Besides the basics of email and a Society website, the following tools may be useful to Societies in their communications efforts:
Google Calendar: the calendar can be embedded in a web page, and you can combine multiple calendars (to distribute responsibility to multiple committees, for instance) into one single calendar. See the two calendars on this page for an example of how it works: The Ethical Year Another advantage: members can subscribe to the calendar and get it on their personal calendar.
Your website provider may also provide options for automated calendars for display on the site. Check with the provider for details, and determine how to share the responsibility for updating with each option.
Staff members, including Leaders, who need to schedule office appointments might try TimeTrade. It’s like the old days when there was a receptionist in many offices who could schedule appointments for staff members, only automated. The tool will send a confirming email to both staff member and the person making the appointment, and can add the appointments directly to the staff member’s (Google) calendar.
To send emails to a group, without relying on each sender and replier to check who is currently supposed to get the emails, use an automatic email list alternative. You’ll avoid missing people, or keeping people on the list who really don’t want to get the emails. A plus: people can find archives of past emails through a web interface. You will need a reliable administrator to set up the list and maintain it. Every option has pluses and minuses, and ardent partisans and those who don’t like the option. See Email Lists for more information.
For email “blasts” — mass emails to members or other groups of email addresses — or for smaller and simpler email lists, see Email Lists for more information.
For events for which you charge, using online signup which includes credit card payment can significantly increase attendance at the event.
For event signups, some organizations use Eventbrite. For free events, there is no charge. For events with a charge, you can collect the money through Eventbrite’s registration process, and Eventbrite takes a small percentage of a payment as a fee – no cost if you get no registrations.
BrownPaperTickets is a fair-trade ticketing site, an alternative to Eventbrite.
SignUpGenius can register people for events and collect fees; the Pro version has additional features but the basic version is enough for many purposes.
Volunteer Signups Online
Beyond event signups, SignUpGenius can sign up people for volunteer slots, planned dish potlucks, etc. Need greeters every week? Need to set up a book group with different leaders and different snack providers each month? Need to organize bringing meals for someone recovering from an illness or having a new baby? Organize donations for Secret Santa so that people sign up for the wished-for items? Ask for wished-for items to donate to the Society? Have volunteers sign up for time slots when tabling for a street fair to publicize your Ethics for Children program? SignUp Genius will also let you send emails to those who’ve signed up, and automatic emails reminding of events are included.