Society Evernote: Organizing the Board

Evernote offers a number of features that can make life easier for your society’s board and staff. From streamlining board meetings to facilitating document reviews to providing an accessible information center, Evernote can help.

To get started, you will need at least one Evernote premium account ($50/year) for the board. A premium account has larger upload limits, additional sharing features and expanded search capabilities. Each member of the board and staff needing access to the content will also need an account. In most cases, a basic (free) account will work fine. Since many people are already using Evernote for their genealogical research, using their personal accounts is often easier than trying to manage multiple accounts.

Create the society account using a society email address rather a personal one (, for example). This will make it easier to pass account management on to a different manager when board changes require it. This account will manage all the society content maintained in Evernote. Board members and staff will be assigned access rights – using their personal Evernote accounts – to the notebook(s) they need to use. The manager will be responsible for building notebooks and assigning sharing rights to them.


Once the account is up and running, it’s time to build a few notebooks. Here are some basic recommendations. Future articles will look at specific projects and functions.

  • A Help Desk notebook. Use this notebook to hold PDF copies of all your equipment manuals (scanners, printers, copy machines, microfiche readers, coffee pots). If you don’t have copies handy, look at the manufacturer’s web site for a downloadable copy. This is also a good place to keep checklists and worksheets used in the society’s daily operations.
  • A General Information notebook. Here’s where to put the contact directory for board and staff members along with copies of the tax exempt form, potential speaker list, affiliate information and other frequently used information. Other possibilities include templates for documenting volunteer hours, research requests or form letters.
  • Committee and Project notebooks. This is where the tasks assignments, timelines and questions are posted. Draft documents can be reviewed with comments visible to all team members. Using these notebooks as workspaces will significantly reduce the amount of round-robin emails usually involved in project management and document reviews. Every reviewer’s annotations and remarks are summarized at the top of the note for all members to see.
  • An Archive notebook. This notebook serves two purposes. It’s where completed business is kept. Yes, there will probably also be paper copies filed somewhere, but these copies serve as both off-site backup and an easily-accessed location for historical information.

Each of these notebooks should set up for sharing. It’s easy to do and only takes a few minutes. The example below shows the Share Notebook panel in the desktop version of Evernote. It can be set up using the web and mobile versions too.



In Notebooks view, right-click on the notebook you wish to share then select the Share Notebook option. A share panel appears similar to the one you see above. Enter the email addresses of the people who need access in the field at the top of the panel. Assign access rights and enter your message, then click the Share button.

The access rights options are: Can edit and invite, Can edit, Can view. In most cases, Can edit will be the preferable option.

Each invitee will receive an email with instructions for connecting to the shared notebook. Once the connections are made from their side, your board is ready to put Evernote to work.


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