SharePoint – Non-business ideas: Thinking outside the box

August 3, 2006

Even though this article is geared mostly for those using a hosted SharePoint site, it will apply to those that have opened up their SharePoint site with the ability to add outside users.

So, you’re using your SharePoint to help organize and share internal business information and processes with your co-workers or team members…great! Maybe you’ve even created subsites for you to collaborate with each customer…fantastic! By now, you might be feeling pretty comfortable with how to use SharePoint. This may be a good time to start thinking of other uses…fun uses…non-business uses for SharePoint subsites. Remember fun? Remember personal lives? What can a SharePoint site offer?

You can start by putting together a list of any groups you might be involved in.

Sports team


Your family (yes, family)





Training team

The list can go on. Why would a SharePoint site be helpful with any of these? Two reasons…password protected and user-interactive. Keeping these two points in mind, let’s get into a few of the groups and explore just some of what we can do.

Sports team:

  • create a team roster – customize the form and add your own fields
  • create a list of important contacts
  • create a calendar for the playing schedule, and maybe include when the fund raising events will be held
  • create a discussion thread about changes to the uniforms
  • create a discussion thread about what fund raising events you will run for the year
  • create a task list to assign duties for each event
  • create an issues list to discuss various problems that need to be resolved
  • create a photo library and post pictures of highlights during the season
  • create a photo library with pictures of each team member in their uniform
  • create a photo library with pictures of everyone having fun during the fund raising events

Your family:

  • Create various photo albums for: weddings, birthday parties, baby pictures, family reunions, old family pictures, vacations
  • Create a family address book where everyone can update their own contact record as their information changes
  • Create separate document libraries to store: genealogy files, favorite recipes, marriage certificates, birth certificates, military records, personal accomplishment awards or certifications, personally written items such as poems, stories, jokes, etc.
  • Make digital voice recordings of the most elderly people in your family journaling their life and what it was like during the time period they grew up in. Upload these digital files in their own document library. Your family has history…capture it!
  • Create a calendar for birthdays and anniversaries
  • Have a Special Announcements list so people can post their special announcement…such as: having a baby, getting married, and finishing their college degrees and certifications. Anything of importance to them is encouraged to share.
  • Create custom lists for each of the following: Your Hobbies, Your Favorite Movies, Your Favorite Websites, Vacation Journals or Stories
  • Create a discussion threads for: retirement ideas, next family reunion
  • Use the Links list to enter the various websites any family member has

Book Club:

  • Create a calendar to show when the next meeting will be and at what location
  • Create a contact list / address book with all pertinent information to the group
  • Create a Favorite Books custom list for people to list and describe what they loved about each one.
  • Create a Favorite Places to Read and/or to Buy Books custom list.
  • Create a calendar where people can post the various book signings in locations close to them.
  • Create a discussion thread on the potluck food list for each meeting. Who will be bringing what
  • Create a discussion thread for a Book of the Month so everyone can add their own comments about it

So as you can see, SharePoint can accommodate your need to share and organize information with all the different types of groups you interact with. Give it a try…I’ll bet you can come up with several of your own ideas.

Andrea Kalli

Virtual Trainer and Assistant, LLC

Productivity Training, Support, Customization, and Brainstorming for users of Outlook and SharePoint.


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