Nonprofits and Data

last person joined: 5 days ago 

This group is for those interested in learning and sharing about all things data-related for nonprofits. The Nonprofits and Data group is for people using data to serve a mission, either directly or by improving nonprofits and the nonprofit sector. That includes everything from collecting data and managing databases to analytics, data visualization and data mining. Here are some examples of topics we discuss: using data to improve organizational effectiveness, measuring impact, using data for storytelling, tools for data management and analysis, figuring out the “right” data to collect, and learning skills to help us use data better.

Often reused documents -- how to organize

  • 1.  Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 12, 2018 13:16
    As part of our developing an overall knowledge manage strategy, we will create a central repository (reference library) of  organizational documents that are often needed for reuse.
    • talking points
    • slide presentations
    • one-pagers on the organization or its programs
    • boiler plates
    • etc.

    We are in the process of thinking through criteria for documents that qualify for this repository, guidelines for ensuring the docs remain up-to-date, and guidelines for users (i.e. if you take a document, save-as, and revise, does the revision go into the library?)

    I was wondering if anyone in the community has worked on a similar project and if you have any suggestions.

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    Ilene Weismehl
    Knowledge & Database Manager
    Community Catalyst
    Boston, MA
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  • 2.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 13, 2018 17:21
    Edited by Medha Nanal Oct 14, 2018 00:46
    Hi Irene,

    I've seen a structure of ownership to documents/folders and access control working well for organizations.

    - Anything that needs to be viewed or edited by multiple people in the organization can go to a central drive
    - For private/limited shared work, individuals may have their own private sub-folders, where they may maintain copies.
    - Some documents will be "live documents", meaning that they will be expected to undergo revisions and edits. In such cases, assigning ownership to one person or group over those documents is a good idea. The concept of ownership is that any changes to the documents will be ok'ed by these owners before being committed to the document. Alternatively, make this portion of the drive or individual documents only editable to those whom you trust as owners, and read-only for others. This will prevent unintended, unauthorized edits.
    - It's a good idea to provide at least a Read-Only access to everyone, so that people refer to this knowledge library freely and independently.

    Hope this helps!

    ------------------------------
    Medha Nanal
    Strategic Data/Database Consultant for Nonprofits (Fundraising, Operations, Programs)
    www.topcloudconsult.com
    medhananal@topcloudconsult.com
    650.600.9374
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 19, 2018 08:24
    @Medha Nanal and @Kyle O'Donnell​​​ thank  you for your response and questions. Here is some context that I should have included in my original question:
    • We are developing an organizational knowledge management strategy
    • We are preparing for a migration to the cloud and are (very) soon going to choose our cloud-based file management tool
    • We will restructure and streame our server folder structure.
    • All of the above takes a long time (as we all know) so we are also doing some short-term projects.

    The project I described in the question is to have a reference library/central repository of documents that people always need. Documents that people now either find with difficulty or that they often end up recreating.

    @Medha Nanal your response addresses a big part of the question, which has to do the structure of permissions and what would be best practice. And guidelines for maintaining the repository. Thank you!

    In the short-term, I am also interested to hear if anyone has created such a reference library of often reused documents. And if so, I'm interested to hear how you built it? What criteria did you use to determine what documents qualify for inclusion? Who decides? Did people use it? Did it work?


    ------------------------------
    Ilene Weismehl
    Knowledge and Database Manager
    Community Catalyst
    Boston, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 19, 2018 12:56
    Hi Ilene,

    If you are already at the finalist stage of your decision process I am not attempting to disrupt that flow but instead let you know that I can provide insight and suggestions due to my experience.

    Regarding your questions I would be happy to recommendations of how to build a library of documents and group them based upon common themes. The real question is are you simply looking to build an online repository for only reference library or is there future goal to have a solution to include all documents/workflow throughout entire organization?

    If you are still considering your best option for a cloud repository allow me to give you a bit of insight based upon the document management software I sell and speak to all of your listed needs. Our solution includes all of your needs out-of-box (not priced per module) with simple naming convention configuration for folder structure and file naming. Folder Structure and File naming is automated within our system for consistency and we provide a flat-fee service to convert/migrate your existing server-based folder structure and files into our system. Permissions are based upon users/groups. The system can be easily designed so that certain users only see the "reference library" while other users/departments are utilizing the system for so much more (accounting, HR, grants, etc.). Version control is standard so users only see the latest and greatest version and check-in/check-out is standard feature to ensure that users are not editing documents at same time (permissionable ability). Any file format is acceptable including audio files and video so users will not be forced to only view as PDF if these files are templates. Even though they are editable file formats if user does not have permission to edit then there is no concern. If you have your own cloud partner AWS, Google, etc. you can purchase our software and install in your own environment. We also offer our own cloud managed platform via Google Cloud Compute.

    ------------------------------
    K. Howard Enterprise Solutions LLC
    Kyle O'Donnell
    President
    973-866-7366
    kyle@khesolutions.com
    www.ademero.com
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 23, 2018 09:27
    @Kyle O'Donnell thank you for your questions and insights. We have been engaged in discovery since May as part of our developing an organizational knowledge management strategy/tool set. We are going to restructure how we manage all organizational  documents and institutional knowledge. This central repository for reused documents is a "short-term" project so we can see results while working on the longer-term project.
    We explored different options for our file/document management and collaboration tool and have made our choice.


