One of our values at The Harvest Fund is transparency, which is why we want to be transparent about our operations - we believe it’s our duty to our followers, donors, and, most importantly, our farmers! As a US 501(c)(3), we leverage no-cost or discounted cloud-based tools so that we can direct the majority of our funds to our field activities. Most importantly, since The Harvest Fund was an idea born in Silicon Valley, we choose to bring our knowledge and best tools to ensure optimal organizational efficiency. That way, we can be strong stewards of donor funds while ensuring the best services to our farmers.
Like many organizations, we had to pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic. We limited our field and international travel. We dealt with (and continue to deal with) connectivity issues in Zambia. Most of the tools that we use allow us to collaborate even offline through their apps whether we’re in one of our cooperative’s villages or working from home wifi. Overall, these tools have improved our time management, organizational efficiency, and virtual communications. With these platforms, we are able to continue our presence in Zambia and simultaneously expand beyond the obstacles brought on by the pandemic.
So, what are these tools? Let’s find out!
Asana is a project management tool that was founded in 2008 by ex-facebook employees. Asana allows us to collaborate virtually across time zones and countries. Team members can add tasks, chat with one another about certain tasks, upload relevant files, receive reminders, and re-delegate specific tasks. And all of this can be done at the tip of their fingers with their phone through the app. This readily available platform has helped our staff alleviate any communication barriers because we are spread out across Zambia and the United states. Currently, we are using Asana to manage our farmer services, fundraising, communications, and administrative tasks. Additionally, our funders and external partners can also collaborate through Asana so they have access to what our project progress looks like.
Airtable is a data management platform founded in 2012 in San Francisco, California. It is a database-spreadsheet tool that operates on the cloud, meaning that it can be accessed from anywhere - great for a global team! As opposed to Google Sheets, the spreadsheet characteristics allow for multi-dimensional data views and cells such as ‘checkbox’, or ‘drop-down list’. This service is great for The Harvest Fund to track donor, funder, grant, social media and intern data. It also allows for cross-collaboration in read or edit views which means that pro-bono consultants, interns, and other social enterprise partners are able to access the data they need through the easy-to-use interface. The cloud-based and collaborative interface allows for us to streamline our internal operations so that we can focus on what’s best for our farmers with no time wasted searching for old excel data in emails!
3. Google Workspace
Our Google Workspace includes our corporate email, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. There is also Google Forms, Chat, and Meet as well as the option for work insights to track our usage. Like Asana and Airtable, Google Workspace is cloud-based and allows for cross-collaboration on any of their applications. It is also completely free for non-profit organizations, which gives us the financial flexibility to focus our services on our farming cooperatives. With Google Drive and Docs, we are able to store and share essential documents and photos or videos, even outside of the organization. The great storage and virtual collaboration aspect of Google Workspace allows us to:
- Share photos or large files with donors
- Upload all field photos and videos easily from phone to the Google Drive app, which is useful and timely given the range of our field activities
- Easily share links between Drive and Facebook’s WhatsApp