I need to set up a private online discussion area for a closed group. We are a group of volunteers who are organising an event, and in previous years it has all been done by email which is not particularly effective.
I am looking for something which could have a couple of different areas (topics), threads in the same sort of style as MN, email notification as necessary, and an intergrated calendar function would be fantastic. It should also be private ie not Googlable and not readable to anyone except members.
Does anyone have any recommendations? It should be very simple to set up and run.
OK given it's for a volunteer group, I'm assuming you'll want something free preferably and also assuming technical knowledge is limited.
One of the most popular forum software out there is PHPBB. It's free and there are companies out there who will provide you everything for free including hosting. In return usually there will be adverts or perhaps restrictions unless you pay.
Try FreeForums There are other hosting companies so google it. You can if you have the time/effort, resources and knowledge, set up one and get someone to just host it but of course you'd pay.
As for calendar functionality, that's more difficult. Forum software rarely works well as a calendar too although there are mods out there. My advice would be to create a Google calendar, share it to volunteers and get them to check it by posting notifications on the forum.
Yes, I am looking for something free, pref. with hosting too. Ads would not be a problem. It is just that we need an area where we can discuss stuff as emailing is not the most efficient way to do it. I'm assuming that a private discussion board is the best solution, but if anyone can think of anything else, I'd be grateful! It needs to be accessable from everywhere (so nothing which requires software on computer). A calendar function would be good because we have deadlines, so it would be useful to see that along with the discussions iyswim.
I had a Google and so much stuff came up I didn't really know where to start!
.. or for something that is based mainly around tasks and deadlines, perhaps the free version of a project collaboration tool like Basecamp which is the market leader, or my personal favourite Teamwork PM.
I use Freeforums for a group I am part of. We have the discussion part passworded although am not sure if it is googleable or not. Have never seen a calendar on there but it isn't something we've ever needed.
Google Groups I think would be perfect, but not everyone has a google email address/account (which you need), and tbh most of them have enough trouble with the two email addresses they have a the moment (private plus the official organisation one).
They are not all on FB and I am loathe to try and get them on it only to have them inundated with a million FB emails, privacy issues etc.
Yahoo groups - hadn't thought of that, but will have a look. Do you have to have a Yahoo account for that?
You don't need to have a gmail address to sign up for Google Groups, just a google account which you can use ANY email for. Same with Yahoo, but I think Google apps have better functionality overall (Google Calendar in particular), and I find Yahoo's attempts at monetising more intrusive.