    ------------------------------
    Ilene Weismehl
    Knowledge and Database Manager
    Community Catalyst
    Boston, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 23, 2018 10:21
    Have you been assigned an account manager from the software company? He/She should be able to provide assistance with your questions about discovery of folder/permission structure.

    ------------------------------
    K. Howard Enterprise Solutions LLC
    Kyle O'Donnell
    President
    973-866-7366
    kyle@khesolutions.com
    www.ademero.com
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 24, 2018 11:03
    Hi Ilene,

    I'm so glad you've brought up this topic because we're also working on creating an organizational knowledge management strategy, starting with an org-wide team folder cleanup project. By the end of our cleanup project, each team will be operating out of newly structured folders on our enterprise shared drive, and staff will be able to find info assets according to the team that owns (meaning creates and manages edits) those assets. Much of what I'm sharing echoes what Medha and Kyle have already said, but here are some examples of what we're doing to manage frequently referenced documents: 


    1. We're using a cloud-based document management and storage system (Sharepoint) to store our enterprise foundational documents, such as our service delivery model slides and our internal metrics control book. Although we have not yet explored the full functionalities of Sharepoint (and are therefore utilizing our shared network drives as our primary document storage location), we have the benefit of using Sharepoint's version tracking to automatically save previous versions of documents when we want to track any major changes that speak to the evolution of a document. 

    2. In instances when a team prints out packets of information comprised of different documents, we create a Source Files folder for that packet and work with the team to create an understanding that this folder is to be used to store the editable versions of the individual documents. The full packet is then saved as a PDF in the parent folder so that the PDF and the Source Files folder both sit at the same tier. The guideline here is to update the final packet as often as any of the Source Files are updated. This helps with retrieval of both the final packet and the source files because it keeps all of the source files in the same location where the finalized packet is stored, but the final packet, which is the thing that is most often accessed, has higher visibility.

    3. We also have a folder of most-used branded materials saved in a folder called "Enterprise Resources" in our Marketing & Communications team folder. While access to the rest of the items in the MarComms team's folders are restricted to only the members of that team, the Enterprise Resources folder is an open folder that gives everyone in the enterprise Read-only permissions. This folder holds items such as letterhead, sell sheets, PowerPoint templates, certificate templates, recruitment flyers, and print-ready logo files. Giving other staff Read-only permission here allows staff to open files and add their own content to company letterhead, for instance, but they cannot save their edited version in the MarComms folders. This keeps the templates intact, and prevents anyone from saving their changes over the original template.

    Since it looks like you're planning to restructure your folder structure, too, I'd be happy to talk more about our folder re-structuring project and to swap ideas with you!


    ------------------------------
    Julie Chiu
    Quality & Standards Manager
    Cara
    Chicago, IL
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 26, 2018 07:09
    @Julie Chiu Thank you for your response! It sounds like your Enterprise folder is very similar to what we are working on now--in this short-term project (versus the larger revision of our folder structure.) I will contact you individually to set up a time to speak. Thank you again! And thank you to @Medha Nanal and @Kyle O'Donnell for your earlier responses.  You have all helped me think of more questions I'll need to explore--with internal staff and with our vendor. ​​

    ------------------------------
    Ilene Weismehl
    Knowledge and Database Manager
    Community Catalyst
    Boston, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 26, 2018 11:25
    I do not mean to disrupt your process but if you are spending the time to revamp your file storage organization enterprise-wide you should not limit yourself to "folder structure". Folder structure is now considered old technology in the Document Management world.

    You should investigate (compare) metadata tagging of documents and systems with ability to set permissions at the document-level. Documents will still reside in "folders" however you can determine what types of documents within each folder users should have access to.

    A common and simple example comparing folder-based permissions vs. document-based permissions (Metadata):

    Human Resources - Employee Packet

    Folder-Based Permissions:
    You will be forced to create and manage several folders per employee because each group of documents related to the employee should only be accessible by certain individuals and/or government regulations. Common folder type are Personnel Folder, Confidential Folder, Affirmative Action Confidential Folders, I-9 File Folder, Medical File Folder, Benefits File Folder, plus others.

    You can see that you will need to create and manager 6+ Folders per employee (Current/Termed) and this can get excessive as your company grows to hundreds or even thousands.

    Document-Based Permissions:
    You define each document type and simply tag each with a unique metadata identifier such as Employee ID. All Document Types exist in a single folder however you can set permissions per document type. Two users (who have access) can view the folder but see different document types based upon their permissions.

    With Metadata tags, software systems can automatically build folder structure and name files automatically so you do not have to manage anything. Typically a full audit trail for the system as well as per individual document is available for compliance/audit purposes.

    Another quick example for your enterprise-wide approach is when you have a user who should have access to documents that exist across multiple departments:

    In a folder-based platform you would not want to give them access to ALL of the documents across multiple folders (departments). In a document-based platform you can simply give an HR user for example access to see certain Finance document types instead of giving him/her access to everything in the Finance Department.

    ------------------------------
    K. Howard Enterprise Solutions LLC
    Kyle O'Donnell
    President
    973-866-7366
    kyle@khesolutions.com
    www.ademero.com
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Often reused documents -- how to organize

    Posted Oct 13, 2018 18:59
    Ilene,

    When you say create a centralized repository are you planning to develop the platform from scratch? Or use a third-party technology?

    ------------------------------
    K. Howard Enterprise Solutions LLC
    Kyle O'Donnell
    President
    973-866-7366
    kyle@khesolutions.com
    www.ademero.com
    ------------------------------