PlaceCal is designed to work with the tools you already use for your events. Usually this is part of your web-based office suite, such as Office 365 or Google’s G Suite. We’ve consciously designed it this way to need as little extra training as possible on your end. You can also stick with your existing accounts and settings – if you already use Outlook 365, GMail or G Suite, your calendar application can integrate with other applications.
In most cases if you don’t currently use anything or have a pen and paper solution, we recommend using Google. You can create a simple GMail account for free that has all the functionality you need. We think Google Calendar is the simplest to use, and it also has the best sharing and collaboration options to make it easy to work with other people.
The one exception to this guideline is that If almost all your events are organised by other people it is worth considering using Facebook for events. For example, if you are a pub, theatre or general open community space, and most of your events are organised by people who already use Facebook, then this might be a better option for you. Facebook allows other people to create events and add them to your calendar in a well-formatted way. This route requires regular use of Facebook to get the most out of though.
It’s normal to have concerns about publishing information. Don’t be too scared though: it’s the same level of risk as publishing a poster or a flyer – and you can update it retrospectively. As long as you make sure that all the information you publish doesn’t contain any sensitive information you’ll be fine.
If you already maintain a calendar for your organisation, it’s likely that it contains a lot of information unfit for public consumption. In this case you have two choices: either to create a second public calendar (recommended), or edit all the sensitive information out of your existing one.
Creating a new calendar. Most software supports having multiple calendars visible at the same time, usually in different colours. We suggest naming one calendar “Your Organisation - Public” and one “Your Organisation - Private”. This means you can have a clear separation between your public information and any notes you might have on your private version. Instructions on how to do this are later on in the document.
Using an existing calendar. In many cases it will be fine to have the same information as public and private information – you just need to make sure that people in your organisation are aware that everything on what might seem like an internal system are being published to the web.
It’s worth noting there is nothing to worry about here. It’s likely you release exactly the same information already on your flyers, posters and other communications such as Facebook or Twitter. We do our best to spot any potential problems before they happen – don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any privacy concerns.
Some events have a limit on how many people can show up. We’re not providing ticketing facilities yet, so this is something to bear in mind.
If your event is already at capacity, then maybe don’t add it to the calendar. If your event is nearly at capacity then maybe put a note in the event description asking people to ring ahead.
In general though, we’d suggest erring on the side of publishing – being on the internet by itself will not suddenly mean hundreds of people turn up! PlaceCal is in very early days and we expect it to be more of a gentle trickle than a stream.
It’s important to think about how you will keep information updated. Think about how you can integrate it into your organisational workflow. For example, maybe whoever is responsible for booking rooms makes a mental note to update your calendar each time, or maybe once a month you go through it to see if anything’s changed. Also have a think about how you will make new employees and volunteers aware of your events calendar – maybe make it part of your induction process.
The key is that the events listing should help everyone by being a canonical source of information for your organisation. By putting a little bit of time into keeping your calendar updated, everyone benefits from up-to-date and accurate information.