Membership communication guide

Introduction

Communication is one of the keys to a successful partnership. At ArtsPool, we’re here to empower you, our members, with the tools needed to effectively communicate with our staff and each other. In this guide, you’ll find ways to communicate that will strengthen our work together, and other ways we hope you’ll use sparingly. 

Your team at a glance

Before you can communicate with ArtsPool, it’s good to know who you’re communicating with. The four roles that make up your ArtsPool service team are:  Financial Operations Lead, Financial Maintenance Lead, Workforce Administration Lead, and Member Liaison. You can find out more about these roles in the article ArtsPool: an introduction.

Who should be involved?

After understanding the composition of your team, consider who needs to be involved in the communication of information.

Is it just one person? If yes, using the new task form in the app and selecting the appropriate service team will route your task to the correct person. 

If it’s more than one person, still use the the new task form in the app, send it to the primary recipient, but also include in a note in your task to add other people who are stakeholders in the task. This is a great method to use if you want to add additional people from your organization.

Communicating with ArtsPool: what’s the best day-to-day method?

It depends! Generally, communicating with ArtsPool falls into three different methods.

The ArtsPool app

As an ArtsPool member, you’ll generally communicate with us through the ArtsPool management portal, a.k.a, the ArtsPool app. This tool operates as the main way for you to interact with ArtsPool, as it allows you to submit and approve bills, provide receipts and other documentation, request grant budgets and grant budget reports, ask questions, and communicate with both ArtsPool staff and each other.

The fastest way to request work from ArtsPool is to use the forms in the ArtsPool app, though you can also submit requests to the app via email by using a special email address specific to your company (aka your magic ArtsPool app address). More on this can be found in the article Requesting work from ArtsPool.

If you ever feel unsure about using this method, questions about the app and interfacing with ArtsPool can often be answered by searching the ArtsPool Help Center.

Email

While email dominates communication today, we’re not a huge fan of it here at ArtsPool. Why? It’s not a shared permanent record like the app is. Your team may change, and rather than having to share materials from one email to another or risk having important historical information siloed in the inboxes of former employees, it’s easier for the ArtsPool staff to search for things in the app. If you need a refresher on searching through tasks in the app, we’ve got you covered!

As a gentle reminder to steer communication to the app, you may see your service team forward emails to the app and then communicate with you there.

That being said, for scheduling meetings or simple inquiries that don’t need to be referenced at a future date, feel free to email your ArtsPool team.

Telephone

Much like email, telephone records are not permanent or accessible to multiple team members, and therefore, not ArtsPool’s favorite way of communicating, especially if the topic of discussion is important to the work ArtsPool is doing for you. 

Certain phone calls are important for ArtsPool’s work:

  • Member liaison check-in calls/Google Hangouts
  • Monthly budget update calls/Google Hangouts

Less frequent communication methods

Retrospective

Every year, each team meets as a group (both ArtsPool and member staff) for an annual retrospective. This meeting is a great opportunity for face-to-face interactions and allows stakeholders to record things or processes within their working relationship that made them feel happy, meh, or sad in the previous year. Once items are compiled, actions for improvement are created from the meh and sad items and then implemented throughout the upcoming year. Your service team reviews their assigned items throughout the year to make sure they are following up on the improvement of our work together.  

ArtsPool has borrowed this concept from the technology development world. If you’d like more information on this process, here’s a great resource from the Agile Alliance.

Slack

If you’re wondering how a certain member does something or want to share some news, you should feel empowered to use our member-facing Slack community called Cabana. This channel is a great tool for member-to-member connections. If you aren’t already a member (the horror!), you can join Cabana through this link.

Ways we’d prefer you not communicate important information

Comments in a Google Doc or Sheet

We have all made comments in a Google Sheet and Doc, but it’s not the best way to communicate when it involves extensive explanations, or is more than two back-and-forth messages. Understandably, comments are immensely helpful for making quick changes, especially to your budgets, and we don’t want to take that away. However, for larger changes that need to be fleshed out, the conversation should occur on the related app task. This creates a permanent reference to the rationale for how and why you arrived at certain numbers.

Comments in Google Docs and Sheets also tend to not be organized in a structured way where it’s easy to look back on.

Text messaging

Texting often starts off as a one-off in an urgent situation, but sometimes continues as a form of communication for tasks that are or should be in the app. For the ArtsPool staff, texting can be seen as a disruption, as it commonly occurs during off hours, received during meetings, or throughout the day in place of using the app.

Texting creates an additional space for everyone when navigating conversations about tasks that require action, which we would prefer to keep in a centralized, shareable location in the ArtsPool app. Text messages are OK when a matter is truly urgent, but they are not a guaranteed way to keep a complete and permanent record of communication.


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