Sometimes we need to think creatively in order to see value in things that might not be immediately evident. Such is the case when describing my experiences with group management and communication service MemberHub.
I met MemberHub co-founder Matt Harrell through the weekly #sbbuzz Twitter chats and was immediately intrigued by his descriptions of the app.
I saw value in the tools offered but I kept getting stuck at the terms “membership” and “organization.” The groups I participate in are usually small and informal, not the large-scale entities I associate with those terms.
But in chatting further with Matt, I realized that while MemberHub is billed as a tool for churches and non-profits, there is a lot of value here for a group of any sort (or any size) that needs a place to communicate and collaborate.
The key component of the MemberHub concept is the actual hub. A hub is a central “room” of sorts dedicated to a specific group.
If you’re a member of multiple hubs, a dashboard does a good job of presenting all of them, even across organizations. So while each hub is a unique and private entity, there is value in maintaining multiple hubs on the service.
A Hub comprises the following functionality:
Home Page: A dashboard of sorts for the hub, which lists recent announcements and other information about the group.
Announcements: Messages that can be sent via email or text message. It’s quite convenient to publish the message here and know that it will reach all the members depending upon their preferred settings. MemberHub handles the distribution for you.
Calendar: Quickly create events and send reminders. Each calendar has a feed so you can also view it in your calendar app of choice.
Discussions: These can be used as a message board or mailing list and as such provide similar functionality to a Google Group. New discussions can be started by sending an email to a customized address assigned to each area.
Files: A repository for shared documents or photos for use by your hub members.
Member Listing: A listing of all members associated with that group or hub. Each user can control and update their own information so contacting folks through the member list is straightforward.
MemberHub is a strong product with nice functionality and a clean and easy-to-use interface. Features are plentiful and the service is quite affordable. A short demo video goes through these features in more detail.
The tools are generic enough to be used for any sort of planning session or group communication or collaboration. While not really advertised as a project management tool, I can certainly see it being used as such as well. The interface is clean and potentially a lot less intimidating for casual web users than some of the dedicated project management tools.
For single groups, one hub is free. For larger groups, you’ll want an “Organization,” which lets you create and manage multiple hubs. For organizations, MemberHub is priced at 10 cents per person per month, purchased in blocks of 100.
Do you work with a group or organization that could use MemberHub?