Skip navigation

Introduction to our IT systems

Hello and welcome! This page outlines the IT systems we provide to support our volunteers (i.e. you!) which enables our volunteers to work together with minimum hassle.

Getting through this page will take about 20 minutes if you’re tech savvy, or about double that if you take the time to really get stuck in.

If some of the below looks daunting, then please be reassured that everyone else in our organisation has learnt (or is learning!) how to use these sytems, so all you have to do is ask.

We communicate via Slack

Getting onto Slack is probably the most important thing you can do if you want to get involved with what we do.

We use Slack to communicate with one another. Slack is a communications platform which mixes different elements of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and email. We love it because it is really inclusive and it enables information to flow seamlessly between our volunteers, and without filing everyone’s email inboxes! We use Slack for everything from sharing interesting articles, to organising events, or just saying congratulations to someone who has done a great job!

Getting onto Slack

Our Slack network isn't open to public access, so you'll need to ask for an invite. The invite arrives via email, so look for an email from Slack, then open it and click Join! If you haven’t got an invite or you can't find it, then please get in contact us

Slack works best if you spend the time to install the program on your PC, MacAndroid or iOS. Alternatively, you can access it directly through your browser, but it’s clunkier.

Using Slack

We recommend you start with this page on how to use the software, or alternatively this video by ACF is really easy to follow (thanks ACF!). If you are having any issues then please get in touch as we’re more than happy to talk you through it.

Once you’re up and running go to Preferences and then the Notifications tab. We recommend you enable notifications for Direct messages, mentions & keywords so that you don’t miss out when people are trying to get in contact with you. Again, getting onto Slack is the best thing you can do towards getting involved with what we do!

Within Slack, on the left of the screen you’ll notice there are Channels (think conversations) and we have a whole bunch of them! Most channels are for a team of people working together, but some are specific to a particular project or event we’re organising. Feel free to bring a discussion to whichever Channel you think is the best fit!

Our channel list as of late 2020

We create and share with Google Drive

Our working files are stored on Google Drive, which you can access by going to drive.google.com. If you're new to Google Drive then please watch this intro video.

We use Google Drive because it keeps all our files in one secure location and enables easy collaboration between our volunteers. Plus it avoids the faff of emailling Word Documents between each other!

For obvious reasons we don't give our volunteers access to every document the organisation has. So each team has their own Shared Drive, and you'll have to ask your team leader to provide access.

If you haven't already got a Google account then you'll be prompted to create one. 

We talk with Google Meet

We use Google Meets for video conferencing. It’s very similar to Zoom or Microsoft Teams, however it is free and works within any browser so you don’t need to install anything to use it.

To use Meet, head to meet.google.com and follow the instructions. If it’s a bit daunting then please check out an introductory video here.

Note that if you haven't got a Google account then you'll be prompted to create one to access any meetings.

We schedule meetings with Google Calendar

If you want to schedule a meeting then you can do this using Google Calendar. It’s pretty straight forward to see what you’ve been invited to, as well as invite other people to. Check it out at calendar.google.com.

Note that if you haven't got a Google account then you'll be prompted to create one to access any meetings.

One of the cool things about Google Calendar is how easy it is to integrate with a Google Meet videoconferencing invite. 

We use Miro as a whiteboard

Each Team also has their own Miro Board for when they need to brainstorm or plan out things using a flexible, visible format. We won't cover here how to use Miro board because it's best learnt on-the-job (so to speak!), but you can introduce yourself to the concept by watching this video.