Are you haunted by a growing to-do list and neverending deadlines? You’re not the only event planner feeling that way. Luckily, there are online event management tools that you can use to make your to-do list less daunting.
Here are the most popular online event planning software options used by event creators to manage a wide range of experiences. They can help you do the same while reclaiming some “you time” in your busy schedule.
Event planning tools for project management
Some events can become beasts, with many moving parts and multiple people or teams working on them. To keep everything in order and help you stay on top of all the different elements, use one or more of these well-loved project management tools.
Trello is a free app that’s well-suited for event planning. You add cards to a shared board, such as “Vendors,” then easily drag and drop cards like “Florist” or “Caterer” to different categories (sourcing, in negotiation, or signed contract, for instance). This way everyone can see what needs doing, what’s progressing, and what’s been completed. There’s a free plan for individuals and a per-user fee for pro features and teams.
Basecamp is less visual than Trello but with more features designed for larger projects and teams. Basecamp is one of the original project management tools that many event planners use. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial, then pay a flat fee per month with no per-user fees.
3. Google Drive
Google Drive isn’t an event management system, but it’s a workable solution if you don’t want to learn new software. Google Drive is a simple place to store your spreadsheets, documents, presentations, and photos. It makes it easy to work on a shared doc or spreadsheet with your team, especially if everyone is working remotely. You can share them easily with whoever you want without having to email large files.
Here’s another tool that’s great for remote work or helpful if you often struggle with finding emails buried in your inbox. You can organize team conversations in channels by project (like a specific event), topic (like catering), or team, giving everyone a transparent view of what’s going on. Slack isn’t just for messaging either. Your files, images, PDFs, documents, and spreadsheets can be dropped right into a chat and shared with anyone. You can also search through your archive to find items with ease.
Monday is a visual project management tool with simplified status updates so you can see quickly how your work is tracking. Whether you’re overseeing a team of in-house planners or you’re working to get all your event vendors on the same page, it’s easy to customize Monday for any collaborative project, from conferences to festivals and everything in between.
If you’re still using spreadsheets to manage your attendee lists or trying to manage manual payments, stop! Use Eventbrite to make ticketing, registration, and event promotion a breeze, so you can focus on perfecting your event experience. Eventbrite also replaces your library of event planning books with its relevant and searchable blog full of tips and event planning guides.
The video meeting tool isn’t just for livestreaming your events, it can help you plan them too. Even if you’ve been using Slack forever and you and your team have worked together on multiple projects, sometimes a face-to-face conversation is the best way to hash out your event management plan or answer questions. While working remotely, Zoom makes it easy to meet with your co-creators or give a presentation to a group.
Ideas and inspiration
Need to centralize all your ideas, inspiration, and themes for future events? Skip the scraps of paper or searches through random phone notes and use these time-saving event planning apps instead.
Pocket is the “save it and read later” app. There’s so much to read online (like our blog about 77 event ideas) that you’ll probably always have a reading list you mean to catch up on at some point. Rather than bookmarking things, or worse, forgetting about them, you can use Pocket to keep them all in one place, conveniently waiting for when you’re ready to read them. It’s also completely free!
When you’ve finished reading something on Pocket and you want to reference it later, you can keep it in Evernote (they sync directly). And that’s not all. You can save just about everything in Evernote, from doodles to pictures of business cards, PDFs, and voice recordings. It organizes everything into notebooks with tags making it indispensable for anyone who needs to keep track of multiple events at once. It’s also free to use the vast majority of its functionality.
Searching for fresh content to post on social media can be time-consuming. Use Feedly to search by subject or keywords to find relevant content sources. Your newsfeed shows the most recent content from your select sources and will be displayed for you to scroll through all in one place. You can save content to read later or share articles with other team members.
Some of the best ideas come from your audience and community on social media. Keep track of your influencers’ accounts, see what they’re talking about, and save those ideas straight to Pocket or Evernote with Hootsuite. Hootsuite sorts conversations by topic, hashtags, keywords, or followers, and you can use it to schedule your own social media posts as well. Check out our essential guide to social media for events if you need more help with your social strategy.
Reading through pages of text in search of inspiration is the easiest way for your eyes to glaze over. With Pinterest, you’re able to find inspiration through beautiful images on all kinds of event topics. Create boards and pin images for your ideal event to create your own mood board. When you need ideas, jump into your board and inspiration awaits.
Do you find yourself consistently doing the same task over and over again? Try If This Then That (IFTTT) to automate it. For example, are you always tweeting posts out from your blog manually? You can set up a recipe for that. Creating a spreadsheet of your new followers? You can set them up to do it automatically. Want to add photos of your event to Facebook? IFTTT will let it happen without you having to think about it again. And like most of these event planning apps, it’s free to sign up and use.
Ever found yourself wishing for an extra staff member to handle tedious event planning workflows? Zapier can help you and your team save time and money without the new hire. For example, you can quickly sync your new attendees from Eventbrite to your email platform or CRM system of choice. You can download the quick guide to get you started.
Work smarter, not harder
Armed with these time-saving tools and our foolproof event planning checklist, you’re ready to tackle anything. The best event planning tools integrate with one another — like Eventbrite, which works with over 150 apps you may rely on.