Recently, I had to find some old information. I opened up some 15 year old Word files. After crashing my computer several times, I have returned to the selective use of paper because I found that the old school binder still has some uses. Here is when a binder is still a great resource.
Formal minutes, policies and procedures
Some things need to be kept for a long time. In a world where your computer can be obsolete in a year, there are things that require longer accessibility. If you are in charge of minutes, or have policies and procedures to follow, a printed set in a binder is a great idea. These are items that may need to be kept for 7 years or longer. Seven years is a long time in the life of a computer program or application. For this type of longevity, a printed version may be a faster and better approach.
It's a multichannel world. If you want to make sure that your donors and supporters stay engaged with you, you have to be sure that you are using all the channels you can, including paper. Many charities are still using paper selectively for invitations, annual reports, newsletters, or donor stewardship reports. If you are still using paper, a hard copy is a good way to keep track of what you are sending to donors and supporters. By keeping things in the format that your donors receive, you have a tangible sense of what your donors are seeing. A binder is a great way to organize this content by date so that you have a strong chronological record.
Call me old school but with technology changing so fast, you would be wise to have hard copies of certain key images, particularly those of people. I'm not saying to run out and buy an expensive camera. Just print off a few key images each year so that you have a back-up copy to compliment your digital library.
You won't need everything in a binder. But being strategic about paper storage is a great idea. Computers are great but it is worthwhile to have a back-up.
Editor Ann Rosenfield is more of a digital-based person but, in her personal life, she does prefer print books.