Society Trello

Trello is an easy and affordable way for societies to manage operations, members, publications, speakers and more. Best of all, it will cost you nothing to use. Trello is an impressive project management platform, but unlike most other project management systems, Trello is quite easy to use.

Project showing lists and cards
A Trello board showing lists and cards

The main components in Trello are boards, lists and cards. A board is created for each project. Within the board you will find lists and cards. Cards contain information on each task involved in this project. Lists are used to manage the workflow as cards move through each project stage. A quick look at a board gives you an overview of the project’s status.

The example above shows a board for managing our society’s publications. There are three lists in this workflow – Researching, Writing and Published Issues. The cards will move from one list to the next as the task completes one level and moves on to the next. For example, once The Trello for Genealogy research effort is completed, the card will be dragged to the Writing list. Want a list for the actual publication so you can see which articles are finished? No problem! You can add lists at any time.

Speaker Bureau Project
Speaker Bureau Project

Trello can also be used to organize information. Our society is using Trello to build our own Speakers Bureau. We have four lists in this board. The first list describes potential speakers. Each card includes contact information for that person along with a bio when we can get them. Trello cards have a checklist feature which we use to list the presentations that speaker can give.

Sample card
Sample Trello card

When we contract with a speaker to present at an upcoming meeting, that person’s card is moved to the Contracted Speakers list long with dates, fee, bio and description of the presentation. If the speaker provides a handout document, that is added to the card as an attachment.

After the speaker has given his presentation, the speaker’s card is forwarded to the Speaker Review list. Board members can use the Comments element in the speaker’s card to give their opinions of the speaker and presentation. Once that is done, the speaker’s card is moved back to the Potential Speakers list for future engagements.

The last list in this board is the Resources list. This is where we keep track of the projectors, connecting cables, etc. needed to support the presenter’s needs.

The Trello Member Directory

Trello is an easy way to manage your membership. Create a New Members list and create a card for each new member. This card includes contact information, level of research experience, software and services used, areas of interest, etc. Society staff can then review each card to perform the necessary tasks – send welcome letter and member guide, add to mailing list, etc. Trello’s label feature adds a colored bar to the card. You can use labels to see at a glance which tasks are complete.

One of the very nice things about Trello is how easy it is to add others to your Trello boards. Using the example of our Programs board, when we get a new Programs chair all we have to do is invite him/her to this board. The new chair then has full access to the speakers, presentations, comments, etc. right away. No more wading though old emails to collect details on speakers and presentations. The chair can also invite others to help collect and organize new information.

Trello offers free apps for desktops (Mac and Windows) and mobile devices (iOS and Android). You can also access your Trello account via the Web. The Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and Chrome browsers all support Trello.

This is just a couple of examples of how your society can put Trello to work. As you have seen here, Trello can also serve as a resource center. Stay tuned . . . there’s a lot more Trello goodness to come.

Creative Powerpoint

If you think Powerpoint is just for business presentations, think again. It’s  more than slide after slide of bullet points. A whole lot more. Powerpoint (along with Keynote for Mac, WordPerfect Presentations and LibreOffice’s Impress) also makes a great scrapbooking platform. For family historians who want to combine old photos and memorabilia with text in creative ways, any one of these apps can make it happen.

Kincaid Kin.006.png

This example turns a short biographical sketch into an eye-catching delight. It was created using Keynote and the Parchment theme. A couple of vintage fonts add to the “atmosphere”. Note that the graduation program is layered over the schoolhouse photo. This is just one of many “scrapbooking” features available on all these presentation apps.

It gets better! Most presentation apps support background music and have the ability to export your slides as a video. This was created in just a few minutes on an iPad using Keynote.

As you can see, there are lots of possibilities – and your family will love them! Pull out your presentations program and take it for a family history test drive. I think you’ll be delightfully surprised.