For an arts organization, Meetup is an online social networking platform used to promote and facilitate group meetings in over 180 different countries throughout the world. The the website currently has over 272,000 Meetup groups including more than 30 million members worldwide including individuals as well as organizations. This tool requires an account but is free to the public. In order to create a meetup event, a small monthly fee of $8 is required and allows for an unlimited amount of members and organizers. The platform is easily accessible and available both online and through Android and Apple devices. This technological tool is particularly useful for spreading information online about specific events or a specific interest oriented meeting.
YoPine is a creative and easy way to gather information from large groups of people near or far. This is a social polling app that helps individuals and business make informed decisions faster. With this app you choose a graphic or image and create a question in which have two options. You can create a multiple-choice poll where you create four answers for people to choose from or a brainstorming session in which people can share their feedback. Both options can be answered via the app or if they do not have the app via text message and mobile website. This app was first created in 1776 and has since expanded its product by creating the functionality for *com, *ethos, *edu, *gov, and *crowd.
The *ethos product is perfect for non-profit organizations to receive member feedback. Arts organizations would benefit from an app like this because they could gather data for free. By using this YoPine they can directly interact with their target audience and receive feedback. The ability to choose an image for your question makes this poll stimulating. You can match your question with a specific image that reflects your content. This app is also unique, because you only need people’s contact to send them the poll they do not have to have the app to receive the question. In an arts organization you can send this out to your patrons to see what genre of shows they would like to see at your theater or even if they like your new marketing brand. Ultimately this app creates an enjoyable way for the organization and its audience to connect.
Google Forms is an application where users can create an online form in order to collect and analyze information submitted by participants who fill out the created form. This app is free to use for anyone who has registered for an account with Google, or has access through someone who has an account. Google forms can be accessed anywhere that there is an internet connection, by anyone who has the log-in information to the account where the form was created. The information collected from those who fill out the form is stored all in the same location, either in Google Forms itself or a separate spreadsheet. Questions created on the form can be in multiple formats; for example either multiple choice or a short answer type response. Once an organization wishes to no longer receive responses, it is easy to turn off the form. There is a wide variety of beneficial uses for Google Forms, specifically for arts organizations. For example, arts organizations may use Google Forms to conduct an audience survey, as an outlet for people to submit proposals for an exhibition or performance, or even to receive job applications or volunteer information.
What is most useful about Google Forms is that all of this data is collected digitally and in one place, widely decreasing the need for paper and filing. In addition, Google Forms is template based and very user friendly; so organizations could have virtually anyone, staff or volunteer, create a form if needed. These templates are customizable, so the form can easily be edited to match the branding and look of the organization. The organization, or whoever creates the form, can also set controls, such as limiting the number of responses to one per person, setting the destination where the responses will be sent to, or even allowing the order of the questions to be shuffled. Also, once created, it is easy to embed the form into the organizations blog, webpage, or to have the form exist as its own separate page that can be linked to.
Here are two good examples of arts organizations that are currently using Google Forms in effective ways.
Advent Film Group:
Advent Film Group has used Google forms to create an online application for their internship program. Anyone interested in applying simply needs to go to the website, fill in the various parts of the form, and then the application is sent to the location the organization has been set to receive the responses. Setting up an online application in this manner saves on time, paper, and ultimately makes things more efficient for both the applicants and for Advent Film group in that the responses are collected digitally and all in one place.
The Morris Museum:
The Morris museum used Google forms to create an online submission form for their upcoming juried high school art exhibition “Fresh Perspectives.” Interested schools and teachers can go to the website, fill out the necessary information on the form, and then further information will be sent to the school about how to digitally send their submissions to the Museum. Creating an initial interest form in this manner allows the Morris Museum to efficiently maintain a list of all interested schools, and a record of the necessary information that the museum will need before actually collecting submissions from the schools interesting in participating in the exhibition.
These discussed benefits and real life examples show that Google Forms is a very useful tool for arts organizations. If they have not already done so, hopefully more and more organizations will decide to adopt this app into their day to day operations in the future.
Image from: James Doyle, ohdoylerules.com, “Custom Google Forms”, 5/22/13