feature image via Shutterstock.
I got a request from the A+ Priority Box to do a roundup of good event planning tech, and I thought it was a really good time to do it, so here we are. Pride is so fraught this year and that sucks sucks sucks. If you’re skipping out on Pride this year but still want to hang with the queer fam, maybe you’re planning your own thing? Or maybe you’re planning your birthday party? Or maybe you’re planning your wedding? Reader, I’m not sure which of these applies to you, but here’s some tech to help you do it all.
Get Your Group Together
I tried to find other apps to include in this category, but who am I kidding? “Do a Doodle” has become common parlance in the world of social humans. And honestly, compared to everything else, this is the gold standard. Use Doodle when you’re trying to figure out what dates and times work with a group of hard-to-pin-down individuals. Simply schedule an event with dates and times that work for you, and then send the Doodle around and get polling info on which date and time would accommodate the most people. Here’s a tutorial:
Plan a Thing
Earlier in the year, I tech directed a poetry conference. I got them all hooked on Trello, but if I had to do it again, I’d pick Asana. Asana is essentially a group to-do list organized by project where everyone can see what everyone else is doing and what still needs to be done. If you’re planning an event with multiple organizers, Asana’s really badass. You can also use Asana by yourself if you’re organizing an event alone. Plus it’s prettier than Trello. And it even integrates with—
While I’m sure y’all know about Slack, I couldn’t make this list without including it. I mean, we at Autostraddle use Slack. When you have a team of people working on a thing and you can’t always be in the same room with each other, it’s the only thing to do. What’s really excellent is its brainstorming power—it feels like a chatroom where you and your co-organizers can shoot the shit. Come up with new, brilliant stuff for the event you’re planning (or future ones!). Under 10k messages, Slack is free and has apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and the web.
If you want a combination of Slack and Asana, Basecamp 3 is where it’s at for you. It’s been redesigned this year but has been around longer than Slack, I’m pretty certain. Basecamp combines the chat elements of Slack with the to-do elements of Asana. There’s also file storage and a question that gets asked to your team every so often. Again, this is definitely for planning with groups of people. And your first Basecamp is free.
Invite Your Friends
I’m infamous among my friends for sending email invites for simple get togethers that can be easily planned over text. Usually I use Paperless Post, but how’s about Punchbowl? It’s sort of the same deal but they don’t try to stick you with random costs and a weird coin system—they clearly label what’s free and what’s pro. It’s also heavily geared toward moms with small children, but there are definitely some cute adult ones on there too, so really it’s for everyone.
I actually found this one when I was researching how best to collect wedding RSVPs, but it works just as well for any event where you are inviting a specific guest list. And if your guest list is under 100, you can totally use this for free! The nice bit about this is it integrates with whatever the hell invites you are using (paper or digital). You can even manage friends bringing guests and other questions (like food-related ones if you’re planning something with lunch or dinner). If you need premium, there’s the option to pay $30 ONCE and then that’s it, you’ve got premium for one event at a time. Give RSVPify a go.
If you’re looking to make a website and sell tickets for your town or city’s next hot queer party, Splash is for you. It’s free for single organizers and paid for large teams of people who need more functionality (and it’s EXPENSIVE, too). Do everything from build a responsive, mobile friendly website for your event to sell tickets to manage guest lists. And the website builder is v. point and click, feels a lot like Squarespace. Highly recommend you check Splash out.
Again, pretty sure you all know about Eventbrite but I feel like fewer people know Eventbrite is free for free events (and relatively cheap for paid ones). You also can get the organizer app (for iOS) that lets you scan QR codes at the door, so if you’re planning the next big queer dance party, this is also a great option. Oh, and they also have a resources blog if you’re new to this!
But what if you just want to plan a park picnic meetup and all you need is a headcount? Attending is the way to go. This one is SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT AND EASY. Just RSVPs, no mess, no BS. It’s pretty right out of the box, requires no registration to RSVP or make an event. It just…is. You can use markdown and add bells and whistles, but you also can make a simple page that just has the what, when and where with a button that says “Attending.” Also via their featured page I found out there’s an #NYCTechLadies coffee situation I didn’t know about so. Look at that! Attending is a webapp and is absolutely free.