Introducing: Anti-hustle productivity for nonprofits

When we started Cascadin, we knew that we wanted to help small teams by providing simple and affordable software solutions. Our mission hasn’t wavered from that. One type of small team we particularly want to help is nonprofits. That’s why, this month, we’re kicking off a new series called Anti-Hustle Productivity for Nonprofits. Together, we’ll explore toxic productivity in nonprofits, mission alignment around ‘do less, better,’ and more. While this series is directed to nonprofits, the information can be applied to just about any small team. After all, small teams of all industries face unique challenges and deserve tools and solutions to do less, better, with the resources they have.

Anti-hustle productivity for nonprofits with Cascadin

Small team pain points

According to a 2019 report from Nonprofit Tech for Good, only 29% of surveyed nonprofits in the US and Canada use project management tools. This doesn’t surprise us. Here’s why:

In 2019, we interviewed anyone we could talk to about their organizational pain points. Most people worked for nonprofits, volunteer organizations, and small businesses. We asked three general questions:

  • Tell us about a typical day for you. 
  • What do you struggle with as a team?
  • What would make your job easier?

While just about everyone used some type of technology, there were a lot of pain points:

  • Google Drive is great but it’s hard to find exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Documents aren’t all in one place, so it’s a waste of time searching for them.
  • Email chains get long and things get lost or overlooked.
  • Not everyone is using the project management tool, so it’s not effective.
  • It’s unclear what everyone else is doing.
  • There isn’t alignment to the overall mission or goal of the team.
  • Duplicating input into multiple systems and places that people will look at. 

Sound familiar?

These conversations informed what we built into Cascadin and continue to build. These pain points are not unique. Many small teams face challenges like this and the pandemic only exacerbated the communication issues. 

While some small teams may have figured out their organizational needs in the pandemic, many others continue to struggle. The pandemic showed the cracks, the gaps, and the opportunities for small teams to work together under challenging circumstances. And that’s why Cascadin is working on helping nonprofits embrace an anti-hustle productivity mindset around their missions. Because it doesn’t have to be this hard to fulfill your mission and serve your constituents.

Why we don’t call Cascadin a project management tool (anymore)

There’s a lot of jargon in the business world. Every industry has its own special language it seems. When we first started talking with people about our idea, we used the phrase ‘workflow.’ I can’t tell you how many eyes glazed over at that phrase. Workflow? What the heck does that mean? 

We stopped using that word. 

We shifted to project management. 

Fewer eyes glazed over, but still, more than we expected. 

Why? Because:

  • Not everyone is a product developer. 
  • Gantt charts can be mind-bogglingly complicated.
  • Kanban boards don’t work for everyone.

The thing is, these fancy terms intimidate a lot of us. And they don’t mean anything to us. Project management? I’m not working on a project. Gantt charts? I’ll just tell you when I’m done with something. Workflow? I just go from point a to z.

Jargon makes it all seem more complicated than it is

These phrases and tools make it all seem complicated to be organized, especially for small teams and nonprofits that might not have much technical expertise. 

This is exactly the reason we started Cascadin in the first place. 

Nonprofits, especially small ones, don’t always have the technical or financial resources to implement the big enterprise-level solutions that exist for larger organizations. 

But you have the same pain points as they do. 

That’s why Cascadin keeps it simple for you

At its core, Cascadin is a simple organizing software. You can:

  • use it as a simple to-do list,
  • assign action items (called tasks) to your team members,
  • plan for a big event and keep everything in one place,
  • document your progress and record your institutional knowledge.

Cascadin is a great tool for collaborating as a team and making sure you all stay moving in the same direction. 

We want you to use the tool, do what you need to do quickly and simply, and then get back to your life, your work, and your humanity. You have more important things to do than stare at a screen all day.

We call it anti-hustle productivity.

Finding anti-hustle productivity solutions together

Throughout this Anti-Hustle Productivity for Nonprofits series, we’ll dive deeper into the challenges nonprofits face and the opportunities to address them. 

Since we’re the anti-hustle productivity tool, we’ll talk about burnout in the nonprofit sector. You give your heart and soul to your organization, which is admirable but can also be toxic. 

We’ll also share how you can apply simple organizing tactics to your small nonprofit team. 

Finally, this isn’t a one-sided conversation. You’re invited to share more about your experiences and what solutions you’ve found that work for you and your team. 

If you’d like to chat about any of this, reach out! You can schedule a chat with me on my calendar or email me your availability. 

Alyson Roberts

Co-Founder & CEO

Known for organizing the dirty dishes before cleaning them, Alyson is learning how to do less, better and helping others do the same. She loves exploring beautiful lands near and far, trying new recipes, aspiring to be the next Star Baker, growing her garden, and avoiding board games at all cost.

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