With this headline and my physical proximity to the Pentagon, a bunch of men in uniform could be knocking on my door later today. (If I could only be so lucky…)
But knowing auction planners, my provocative headline is only a tad tongue-in-cheek.
(If you’re scratching your head, watch the Army commercial.)
When you’re organizing an auction with thousands of details, time is precious. Despite the pressure, some of the most fun people I know plan benefits. They are creative, interactive, and high-energy. It’s a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing, because it helps them secure help. They are so darn fun, they have a knack at getting people on board.
But it’s a curse in that everybody wants to hang out with them. Their phone rings off the hook. Others seek to find them, even when they’ve gone out of their way to find a secret place to work. (One of my clients escapes to her car to make phone calls uninterrupted.)
It means these planners are more time-strapped than your average worker.
So this week, I’m sharing six of my free (or nearly free) time management tips – all technology tools – to help new planners get up to speed.
1. Timedriver – online appointment scheduling tool
Assume Caterer Cathy wants to talk with you. Send Cathy your unique Weblink (generated from Timedriver) and she’ll see the days/hours you’re available. She has visual access to the times you’ve pegged as “available.”
Cathy can select the time that fits her schedule and Timedriver automatically schedules the meeting. You’ll get an email … Cathy will get an email … and Outlook (if you use it) will show your meeting with Cathy.
2. No Cost Conference – free conference call system
You need to meet regularly with your auction committee, but you don’t always need to meet in person.
This is one service (of several available) which provides a free system to easily accommodate 100+ people. No need to “reserve” the system because the line you’re assigned is yours to use 24 hours a day.
3. VolunteerSpot – online scheduler for volunteers
I’ve written about Doodle, but competitor VolunteerSpot has caught my eye. I’m still learning about this tool, but like what I see.
The heart of the technology was to simplify volunteer coordination. Whether it’s signing up as a classroom parent, bringing food to a picnic, or setting up for the benefit auction, it’s covered.
4. GoogleDocs – free document sharing
Imagine you’ve got an Excel spreadsheet listing potential advertisers. Instead of maintaining the document on your individual computer, load it into GoogleDocs.
When a committee member needs to update it, she’ll log into GoogleDocs and type her notes directly into the spreadsheet. As other members log in, they’ll see the most current version.
Say goodbye to the inevitable confusion of finding the most current version from “Reply All” emails.
5. SlyDial – free direct-to-voicemail connection
When you want to be polite and return a call — but you don’t have 30-minutes to talk with the chatty Sponsorship Chair — use SlyDial.
Call SlyDial, listen to a brief ad, punch in her cell number, and SlyDial directly connects you with her voicemail. She’ll think she missed the call.
6. Facebook Private Group – free online community tool
If it makes sense for your committee, set up a private group page on Facebook. Page members can update everyone at once, schedule group events, ask questions, and it will all be shared with members of the group.
The caveat is that everyone on the committee needs to be using Facebook for this to be useful. If you have Facebook resistors, this likely isn’t your tool.
Use one; use ’em all. In any case, these tools are great in extracting value from limited time.