I’m extremely lucky to be working at a place like UserVoice. The people are exceptional, the company is a clear thought leader in customer service, and they care about me and my professional development. Last year I spoke to our CEO about starting a nonprofit on the side and he told me to go for it. “Sure, start a business while working for us. #ThisIsSanFrancisco” I was sort of shocked, but in a few months my nonprofit The LittleBigFund was almost ready to launch. I began putting the finishing touches on our website and installed UserVoice (for free! #perk). Then I sat there. I stared at “Create article” for a while before putting my head down and realizing just how much work creating a knowledge actually is.


Right. Knowledge base. Uh…yes. Yes I can…Actually… I’m completely lost.

Where, oh where to begin?

The moment I first got into my admin console I felt like I had nothing. Everything was empty. There were no tickets. No ideas. No articles. It was extremely daunting and it was in that moment that I realized I was doing this for the first time. I had worked at UserVoice almost a year but I had never created my own knowledge base? “Dang. This shit’s tough,” I thought to myself. It was after a little more whining and groaning that I decided to look for ways to make this job as easy as I could make it. It was in trying to create documentation that I realized how much documentation I actually had.

Repurpose preexisting resources.

When you have a company, you have resources. From business plans to marketing strategies to process documents – your business is on paper somewhere. So I started sorting through the documents and found that many of my own scribblings about how to donate, where our donations go, and other processes could be easily repurposed into a knowledge base. I sort of just went down the line. “How to donate. How do we select nonprofits to feature? Our mission statement.” It went on and on painlessly. Most of it was as simple as copy/paste. Suddenly I have over 20 articles just from the stuff I had already written. You have so much information about your company at your fingertips. Don’t keep it so close to your chest – reuse it in a knowledge base.

You’re the customer.

Now that everything from our values to our process was in our knowledge base I was feeling pretty good about myself. But I still wanted more content. For that I once again dug into my resources. I had created a brief FAQ one-sheeter for our press kit and realized suddenly that a knowledge was basically a big FAQ! Boom. Instant repurposing. Then I got on a roll. I walked myself through my nonprofit’s process asking questions along the way as if I were a customer. Everything that came to mind I put down as an article. Everything. Anything that someone could and would ask that I could think of became and article. It was also during this time that I created categories. One was for customers, the other for nonprofits that wanted to learn more about us.

My knowledge base will continue to grow, but now at over 35 articles, I feel confident that I can help out my customers without having to answer questions as they come in. It was certainly a ton of front-end work, but once I realized that I already had most of the information – I just had to transcribe it – created a knowledge base became sort of, dare I say, fun.

Knowledge books photo courtesy of Tessss