Every team will eventually run up against a communications barrier. Often there is complex ongoing information that is being shared by a church staff or small business that needs to be continually updated and distributed to the members of your team. At first it is easy to just email working documents back and forth but eventually it gets really difficult to keep track concerning which document is the most recent and up to date. Of course, if money isn’t an issue you can create your own shared drive but most of us have limited budgets and free options are very appealing. Here are 3 solutions we use at Green Hills Church for varying needs.
By now dropbox is used by many small businesses and churches. It is a great free option to use to share files. It is a cloud based application that allows you to use its services through your internet browser, or by a client that lives on your computer. That client is really helpful because it is basically a synced folder with the cloud. Whenever something is changed online it will be synced on your computer. They usually give you 2 Gigs free when you start but you can add several other Gigs if you get your friends to join. (I think I am close to 5 Gigs now.) We use dropbox to pass files between our staff that are not easy to email. For example, we pass our mp3’s of our podcasts to each other through dropbox. We also have files that we want the whole staff to have access to that live in specific folders on dropbox. Examples of these are shared logos and images as well as expense request forms and other administrative information. Dropbox is great because it is free and it is easy to use. They also have a great iphone app that I have used extensively when I have traveled. However, you can’t edit documents on your phone. Overall the biggest drawback is that if you want a lot of memory on the cloud you have to pay for it. You can check them out at www.dropbox.com
Box is similar to Dropbox, but has its own set of positives and negatives. Its positives are that it also has a web based service and smart phone app to use. It also start out with a much larger free package. You can sign up today for a package of 50 Gigs for free. Its drawbacks are that it is not as user friendly as dropbox. You can’t add it to your computer and have it sync a folder for you, you have to go online to do it. You also can’t just drag and drop as easily. I think this is a better solution to back up your hard drive or other important documents. You can check them out at www.box.com
3. Google Docs
Google docs are really helpful if you want to share a file between your entire staff. It is great because you can all work on it at the same time. Yes, thats right! In the middle of a meeting all of you can type things into the document and it updates it in real time and saves the changes. It is also completely free. We use this service to do our staff meetings and team leader meetings. Google even will allow you to make “Collections” of documents that will keep all similar documents together. These collections can even be segmented so that sensitive information wont get into the wrong hands. Any document that is shared is shared only with the people you want it to be shared with. We moved all our email addresses to Google so we are able to access them seamlessly. An added perk is that Google will allow you to have 2 different accounts open in your browser if you have more than one Google account and that allows you to use both personal and work email accounts at the same time. The drawback to the collections is that files are not automatically created in a collection but need to be dropped into the collection folder after it is created. I heartily endorse Google Docs. You can check it out here: https://docs.google.com
I hope this is helpful information. Please post in the comments if you have any other file sharing options that you have really enjoyed.