Online meeting management for a board of directors.
May 17, 2010 8:08 AM   Subscribe

What's the most user-friendly online meeting and document management software?

I am member of the Board of Directors (~40 people) for a large very non-profit. We have monthly-ish meetings (in person) where each director is to submit a written report. What on-line meeting management software will allow:

1. An admin to create multiple meetings and user accounts for directors.
2. Directors to easily upload documents (PDF, Word) to the server and have them be stored with all the others for that particular meeting
3. Allow directors to navigate meetings and see the reports that others posted specifically for that meeting
4. A bonus would be if our admin could attach our monthly board packets (lots of pages) as a PDF to the meeting.

I'm not opposed to doing something in Rails or Drupal, but that's not really my job and I can't imagine that something like this doesn't already exist. A hosted solution is best.

Most directors are non-technical so ease of use is key. We've used Google Groups this year, but it's not focused enough on the idea of a meeting to be useful. It's also too complicated for many of our users (file organization is bad).
posted by jz to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Could you use something like Dropbox and have seperate folders for each meeting? At the small non-profit where I work, we do something like this, and it seems to work well. It allows people to use the natural file-system for the OS of their choice, and they're typically used to the normal folder heirachy.

You could also investigate something like Backpack, which should work well for this.
posted by Magnakai at 8:22 AM on May 17, 2010

Backpack (corrected URL) looks interesting.

I'd like to avoid any kind of local install, if possible. For moderately technical people, Dropbox is probably a great solution. But, the people I'm working with are exactly the kind of people who struggle with the natural file system of their OS.

posted by jz at 8:33 AM on May 17, 2010

Seems like you need something like Basecamp.
posted by special-k at 8:56 AM on May 17, 2010

Yes, I'd definitely look into the suite of offerings from 37 Signals, including backpack.

Another, free, option is Google Wave, which I've been using to organize, collaborate and synchronize with people on a project that's seeing people having to drop in and out based on their other responsibilities. I'm having a bit of trouble getting buy-in, but this is just the thing that Google Wave can do fairly well, IMHO. It's easy to link files, which get uploaded to the cloud and you can opt to use Google Docs (which isn't fully integrated as yet, unfortunately) or just upload .doc files or whatever suits you.

It can take some work for folks to get used to the format and user interface, but it's pretty bullet proof. I was amused this morning to discover that one of my colleagues had erased the entire wave for our project accidentally and then restored it.

If you want to look into Google Wave, I'd suggest starting here:

And you can memail me for an invite if you need one.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:58 AM on May 17, 2010

Zoho Planner is essentially a clone of Backpack, and it's free.
posted by COD at 9:21 AM on May 17, 2010

Thanks for the 37 signals suggestions. Their products seem like overkill for this. And expensive.

Anything else or am I resigned to making something myself?
posted by jz at 10:10 AM on May 17, 2010

There are many alternatives to basecamp (a few that are open source and could be installed on your server). Check this out.
posted by special-k at 10:24 AM on May 17, 2010

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