by Adam K. Saperstein
Signup Genius (www.signupgenius.com)
- Sign-up: Allows you to create a sign-up for as many sessions as you would like and send it to your facilitators with a link to the sign-up and allows a fair amount of customization on the aesthetic of the sign-up. Also allows you to add and edit people if they tell you their plans have changed.
- Groups: When you upload email addresses, you can create groups, making subsequent sign-ups even easier to send out.
- Reminders: Sends an automatic reminder to those who have signed up for a given session on a date that you specify (the pro account allows you to send multiple reminders). Allows you to send subsequent messages (such as updates you might have) to all who are signed up, all to whom you sent the original message, and/or all who have not yet replied.
- Number Needed: Allows you to identify the number of facilitators needed, and once you reach that number, informs additional people who want to sign up, that the sign-up is full. Note, you can set the number of “slots” to unlimited so that this does not stop people signing up, something we recommend as it is always better to have extra facilitators who can then co-facilitate than not enough.
- Unable to attend: Does not record those who cannot make the session, so there is a baseline assumption that everyone has seen the message and those who have not signed up are not available.
- Spam folder: Some email systems send automated messages from Sign-up Genius to people’s spam folder. This is, of course, not unique to Sign-up genius emails. Work-around #1: You can copy the link for the sign-up and put it into your own e-mail that you send out. However, beware – if you don’t know whether or not the messages are going to spam, you will not know whether your reminder messages are going to spam. Work around #2: inform people to look for this email and teach their system not to put these messages in their Spam folder.
- Yes/No/If need be: Doodle was originally designed as a way to see how many people can make some event on a given day and time. If you are trying to decide when to have a session, this can be very helpful. That said, this is now often used for a sign-up on one or many given date(s) and time(s) that you select. When used in this way, it allows everyone to reply, even if they cannot make the session and includes an option of replying “if need be”. This can be quite helpful when trying to coordinate people with busy schedules. The ability for these three reply options (yes/no/if need be) is something we hope to see Sign-up genius add in the near future.
Neither Positive Nor Negative:
- Groups: Doodle allows you to link to your contacts in Google or iCloud. This is rather easy, but does require that you create a contact list for your facilitators in your email account. You can also enter email addresses one by one or copy a list into their system. As of this writing, it does not maintain email addresses in its system which can be seen as a positive or negative, depending on your perspective.
- Hidden Poll: This feature allows you to hide others’ responses to the poll. Again, could be a positive or a negative, depending on your perspective.
- Reminders: Doodle allows you to send reminders to people to complete the poll, but this only comes as part of their Premium package ($39/year). Not too pricey, but the bigger issues is that Doodle does not send messages to those who have signed up reminding them of the time and date of a given session.
- Customization: This is another Premium-only feature of Doodle. The basic poll design is not bad, but not as professional-appearing as Sign-up Genius.
Bottom line – we have used both of these apps to coordinate session with success. Which you choose comes down to a personal preference. In addition, there are many other options out there, including calendar apps such as Google Calendar in which you can schedule an event, invite others, and track availability. If none of those meet your needs, additional online solutions worth considering include Wiggio, SignApp Now, and Volunteer Spot.