What’s the Best FORMula?

Organizations have to collect a lot of information: volunteer signups, feedback surveys, registrations, general information, applications, and the list goes on and on. I am often asked for the best online form and the answer always depends what the intended purpose is. Here’s a few I like and how I used them.

Google Forms

Free with a Gmail subscription, Google Forms is easy to setup, can be visually customized to some extent, and dumps the info into a Google Drive spreadsheet which updates with the addition of each response. The downsides are that you can’t collect money and it doesn’t have the most professional appearance. I use it for short, informational submissions like ticket refund requests, free classified ad submission, general volunteer interest, and the like.

Cognito Forms

My new favorite, Cognito Forms allows you to make professional looking forms with a wide variety of features including payment collection via Stripe. The paid version includes additional options including Signature as well as additional payment processors. The contact email receives a notification whenever a form is completed and the information can be downloaded to a spreadsheet or PDF. All entries stay with the form so they can be reviewed later if necessary.

I use this software for applications, evaluation forms, work documentations, Board Member nominations, Volunteer Spotlights, Event Sponsorships, etc. whenever I want the form to look good and it will be an ongoing submission.

Here’s a Volunteer Spotlight form created in the basic version and the list of fields you can use to create forms:

Survey Monkey

Survey Monkey is a well known software which is designed for, well, surveys. It is not free but does have a ton of functionality and data outputs. Can you get feedback using other tools? Sure, but if your organization needs solid data from your respondents and your staff lacks the time to compile all the information then this is the software to use.

Signup Genius

If your organization has events for which you need signups, whether its a potluck or volunteer shifts, Signup Genius is a great tool for organizing all that chaos. Set days and times, describe volunteer work or donations needed, and the software will automatically send reminders based on the criteria you set. Signups can be copied from event to event so you just have to update the information and not have to recreate the entire signup. The free version has all functionality but you can upgrade to remove ads or use the software as a basic volunteer database.

Until next time…