This is part of a series of articles sharing free online tools that can be used by event organisers and P&C Committees. I use all these tools myself, and the articles are based on my personal experience. Save time and money.
SignUp.com is a free, online organisation tool which makes it possible to organise volunteers with tasks or shifts for your next event.
It is straight-forward to use, has a number of options to customise your sign up page and is suitable for any size group, and conducting any type of activity from a huge fete to a bring-a-plate dinner.
There are a multiple of features, even in the free version, and this is just a simple overview for beginners.
What can SignUp.com be used for
- Parent teacher interviews [see example here]
- Allocating standalone tasks (for example helping a teacher move classrooms, each task such as cleaning toys, packing paints, sorting books etc can be separately listed) [see example here]
- Asking for donations of specific items (for example to make slime, fruit cakes and pet treats for your fete, you can list all the ingredients in specific quantities you want people to bring)
- Organising a Christmas lunch (allocating dishes to bring) [see example here]
- Event organisers can use it to roster volunteers
- Allowing umpires and proctors to sign up for exams/sporting events
How does SignUp work
- Creating a new account is very simple. Be mindful of which email address you use when creating an account, because this automatically becomes the ‘organiser’ and cannot be easily changed.
You chose whether your event is taking place on a specific date (ie for a fete or event) or not (ie for a list of cleaning jobs your teacher needs done in the classroom before the end of year).
- Because you can have multiple signups at once, you can allocate a name to each Signup sheet.
- There are certain yes/no options available:
- do you want volunteers to share the link with others (useful if you are looking for volunteers beyond your usual school/club community and you want people to invite their neighbours or families)
- do you want volunteers to see who else has already signed up (useful because people like to volunteer with their friends)
- will you allow people to swap tasks
- and will you allow volunteers to sign up other people.
This last feature is new – a husband might sign himself up for a 3-4pm shift and want to sign his wife up to the same shift. Normally each Signup needs its own email address, but sometimes families share a single email address, or you might want to sign up a child who doesn’t have an email address. This feature also allows a team leader to sign up for multiple people (ie a Scout leader can sign up and nominate spots for their various recruits).
- You can then nominate up to five email addresses to receive weekly reports, so other people in your group can see what spots have been filled
- The you get to the fun part – task of creating ‘spots’. You can nominate either ‘to bring’ or ‘to do or attend’, listing how many spots there are to fill, is there is a specific time for the task, and a description so you can be very clear about what is involved. There is no limit to the number of tasks you have, and you can always add more later.
- Once you have finished creating all your ‘spots’ you can customise your Signup form by adding an image or logo and choosing a coloured background.
- Then you simply share your form with your community – either by inviting them via email or sharing a link on your website or social media.
- Recipients click through the link, and add their name against the spots/tasks they wish to do. There is the option for people to cancel or swap jobs, and an automatic reminder is sent out between 1-7 days before their spot. The default seems to be 2 days, but you can change this in your organisers ’email preferences’ settings.
- The organiser will receive notifications when people sign up, make comments or cancel/swap their tasks. You can modify how often this happens in your ‘email preferences’.
What are the features of SignUp
It’s quick and easy for volunteers to use. Volunteers do not need to create an account to use, they just add their email address, name and click on the task/shift they want to do.
Reminders are sent to volunteers prior to the event.
Organisers can receive weekly reports of new sign-ups as well as being notified of any cancellations.
New Signup forms can be shared easily via email (up to 150 addresses at once), as a weblink or shared on social media.
You can create a contact list of names, emails and phone numbers (individually or import from a variety of sources), and use the lists to send messages, announcements and thank you messages.
If you have multiple events or Signups for the same group of people, you can create a Group page so they can see all the different SignUps in the same place.
Pass the Baton – you can transfer the role of organiser to another person, simply by adding their email address. It does mean you will not be able to access the SignUp unless the new organiser invites you, but this is a great solution if someone cannot continue their role of organiser for any reason, or if you want to re-run the event the following year but with a new co-ordinator.
Duplicate – if you tend to run similar events, rather than starting from scratch with a new SignUp form, you can simply duplicate the event. Individual volunteers and assignments won’t be transferred across, but all the tasks and descriptions are replicated (you can go back and edit the details of each spot/task).
Archive – Once the event is over you can choose to archive the form, so no new people can find it and sign up.
Things to note
SignUp users in the United States can use the WePay feature to collect payments but this is not currently available in Australia or NZ.
The Free version is free because there are multiple adverts and videos on the page. They can be a little distracting at times but it’s the price you pay for a free service. Premium packages offer the chance to be ad-free.
The FAQ and help section is very comprehensive, but you can still access customer support via email.
There are a lot of extra features with the Premium services, including being able to attach volunteer waiver forms or other documents when automatic emails are sent, detailed reporting and live check-in for volunteers when they arrive at your event. Paid accounts start at $US9.99 per month for a few extra features (such as being able to have an assistant organiser and unlimited group pages) to $US49.99 per months for large events and groups with up to 15 assistant organisers, being able to track volunteers hours, live check-in and more. There are ‘campus’ plans for schools which start from $US99 a year and include all the premium features.
Find SignUp.com here: https://signup.com/