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As numerous businesses and organizations continue to mandate non-essential employees to work remotely amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Austin Community Foundation has made the decision to close our physical office while our staff follows a compulsory work-from-home policy until further notice.

Sr. Philanthropic Officer, Amy Allen, sharing her remote workspace with the team.

As a small team, we typically work in the office as much as possible. Being able to pop into someone’s office for a quick conversation or have a donor visit to discuss their philanthropic goals is something we normally rely on as an essential way to stay connected with our team and our community.

Of course, during this difficult time the health and safety of our team members, donors and partners take priority. Working remotely is not without its challenges, but our team is definitely up for the task. By relying heavily on some of the tools we’ve already been using, the majority of our team has been able to transition into remote work seamlessly.

Our tools & resources:
  • Asana – Asana is a web-based project management tool that our team has been using since 2018 for everything from event planning to tracking donor communications and stewardship. For teams of 15 or fewer, there’s a free Asana Basic plan. Qualifying nonprofits can receive a 50% discount on Asana Premium or Asana Business plans.
  • Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams is a web and application-based chat tool, part of the Microsoft Office Suite. Since our team already uses Outlook as our email service, utilizing Teams was an easy choice. The chat functionality allows us to quickly and easily share status updates (as well as numerous gifs!). Qualifying nonprofits can receive Office 365 products as a donation or upgrade to advanced features at a significant discount.
  • Outlook – The tried and true office communication strategy, email. We share our Outlook calendars with one another and our calendars automatically sync to Teams so people know if we’re away or busy. Since implementing Asana, we’ve significantly cut down on our internal emails and can better ensure team members aren’t left off important email chains.
  • GoToMeeting – Historically, we haven’t had a lot of virtual meetings, but when we need it we utilize GoToMeeting. While working remotely, we’ll use GoToMeeting for staff conference calls as well as any essential external conference calls. As of March 18, 2020, LogMeIn (the parent company of GoToMeeting) “will provide critical front-line service providers, including eligible healthcare providers, educational institutions, municipalities, and non-profit organizations as well as any current LogMeIn customer with free, organization-wide use of many LogMeIn products for 3 months through the availability of Emergency Remote Work Kits.” Learn more on their website >
  • Loaner equipment – The majority of our staff works from stationary desktop computers when in the office. When asking our team to work-from-home for the foreseeable future, our Operations and IT Manager, Erica Faltesek, is helping make sure our team has the equipment they need for a successful remote workstation. This includes a limited number of loaner laptops and desktop displays as well as detailed documentation on how to securely access internal files remotely.
  • Phones – Our external phone lines are set up to provide voicemail access remotely so our team can easily stay in touch with our community partners, fundholders and the general public. Additionally, we’ve all shared and saved each other’s cell phone numbers when a quick phone call is needed most.

Additionally, we rely on our technology partners to help keep things moving externally for our community partners, fundholders and the general public. Our partners include Foundant Technologies, the team behind our donor and grant portals, and Pinkaloo, the team that powers Modern Giving, our simple and flexible charitable giving tool.

We’re committed to continuing our support and services for our fundholders, investors, community partners and everyone in between. The Foundation will continue to operate remotely Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. You may reach our staff virtually by email at austincf.org/about/staff

Foundation staff will communicate any changes to our operations via email and our social media channels.