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Contributed by
YMCA England & Wales


YMCA is a worldwide youth organisation supporting more than 64 million beneficiaries in 120 countries. YMCA England & Wales supports 572,000 service users every year, ensuring each young person has an opportunity to belong, contribute and thrive.

During COVID-19, YMCA had to move many of their services to an online forum. In order to do so, they launched a new website project.

This recipe focuses on how YMCA worked collaboratively with SIDE Labs through the lifecycle of a website development project from initial discovery to launch, and how they did so while working remotely.

Recipe status

This recipe has been in use since January 2021.

We are not sharing this recipe as the perfect solution to a problem, but we believe YMCA England & Wales’s learnings could be very useful to other organisations.

Users and needs served

  • As a partner or collaborator, I need to find ways to brainstorm, collaborate, and manage projects remotely
  • As a member of staff, I need to find ways to easily partner and work with a website designer on a platform for our users

Software and tools used


Zoom is a popular online conferencing platform with video, audio, and live text chat functionality. Features include the ability to screen share, as well as to share links and other media during a session.


Zoom offers a range of subscriptions.

The free ‘Basic’ plan allows unlimited one-to-one meetings but has a 40-minute time limit on group sessions.

There are also various options for paid plans:

Pro (£11.99/month/host)

Business (£15.99/month/host)

Enterprise (£15.99/month/host)

These plans contain increased options for participation and no time restrictions.

Zoom is also available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

More price options can be found here.


Zoom is useful when working across platforms, and can easily be used to work in conjunction with other software. For example, you can present or conduct conversations in Zoom whilst working in other channels, such as Miro.


Slack is a communication app for group and 1-1 messages.


Slack is free to use with paid subscriptions offering improved functionality starting at £5.25 per month.


Slack is a lot more informal than email, so it can reduce the discomfort of asking everyday questions.

Some people prefer other platforms like WhatsApp.


Miro is a cloud-based, collaborative whiteboarding platform that allows teams to work together in a shared space.


Miro offers several tiers of subscription: Free, Team, Business, and Enterprise. The Free plan allows for a maximum of three editable boards and unlimited team members. The Team plan is either $8 (£5.83 approx) per member per month if billed annually, or $10 (£7.29 approx) per member per month, if billed monthly.

Miro is available at discounted charity rates through the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

See the Miro pricing guide for more details.


Miro is a visual medium with a simple and appealing user interface. This makes Miro boards easy to follow and jump in and out of.

It can be difficult to migrate large amounts of data from Microsoft Excel to Miro. However, migrating data from Google Sheets is easier.

Miro works well for remote teams and creates a sense of shared space.

Recipe steps

1. Create a roles and responsibilities document

List everyone who is working on the project and outline what the different roles and responsibilities of each member entail. This can help everyone within the team to understand who they can contact for particular enquiries. It also keeps people accountable.

This method can also clearly delineate the overarching responsibilities of both the charity and the digital agency.

2. Have an initial first meeting

Discuss your planned working methods and find out whether there are any differences in preferences between the two teams

Don’t assume that everyone wants to work in the same way. Encourage everyone to articulate what’s best for them.

3. Have a rolling agenda

Have a shared Google Doc that has the agenda for every weekly meeting. This way, notes can be found easily and quickly for each meeting.

4. Maintain informal conversations

While weekly meetings can be held for core issues, make sure that you have platforms where informal conversations can take part, so that it’s easy to ask quick questions and maintain a more consistent level of contact.


Touch base regularly and give consistent updates on your project. Don’t consolidate your communications to only one time in the week, but keep it continuous throughout the project.


You can end up working across too many platforms – don’t overdo how many platforms you use for collaborative working as messages could easily get missed.

Carve out time for actual work. It is very easy to lose concentration on what you’re working on if there is always someone asking a question.

Points of contact

For further information about this recipe, you can contact:

Graham Oatridge


Many thanks to YMCA England & Wales for contributing this recipe.


This recipe is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.

That means you are free to copy, redistribute, and build on the text of this recipe, but only for non-commercial purposes (if you want to use it for commercial purposes, get in touch with us at [email protected]). You must give credit to both Catalyst and YMCA England & Wales and link back to this page. If you build on this recipe then you must share your version under this same licence.

Recipe published on April 20th, 2021. Last updated August 6th, 2021