One of the coolest things about the Idealist Network is that everyone brings their own skills, connections, and knowledge to the table. Using a simple template, you can create an inventory of all of your Team’s resources.
At the Brooklyn, New York Team’s first meeting, we talked about the best ways to find out what each of us could bring to the table. How could we best spot connections, identify someone with a needed skill, and share great resources? One of the Connectors brought up the idea of creating a “resource inventory” to catalogue all these details.
For our inventory, we created a Google Sheet that all the Team members can add to. It’s broken down into different categories of information—some personal (like contact details, and other groups or organizations we may already belong to), others more general and community-centered (like public resources we can share our knowledge of.)
How you can do it
You can either start with this resource inventory template, or use the steps below to design one that better fits your needs.
Draw up a list of the general categories of information you want to collect. We started drafting our resource inventory on a big sheet of paper. It was actually a great way for people to introduce themselves to the group and share a little of their background and current connections. Try to pick categories that are directly related to increasing action, ideas, or collaboration, and the information that will be most helpful to your Team. Some suggestions: Contact info, affiliations/memberships, public resources, community organizations, meeting places, other action resources, or multimedia.
Choose the best medium for the resource inventory. Some good examples are: paper lists, a Google Doc, or an Excel spreadsheet. This document is meant to be collaborative and sharable. For some Teams, this could be best achieved by a paper list kept in a communal binder, or it could be an editable Google Doc shared as a resource on your Team’s page. It could also be a combination of physical and online documents. We recommend using Google Docs because many people can access and edit them at the same time. We will use a Google Sheet as the basis for the rest of the action steps below. (NOTE: You don’t need a Google account to view Google Docs, but you will need to sign in or sign up for one to create, edit, or share them. If you’re new to Google Docs, here's a page with guides and FAQs.)
Create a shareable document using Google Docs or Google Sheets.
On the left side of the page, click the red “CREATE” button, and select “Spreadsheet.”
Give your sheet a name. We suggest using “resource inventory” somewhere in the title.
Click the blue “Share” button on the top right side of your new sheet and adjust your sharing settings (there’s more on this below*). This is also where you can find the link to your document that you can share later.
Set up your spreadsheet using the list of information types you created earlier. Create tabs for each type of information you selected earlier. (Example: Contact info, Meeting places, Community boards, etc.) You can rename each tab to correspond with the information in that sheet. Right-click on the tab, and select “Rename” in the menu that pops up.
Create column headers and descriptions for each information sheet. Go through each different type of information, and think about what details you need to collect. Some common types of details include: Team member name, contact info, website, description, notes, discussion, cost. You can format each sheet to include a header row broken down by detail. It’s also helpful to include a sentence or two of description so that users understand exactly what type of information you want them to input or take away from that sheet.
Fill out the spreadsheet with some initial information.This will serve as a guide for people who access the document after you. (Example: fill out your contact information and add in some resources you know about.)
Share the spreadsheet with your Team. Once our spreadsheet was created, we shared it as a resource on our Team’s page. We also started a discussion topic about it. We will mention it at upcoming meetings and encourage more people to fill it up. Follow these steps to share your spreadsheet with your Team:
Click the blue “Share” button in the top right corner of the document. You’ll see a long URL. Whoever has that link will be able to view and edit the document.
Copy the long URL.
Go to www.idealist.org/team, sign in, then navigate to your Team using the Menu button in the upper right corner.
Add your spreadsheet URL as a Resource on your Team page.
Create a new discussion topic letting your teammates know about your resource inventory, include the link in your discussion, and encourage them to add their information, too.