A free offer for Berlin civil society organisations
On BigBlueButton you can host video conferences with separate conference rooms (so-called breakout rooms), collaborate via the whiteboard function, share your desktop and use the chat function.
Up to 45 people can participate in a stable BigBlueButton video conference.
BigBlueButton is an open source software and is constantly improved by a global voluntary coding community
BigBlueButton can be operated on your own server which ensures a high level of data protection.
BigBlueButton is already hosted by the Ministries of Education in several German Federal States and used at schools and universities.
Digital Vereint provides simultaneous access to up to 200 members of Berlin organisations. If you are a member of an active association, an initiative or a non-profit organisation and want to use BigBlueButton for your civil society work, you can register here (please check our Code of Conduct):
The basic requirement for using BBB is a stable internet connection. BBB works best on the browsers Chrome or Firefox, but you can also use Safari, Internet Explorer or Edge, although problems might occur with older versions.
First, you need to register by filling out the form above. After a short check, you will receive an invitation to BigBlueButton via e-mail. Click on the link in the e-mail and then click on the button “Registrieren” (register). At this point, you will be asked to create a profile and define a password. Then you can get started. Click on your name on the top right to change your profile settings.
Note: Make sure you save the link to your BigBlueButton homepage in order to use it for different video conferences.
Before you start a conference, you should check your settings. Under the menu point “Raumkonfiguration” (room configuration) you can define the settings for all rooms.
You can start a new conference by simply clicking on “Raum erstellen” (create a room) on the homepage. A link is automatically created which you can copy and send to participants. The conference starts when the moderator enters the room.
Participants receive the invitation link via e-mail. They can click on it and then they are added to the conference as soon the moderator starts it. All participants are asked if they want to enable their microphone or participate as “Zuhörer:in” (listener). If participants want to enable their microphone, they need to allow its use and test their audio. Then, participants can enable or disable their camera by clicking on the camera icon on the bottom.
By clicking on participants‘ names, you can invite them to a private chat, change their role to a moderator or presenter or back to a participant. By using the button „Bildschirmfreigabe“ (screen sharing), you can share your screen and with “Aufzeichnung starten” (start recording), you can record the conference. Additionally, you have the possibility to draft shared notes.
By clicking on the cogwheel in the left column, you can create breakout rooms – separate group rooms for working in small teams. You can add participants to the respective rooms via drag and drop
Participants can also join a conference via the phone. They have to dial in with a unique code generated for each conference and ending in the # icon. Accessibility: Click on „Anwendungen” (settings) to change the language, font size etc.
Digital Vereint addresses civil society organisations (associations, limited liability enterprises (GmbH) or non-profit organisations) with headquarters in Berlin.
Organisations engaged in the civil society, for example associations, charitable limited liability enterprises (GmbH) or charitable entrepreneurial companies (UG). One of the criteria for the organisation is to have its headquarters in Berlin.
We understand digital infrastructure as all relevant elements to support and sustainably ensure digitalisation. This comprises digital tools, education and networking opportunities, but also funding and hardware.
Over the last twenty years, digitalisation has confronted civil society organisations with new challenges, but also with new opportunities. During this process for example, public space was relocated to digital spaces. Especially the COVID-19 pandemic clearly showed the importance of having a digital civil society to continuously ensure a functioning democracy. The initiative Aus der Krise lernen! Digitale Zivilgesellschaft stärken (Learning from crisis! Strengthening a digital civil society) shows that there remains a lot of work to be done in order to build and sustainably support a digital civil society, for example through funding programmes or publicly accessible open source infrastructure. Digital Vereint takes a step to bring digitalisation and civil society closer together.
Data protection as well as open source software are the fundamental requirements of digital tools which are used in civil society work. Data protection isn’t a nice-to-have, but a definitive must-have. Many civil society representatives however, are still insecure when it comes to membership administration, newsletter mailing or general data security. Therefore, Digital Vereint offers education programmes and networking opportunities on this topic.
The GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is an EU regulation which ensures that data protection standards are fulfilled. It equally applies to civil society organisations and after a while it’s easy to implement.
The most common passwords in Germany in the year 2020 were “123456”, “hallo133” and “passwort”. Such passwords do not offer sufficient protection. If you choose a new password, for example to use one of the tools mentioned above, please bear the following points in mind:
A secure password should
If you need support, password managers such as KeePassXC can generate and safe secure passwords.
The community chat is an open platform that aims to put civil society organisations into contact. Here, they can exchange learnings, network and cooperate. The Teamchat is an offer for only one organisation that is looking for a tool to communicate internally. Both offers work with the privacy-enhancing, open source service Mattermost. To access the community chat, click on “connect”, to get access to the teamchat, click “services”.
Thank you! This platform is constantly renewed and developed, therefore we gladly receive your feedback via firstname.lastname@example.org
Before this platform was developed, several representatives of the Berlin civil society were consulted in workshops and individual interviews regarding their skills and needs in the field of digitalisation. Based on the survey, Digital Vereint was initiated. The platform was realised with funding from the Berlin Senate Chancellery. The CityLAB of the Technologiestiftung Berlin tests the use of open source infrastructure for civil society work through Digital Vereint.