Cult of Pedagogy Search Ditch Reply-All Emails and Sign-up Sheets Forever


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Parent-teacher conferences. Potlucks. Fundraisers. With, pain-in-the-butt scheduling is now easy-peasy.

Congratulations! You’re in charge of planning your school’s Fall Festival. You need 30 people to sign up for ticket sales, games, concessions, and clean-up. So you send out a mass e-mail to parents, plus a paper flyer that goes home with every student.

Some parents email you, and after going back and forth to work out conflicting requests, you add them to the schedule. A few paper flyers come in, and you email those parents to confirm their time slots. One mother has written “whenever” on her flyer, so you need to call her and get her assignment locked in.

A week before the festival, you still have fifteen open slots. So you send out another mass e-mail, which gets you a few more volunteers. The night before, you’re on the phone just straight up asking people to help out. And then you need to send a reminder e-mail to all the people who already signed up. If you add up all the time you spend on scheduling, it comes to four hours. Four hours!!

At some point you think, There’s got to be a better way to do this.

And indeed, there is. (formerly VolunteerSpot) is a free online sign-up tool that helps you do all of this in one central location. It’s simple to use, it will save you a ton of time, and because it’s easy for you and your volunteers, it may very well get more people to sign up for your events. If you’re still coordinating sign-ups with email and paper, your life is about to get a lot easier.

How It Works:

(1) As the organizer, you create a sign-up sheet online, and SignUp gives you a direct link to your sign-up.

(2) You send the link to all potential volunteers.

(3) They click on the link and sign up for a time or task that suits them. You can check the online sign-up sheet anytime you want, to see who is signing up. Once a time slot is filled, no one else can sign up for it.

(4) SignUp sends your volunteers an e-mail reminder a few days before the event.

This tutorial shows you the basics.

I’ve been using for a couple of years now and I can’t imagine going back. The site allows you to plan To Do tasks — like selling tickets or attending a meeting, and To Bring tasks — like items for a potluck. You can also collect funds for things like registration fees, contributions for coaches’ gifts, and charitable donations. Finally, you’re provided with a ton of tools to promote your event on Facebook, Twitter, and on various mobile platforms.

Possible Uses

Once you’ve given a try, you start to understand all the different ways you could use it. This is just a short list of projects you might manage:

bake sales
bridal showers/bachelorette parties
caring for sick or elderly family members
car washes
community service projects
coordinating meals for new parents
donating money to help a family in need
end-of-season sports parties
family reunions
holiday parties
neighborhood watch
parent-teacher conferences
play dates
races / fun runs / walk-a-thons
sporting events
teacher appreciation week

No doubt, other sites like this one exist. If you have worked with another site that accomplishes the same thing as, share it with us in the comments below. If you haven’t, I highly recommend you give it a try. I mean, who doesn’t want four hours of their life back?

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One Comment

  1. Looks great! I didn’t realize Volunteer Spot had changed its name. Iʻll be trying it soon. Thanks!

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