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The Importance of Having an Electronic File Share System

Setting up a shared document system helps with board members transitions, creates a sense of transparency, and can help with accessibility of documents.

No one ever wants to see this happen, but unfortunately it's the reality for some neighborhood associations. A board member steps down in less than positive circumstances, and refuses to turn over the documents they stored in their garage, or doesn't share the login/password credentials to the association's web site or social media pages. Or perhaps some type of natural disaster, such as a fire, occurs, destroying paper copies of important association documents.

These circumstances can leave existing and/or remaining board members scrambling to recreate e-mail contact lists, to try and find other copies of bylaws, and to deal with the hassle of shutting down existing websites and social media accounts and creating new ones. However, if you have your files stored electronically somewhere all board members can access, or if you have a secure cloud location to store logins and passwords, where everyone can access them a fire, a move, or a disgruntled board member cannot inhibit the important work of your association nor can Mother Nature destroy it.

It's possible to set up different electronic folders - one for members and one for the board - based on the needs of your association. You can provide a PDF of your bylaws, or an editable version of the agenda where fellow board members can chime in on what they think needs to be discussed at the next meeting. This is also a great place to store the membership lists so everyone has access to them.

Another option for things such as website logins and passwords is to regularly update your bylaws and include either this information in the bylaws, or specify methods by which other members can get this information, in the event there is membership change or the information is otherwise lost.

You could use Dropbox, Google Docs or other cloud-based file share systems. Some things to consider are:

  • Permissions
  • How to revoke access
  • How to add new members
  • Which documents might need collaborative editing
  • Which documents are strictly for reference purposes?
  • Document editing tracking and access, to be able to see who made any changes