database.

Good intranet tools free your staff to work in ways that are best for them and spend more time where they need to be.

Here are 4 recommended FREE intranet tools useful for charities

1. Real time communication

Problems to be solved:

  • Being overwhelmed by email

  • Being out of the loop on conversations

  • Missing decisions and organisation news

Solution: Slack 
Free for unlimited users, 5 integrations and 10,000 search records


2. Helpdesk

Problems to be solved:

  • Inconsistent communication with supporters and beneficiaries

  • Slow email responses

  • Missed opportunities

Solution: Helpscout 
Free for one mailbox and three users


3. Project management

Problems to be solved:

  • Management tracking project status

  • Staff knowing who is doing what when

Solution: Trello 
Free for almost all typical usage


4. Document storage

Problems to be solved:

  • Documents scattered over email, local hard drives and elsewhere

  • Difficulty of securing some documents while leaving others widely accessible

  • Collaborating on documents without overwriting other people’s changes

Solution: Drive 
15GB free, including desktop app compatible with Microsoft and other file types. (also check out Dropbox - 2GB free)


Now build your own intranet for free

By piecing these four systems together your charity can access world class intranet capabilities without paying a penny. Gone are the days of clunky custom built websites with primitive document collaboration tools. Is it time for your organisation to embrace modern tools that can transform the way you work?

Do you use any of these tools and would you recommend them? Let us know your reasons in the comments section below.

13 August 2015
Andy Pearson