May 24, 2012

5 Cloud Based Apps For Teams to Organize Events Better (and for FREE)

Many of us in the nonprofit space know how much effort goes into organizing large, annual events.

Even though many of us are entrenched in the intersection between our work and technology, we often struggle with finding ways to make our lives simpler. In today’s world, cloud technology can allow most nonprofits with an Internet connection to access hundreds of files, manage multiple teams, and keep track of others whether they are remote or across the office.

Last year, our organization, Games for Change, put together the largest Festival in our 8 year history. With over 800+ attendees and another 10,000 viewing online, we’ve sold out the event while doubling attendance and income. Much of the organizing was done with new staff and new ambitions. While the Festival proves to be bigger than ever, yet easier to manage with a series of tools being used by the entire team.

To help you keep track of files while keeping your sanity, here are 5 of the tools that are making organizing the 9th Annual Games for Change Festival a breeze.

Google Docs

Not only does Google offer a suite of free tools for the average user, many of them are pumped up, improved, and best of all free, if you’re a nonprofit. When you have multiple team members managing large data sets like outreach lists, registration data, press release drafts and more, Google Docs is one of the best ways to make sure everyone is looking at and making edits to the most recent version of a document.

Whenever a new document comes into the fold, a team member simply needs to “invite” others to it, and they have the ability to edit or just view the file. This is much better than passing around or emailing new documents to your team over and over and over…


For me, writing content is an integral part of my day to day work. Whether it’s blog posts, outreach emails, newsletters, or meeting notes, I’m always writing something. And since I’m always tied to my iPhone, iPad, or iMac in the office, having my writing synced across multiple devices is key.

My favorite reason to use Evernote as a tool for writing is because it’s one of the few cloud based note taking applications that is a rich text editor. I do plenty of formatting in my blogs, newsletters, and meeting notes and Evernote is one of the few apps that allows me to write how I want. More importantly, it syncs with every device I use and is even accessible on the web in a rich layout similar to its desktop version. So, in the rare event I’m nowhere near my devices but can access the web, I have access to all my blogs, notes, newsletter drafts, and more.

Dropbox and SugarSync

When organizing a large event with multiple speakers, presenters, partners and more, your team is going to keep track of more than just text files. Our Festival team has to keep track of dozens of headshots, logos, data files, and etc. Without services like Dropbox or SugarSync, we’d be running all over the office with thumb drives and finding out how to email large files to those outside the office!

When we have to share multiple files with a dozen or more people, Dropbox is the way to go. We simply add zip files or folders full of files to our account and “invite” others to the folder. From there, they can download and use any file easily. It’s a great way to upload something once, and send it to multiple people forever.

For internal use, we’ve used SugarSync to make sure everyone is using the same file in the office. Whether it’s making sure we are all using the same file for our database software or making sure we all pull from the same folder of logo files, SugarSync has been the easy way to dump shared files in one folder for the entire team to access.


Hands down the most important cloud based tool we used was Wunderkit. At the beginning of organizing the Festival, we really had a hard time making sure everyone’s multiple tasks were assigned appropriately. Each member of the team was collaborating on multiple tasks that covered different arenas and with no central space to compile and assign tasks, things could get complicated quickly.

A few weeks ago, Wunderkit launched and saved us hours of time and sanity. Wunderkit allowed us to create a collaborative “workspace” where we could set up multiple task lists and individual to do items. The flexibility in viewing and assigning tasks has been an incredible help. During big team meetings, I could type in tasks and assign them while the meeting was going on, so by the time we all got back to our desks, my phone would sync with everyone else’s Wunderkit and we’d already be able to dive into the tasks discussed during our meeting. To ability to assign tasks that syncs with my account and devices but also to my team members has been absolutely key in making sure we’re always on task.

Join Games for Change in NYC on June 18 – 20 and save 10%

Interested in seeing the fruit of our labor? The NTEN community can save 10% on registration by using the code “NTEN” at:

Last year’s Games for Change Festival sold out with over 800+ attendees and 10,000 more online. This year’s event is sure to sell out with some absolutely amazing keynotes including: Jane McGonigal (Author of the New York Times Best-Seller Reality Is Broken and Chief Creative Officer for SuperBetter Labs), the legendary Nolan Bushnell, “father of the video game industry” and founder of Atari Corporation, leading linguist and researcher Dr. James Paul Gee (as presented by the Games for Learning Institute) and a closing program with Lucy Bradshaw (General Manager, Maxis/EA) and Michael D. Gallagher (President/CEO, Entertainment Software Association).

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Jeff Ramos
Jeff came to the attention of the new leadership of Games for Change through his personal blog, Game Culturalist, a socially aware blog about video games. Since joining Games for Change as their Community and Content Manager in September of 2010, he’ll be turning his eye toward helping Games for Change build its presence as a resource on-line and off at various community events. His personal blog will transition into covering social media best practices and advice. Jeff has been a DJ, music producer, graphic designer, illustrator and consultant to independent artists and small business owners. His passion for video games and social media make him a key new addition to the team.
Interest Categories: Cloud, Community
Tags: Cloud, Communications