Planning a large event like a Veg Fest needs good tools. Compassionate Action for Animals embraces technology, and that has made our lives as organizers much easier.
Here are some tools we recommend.
Get yourself a wiki now! A wiki is a great way to manage information for your festival, and it also lets you easily look back at pages from past years.
A wiki is basically a collection of editable web pages. You browse from page to page and edit them as needed. A wiki should also make it easy to link between pages.
There are a lot of wiki hosting services out there. Here are a few that are worth trying:
- Google Sites – while in theory this is a website builder, it works perfectly well as a wiki too.
- Wikispaces – their $5/month plan is probably sufficient for you
- Wikidot – a bit more expensive if you have more than 10 people who need access
- ourproject.org – free but fairly bare bones – they also offer mailing lists and other services
- Google for “wiki hosting” – there are many, many options
Google Drive and Google Docs
Sometimes a wiki just doesn’t cut it but you still want a shared, editable solution. We recommend using Google Docs for spreadsheets like your budget, exhibitor & sponsor tracking, volunteer tracking, etc. You might also use it for text documents that require some design, like your exhibitor and sponsor prospectuses.
When you start your planning, create a single folder for the festival and share it with your committee. That way you can add new documents to the folder and they are automatically shared.
Whatever you do, we strongly recommend against mailing around spreadsheets and Word Docs. This makes it very hard to know who has the most up-to-date copy, and there’s no way for someone to see the information if it’s not in a central location.
You really need an email list for group communication. Once again, there are many, many options out there. Google Groups is a reasonable choice if you don’t want to look at dozens of options.
Project Management Software
This isn’t a must have, but it will make your life easier. We really like Basecamp. It starts at $29/month. With Basecamp, you can create shared todo lists for everything in the project. Tasks can be assigned to individuals with due dates. You can also have discussions on items, attach files, and it has excellent mobile clients.
You might be tempted to use this instead of an email list and wiki, but the discussion features make it hard to regularly include the whole committee. That may work for you, though. As a wiki, it pretty much stinks because it has no features to make it easy to link between documents. Use a wiki instead.
Contact Management Software
If you plan on doing a Veg Fest for multiple years, some sort of contact management software is very helpful. However, this is getting into the domain of nonprofit management, which is beyond the scope of this site. Suffice it to say that all organizations should use some sort of contact management software. As a nonprofit you really want something with donation tracking features too.
Many people have done festivals before you. Talk to them! Compassionate Action for Animals is happy to talk to you to answer your questions, but please read through this site first. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know someone else who’s organized a festival we strongly encourage you to talk to them too. They probably have a different perspective from ours, and they may give you advice we haven’t thought of. If they do, please share it with us so we can add it to this site!