NTEN Change Issue One: March 2011 : Page 6
and let you email confirmations and reminders. Doodle even integrates with popular external calendar applications to simplify board members’ actions. Document Sharing and Collaboration BOOSTING BOARD COLLABORATION board members to archive their own copies of documents, which is perhaps not an ideal solution. A better option is to use any of the number of tools de-signed for archiving, sharing and collaborating on docu-ments. Google Docs is the best known example—you invite users by email to access text documents, spreadsheets, pre-sentations or diagrams, or set the documents so anyone with the link can login. As an added bonus, because docu-ments are updated in real-time, all board members can view—and even edit—minutes during a meeting, as long as they’re logged in. While collaboration is limited to files in Google’s document format, you can upload files in any for-mat for board members to view and download. A project management package like Basecamp or Cen-tral Desktop can also be very useful for boards, as they let you upload files, track tasks and lists, collaborate on docu-ments in real time, and even pull in email conversations au-tomatically so they’re archived for later. (Expect to pay $20 to $40 per month.) If you’re already using a more sophisticated solution like Microsoft Sharepoint, it can also provide very useful ways to store, access and collaborate on documents. Configuring and maintaining Sharepoint requires some technical know-how and a web server—however, if you have an IT person on staff, or if you’re already running the software, it can be an affordable and useful option. Or you could create a wiki and use it to store informa-NTEN: CHANGE · MARCH 2011 · PAGE 6 You’ve seen the massive undertaking that creating and man-aging board materials can become. From bylaws and gover-nance documents to financial statements, donor and fundraising information, meeting minutes and more, the amount of paperwork used in even a single board meeting is staggering, and it gets worse for boards that have grant applications to review or other paperwork-intensive tasks. All these materials must be easily and immediately accessible, but no one wants to carry around heavy binders with documents they only need on occasion. And you don’t want to spend too much of your time—or your staff ’s— playing librarian. Email attachments BEFORE YOU are a fast and easy way to share documents, but CHOOSE THE we all know their lim-TOOLS YOU’LL USE, its—especially if board members are reviewing, CONSIDER THE editing or commenting on documents. How WAY YOUR BOARD many times have you wondered if you were DOES BUSINESS looking at the latest ver-—AND WHAT sion of something that had been passed around EXACTLY THAT multiple times? Email also puts the onus on BUSINESS IS.
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