There are literally thousands of resources at your disposal to aid you in your journey. Most organizers are looking for the really cool and free tools. Well, you may need to do a little of both, but we’ll give you a few ideas to keep your costs low.
By now, we’d venture to guess that everyone has a Facebook account or is being pestered by a friend to start one. Even Elected Officials have jumped on the Facebook band wagon. Here you can send out an invite for your meeting and see who rsvp’s to your event. My Space and Twitter can also be a great way to follow up with events you are planning
Evite is another free tool for you to use without the higher level of social networking. Guests can invite others, can see who is invited, who is and is not attending and can add messages to their responses. Invites can be jazzed up with various designs available to match the mood of your event and contacts can be added to a basic contact management interface.
Yahoo and Google Groups
Groups are a more advanced way to send out information on an event or to communicate with a large number of people. Groups function thru what is called a listserv. One email address encompasses the entire group. Groups can be moderated or not and members can choose preferences that suite their needs such as daily digests, log in to read or an email for each post. Both Google and Yahoo offer pages for members to log in and post information. Understanding the reply to and reply to all is critical on a group. Those that don’t understand the need to remove the group email address invariably post too many messages and the intent gets lost in the clutter. Moderation tends to be the best practice but requires a diligent administrator.
E-mailing tools with a fee:
Constant Contact is a web based emailing tool designed for small businesses, non-profits and individuals that have limited html abilities. There are about a hundred templates that you can use and customize to suit your group. You can copy previous emails to maintain your group format, and text and images can be linked. This is particularly useful if you have a website or a blog and helps drive traffic to your site. Constant Contact also provides a tracking feature which allows the sender to see how many people have opened your email or clicked on a link. You can even find out who has opened the email and how many times.
Costs start at $15.00 for a list under 500. Email lists can easily be added and exported through excel and sign ups can be integrated into your site.