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Training and informing your leaders using Evernote

I’m a huge Evernotefan. I can’t think of a single app that has saved me so much stress and time as Evernote. In previous posts I’ve shown three great ways to use Evernote in youth ministry and gave you an idea of how Evernote can change the way you work in youth ministry, but obviously there are many more things you can do with Evernote. Today we’ll have a look at how you can use Evernote to train and inform your leaders and volunteers.

I’m assuming you have lots of info you want your leaders and volunteers to know, to have accessible. There are so many important documents in youth ministry that leaders should have access to at all times. You could email it or give it on paper, but chances are they’ll lose it, keep an old version by mistake or won’t be able to find it when they need it.

And of course you want to train your leaders to make sure they grow in their youth ministry skills. So you give them articles, posts and documents to read, podcasts to listen to and maybe even videos to watch. But how to do this in an easy way, a platform where all your leaders could access the info at any time?

A screenshot of my Evernote for Mac. As you can see, I have close to 3,00 notes stored in my Evernote.

What Evernote is and does

Enter Evernote. For those of you who don’t know Evernote yet, it’s an awesome app for pc, Mac, smartphone, iPad, that lets you collect any digital info and store it. You can save any type of file in Evernote, including documents, audio and photo files and of course links. I have every bit of information I have stored in Evernote. You tag each ‘note’ with keywords and put it in a ‘folder’ where it is fully and easily searchable. Evernote has a free version and a premium version, the latter having way more options.

Back to your wish to train your leaders. The great thing about Evernote is that it has sharing options. It means that you can share certain folders in your own (premium) Evernote account with others. Just dump anything you want them to see, read, or have in the shared folder and off you go. If your leaders then have a (free or premium) account, they can see these folders and their content. They can access all information you share with them at any time in any file format imaginable. All they need is a computer or smartphone.

You can also set up a shared group account, giving premium Evernote access to everyone of your leaders and volunteers. This is not free (about 3,75 per individual per month), but some of you may qualify for a non-profit discount of 50%. With a group account you can combine everyone’s bill to be paid at once by your church or ministry organization. A group account only means that the billing is done differently, each account is still an individual account. Sharing folders is not automatically in a group account, but must be done as described below. It means the group members can use the account both for youth ministry related things and privately.

How to share a notebook in Evernote

Sharing a notebook in Evernote is super-duper easy, you just right click on the name of the notebook and choose ‘Share notebook’. You can then share it with the world (people would have to know the URL to find it) or with specific people, which I would recommend. Just enter the email addresses of the people you’d like to share the notebook with and if they need a password to see it and you’re done. If the person who shares the notebooks has a premium account, he can allow the users to make changes in the notes, which may come in handy in some cases.

Sharing in Evernote is incredibly easy, just choose if you want to share with the world or with specific people

What to share with your leaders in Evernote

How much can you share with your youth ministry leaders in Evernote? Let me count the ways:

  • Mission statement
  • Vision
  • Strategic plan
  • Year plan or activity calendar
  • Your youth ministry philosophy
  • Important documents from your youth ministry like the code of conduct, small group rules, permission slips, etc
  • Any other documents you want them to read or have access to
  • Financial documents you need to share of give access to, eg Excel files
  • An overview of your message in the last youth service with follow up questions for the small groups
  • The audio file of the message of the last youth service for those who were unable to attend
  • The Powerpoint or Keynote of a presentation, a sermon or anything else
  • The video or movie clip you used in the last youth service
  • Small group studies or materials
  • Announcements regarding events and activities
  • Useful links to posts or articles you come across, eg relevant research, leaderships posts
  • Podcasts from leaders you’d like to share with them (like the Simply Youth Ministry podcasts from Doug Fields & co)
  • Any podcast you make yourself in which you train your leaders
  • Any training videos you make yourself to inspire and teach your leaders
  • Relevant articles from (youth ministry) magazines you’ve scanned
  • Book reviews of books you recommend
  • Training or teaching videos of YouTube or any other website
  • Photos
  • Brainstorm about themes, events or activities (give them permission to add things to the notes so everyone can add their thoughts)
  • Questionnaires and polls
  • To do lists for combined projects so everyone knows what to do
  • Transcripts and action lists of meetings

In short: anything that’s digital, you can share. Just put it in the shared folder(s) and make sure your leaders remember to read it. If you allow your leaders to edit the notes, you can even start completely private discussions here that no one else outside the permitted group has access to.

You could of course also do this with a closed Facebook group, but you can share far less file types here (you can’t easily share Word or Excel docs via Facebook) and privacy is less guaranteed with all the changes Facebook is making.

Have you ever used Evernote to inform and/or teach and train your leaders and volunteers? If so, share your experiences!

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