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Tools for Success

Tool Box501 Commons provides many resources to help volunteers stay in touch with 501 Commons and with other service corps members and volunteers.

  • A newsletter every other month with information about new members, volunteer opportunities, and events sponsored by 501 Commons or other organizations. If you are not getting the newsletter, contact Tim at
  • 501 Connects events, which are informal gatherings for volunteers and a great opportunity to meet the amazing members of the service corps and other volunteers.
  • Periodic Learn to Serve events that provide professional development in nonprofit consulting.
  • Join our 501 Commons LinkedIn group to participate in discussions, share news, and get to know other service corps members.

Professional Development Opportunities

Check out the upcoming Learn to Serve events. These programs will assist you in your volunteer projects and provide rich opportunities to learn more about nonprofits and expand your professional network. 501 Connects gives you the opportunity to network with other service corps members.  Learn to Serve sessions provide an opportunity to learn more about nonprofit consulting.

If you would like to help plan 501 Connects or Learn to Serve events, let Jan Burrell know!

Support and reporting expectations during projects

501 Commons staff will support you when you are assigned to a project to ensure that you can provide top-quality services. All projects are guided by agreements that specify the responsibilities of the service corps member and the client's responsibilities. A project manager is identified for each project or action learning program. (An action-learning program is one where a team from each organization is engaged in learning while taking action to improve their organization. In these programs, we work with a cohort of organizations.)

Your project manager is your partner. Please provide them with an update on the project every 2-3 weeks.  Call on them whenever you need support or resources!

If you client asks about other 501 Commons services or you believe they need assistance in other areas,  tell your project manager.  Remind clients that they can choose Services on the 501 Commons website, and it will lead them to information about our 30+ services and to the link to our Request for Assistance Form.  This form is used for our FREE information and Referral service as well.

Member Resource Center

Visit the Member Resource Center for tools, sample presentations, training materials, and information to help you be effective.   You'll find volunteer materials there as well such as the Guide for Consultants and Coaches, forms, and tips on how to make sure your projects go smoothly.  Let us know if you don't see what you need.

Some of the content in this resource center is password protected. You were provided the user name and member password when you joined the service corps. Contact your project manager if you need log-in assistance.

Your project manager can also help you identify tools or resources needed for your project. Plus, you can find many resources on the public 501 Commons' website, especially the Tools and Best Practices and the Best of the Web sections. Consultants working on the Springboard program will find the Arts Management Resources List helpful.

Basecamp Collaboration

For large projects and cohort programs like Springboard, Catalyst, Plan IT!, and the VIP 360 program, we use Basecamp, an online collaboration software. Basecamp helps a team communicate and avoid confusion about document versions and due dates. If your project is using Basecamp, you will receive an invitation from 501 Commons to log into Basecamp. If you are on a project team and would like to use Basecamp, contact your project manager.

New to Basecamp? No problem. These five-minute videos will make you a "power Basecamp user" in no time!

1. Setting up your account

2. Getting comfortable navigating Basecamp

3. Sending messages in Basecamp

4. Using Basecamp to track milestones and to-dos

You can also get a feel for Basecamp by reviewing this PDF overview.