Three Ways to Connect Virtually that Won’t Result in a Headdesk

Let’s talk about the one word guaranteed to send shudders down the spine of many a nonprofit professional: meetings. You’re going to have a lot of them, and after you take that important step of joining a board of directors, you’re going to have more meetings that don’t involve a bunch of people who are coming to the same building for work every day.

Once you start trying to get work done with people across varying schedules and locations, travel time to those meetings starts to add up, and before long, you might find yourself sacrificing productivity through all the driving (or biking!) back and forth. Mitigating this issue is something we are working on internally at YNPN Twin Cities, which is one reason I was glad to see our April Emerging Leaders Network lunch with the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits focused on connecting virtually. Brendon Liner of Nology led this part of the conversation, where I learned about some tools I’m itching to try out some time. 

Here are three of my favorites:


There are lots of conference call tools out there, but Speek looks like a contender for one of the best. For one thing, it’s free! Speek has also eliminated some of the awkwardness involved in calling in, finding your PIN, and wondering who else is on the call. Instead, the organizer sends you a link, where you can then have Speek call you and see who else is on from the website. There’s also easy drag and drop document sharing, which is sure to come in handy. Check it out at


This one’s for when you need to share your screen to dive deeply into a document, website mockup, or anything else you can show on your computer. Participants enter a code into the website to connect, and can talk by chat or Internet calling once they are. You can share control of your screen with other participants, and send them documents along the way. This one’s free too, though there’s also a Pro version that offers more features. The URL’s the same as the name,


Ever tried to explain to someone by chat or phone how to access or use something online? Do you then find yourself banging your head on the wall in frustration over how you just can’t make yourself clearly understood? Jing to the rescue! Use it to record a short screencast that shows someone exactly what to do step by step, and narrate your progress along the way. Another free one as long as your screencasts are five minutes or less. Find it on

Do you have any favorites of your own to share? Let us know!


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