The Champions for Literacy
LitWorld is an international non-profit inspiring kids to make reading a central part of their life. From their various public events to their internal projects, they’ve got plenty of digital communication happening within the organization. Yet their project files were scattered across several platforms and services, and getting the team on the same page was becoming a struggle.
We sat down with Dorothy Lee, LitWorld’s Executive Director, to discuss their journey with technology this year.
In our first meeting, your team was split between Dropbox and Google Drive, and it had become increasingly difficult to keep everyone in sync. How were you coping with your tech challenges at the time?
It is interesting to look back on where we were a year ago, because at the time, I would have said that the challenges were almost entirely about individuals not using our system well, more than the system itself needing to be re-thought. I thought it didn’t go too much deeper than personal preferences and habits that could be adjusted. LitWorld has always used Google Docs and other Drive files for collaboration, and we love that format, but it felt like Drive was serving a totally different purpose than Dropbox, which we had been using like our shared file servers from early on in the organization as well. Until we sat down together and zoomed out to look at the full picture, I thought it was going to be about getting our team more fully on board with clearer guidelines, and not too much about actually changing the way we saved our files beyond some clean-up.
After looking at the core file types that LitWorld used on a regular basis, we decided on a central hub with Google Drive for your team. How have things improved since we made the switch?
It was amazing what a difference it made for me immediately! I had no idea how good it would feel to have everything in one place. I had always thought of my relationship with Drive on an individual level, and my relationship with Dropbox on an organizational level, but that was actually a confusing and inconsistent division, and it was different for each person on the team depending on what kind of work they do. For example, having all in the same folder for a meeting, the agenda created in Word, a handout saved as a PDF, and the collaborative notes document created in Drive, took such a weight off because I didn’t have to wonder… where did we capture those other thoughts during that meeting? It was a real mental load off that I hadn’t even realized I was carrying around.
A few months back you hosted LitWorld’s annual gala in Chelsea Piers. What are you excited about for this year and beyond?
We are so thrilled about all that LitWorld has in store for 2019! We will start the year off strong with our tenth annual World Read Aloud Day on February 1st, which activates millions of storytellers and advocates of all ages across the globe to raise their voices for the right to read. In March, we will be participating again in the UN Commission of the Status of Women with our HerStory campaign, amplifying the voices and work of the girls and partners in our programs and the amazing impact they are having in their communities. On May 8th, we will have our Spring Gala, back at Chelsea Piers, where we will be honoring some really special guests and celebrating A World of Stories. All summer long, our LitCamps will once again light up thousands of schools with reading, writing, and joyful learning across the US, and we will host another great group of interns in our NYC office. We are also working on a refreshed look for our communications, so stay tuned for some exciting developments on that front as the year unfolds as well. Visit litworld.org and check out our blog to hear more!