Monthly Archives: July 2012

2 Online Tools to Organize Volunteers

2 Online Tools to Organize Volunteers

Recently, I became aware of two great website to help organize volunteers that are simple to use for any situation where you might need to schedule meals for someone in need or gather items for an event.

In the past few months, I’ve helped schedule meals for a friend who adopted a baby on short notice and witnessed another friend as their family was displaced when their home caught on fire. Most of the time, the problem isn’t finding people who want to help, it’s figuring out how to organize the help that pours in.

Two websites have been of great help: and

This site is a wonderful resource to simply and effectively plan meals for anyone in need. A new user simply fills out a one-page online form with details for the coordinator, the recipient, address for meals to be taken, start dates, stop dates, frequency, and special requests. Once these details have been inputted, you can invite people via email to participate and share the link via Facebook and other social media sites to encourage more support.

“ is great because it allows anyone to participate, whether they are a part of our formal Meals Ministry Team or not, and whether they are a part of our church community or not–it is open to anyone in a person’s ‘circle,’” comments Mary at Valley Springs Presbyterian Church. is free for anyone to use and simple enough for the non-technical user to oversee meal scheduling.

This site is a wonderful resource for setting up robust sign up forms for different categories of need, great for helping people in a number of different ways, such as for people in need of multiple items for a trip, room sign-ups, potlucks, helping friends in need, and more.

“I absolutely LOVE your site. I am a home room mom, prayer coordinator, on the board of a volunteer group, soccer mom, etc. and this makes my life soooo easy. I would gladly pay and can’t believe you do this for free,” Cynthia Morris, Dallas, Texas.

Simple Wizard for Building Sign Ups

  • Choose from hundreds of professionally designed themes
  • Upload your own image/logo to your sign up page
  • Use a WYSIWYG interface to create rich-text descriptions
  • Enter hundreds of dates in an instant using our recurring wizard
  • Watch video tutorials to easily create a sign up

Flexible Sign Up Page Formats

  • Non-date specific sign ups for donation lists or ongoing sign ups
  • RSVP format sign ups for parties and banquets
  • Traditional Date/Slot sign ups for massive volunteer sign ups
  • Sign ups with limited quantities or unlimitted quantities
  • Comment field for custom responses on each sign up
  • FREE advertising-based sign ups or fee-based no-ads sign ups
 Both of these websites can be helpful in different ways. I hope this information is helpful to you as you look for new resources to improve your volunteer ministries.

Free App: Bible 360

Free App
Download this app to help immerse yourself in the world of Scripture.

From the app’s creators, Bible 360 contains “HD video and documentaries, high-resolution images, and historical animations.”

You can download the Bible 360 app for the following platforms:

Note: The Bible 360 Lite App is free, with the Premium version available as an in-app purchase.

Get Download Now

Download Instructions: Choose the platform for your app and click on the appropriate link on the top-right navigation bar (e.g., Mac, PC, iPad, etc.), then follow the instructions on-screen to download.



Rediscovering Wonder – Rob Bell

A new video from Rob on Rediscovering Wonder! Check it out!

Shane Claiborne and Liturgy

Last year, Shane and a few friends compiled a fantastic new prayer book called
“Common Prayer:  A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals”.  Here’s the story behind it…

You can watch the entire liturgy here…

The NEW South African Artist Magazine

The NEW South African Artist Magazine

The South African Artist magazine has just published its fifth issue which is packed with a range of interesting articles and a great competition.

There are stories and interviews with local artists: Rob Domijan talks about the importance of drawing; Sue Dickinson shares her experiences of creating art for postage stamps; Ezequiel Mabote celebrates colour and technique in his wood-cuts; Tanya Swiegers Loots uses the age-old technique of glazing in her contemporary works and Michael John Parsons explores pointillism.

There is also advice on how you create an outstanding portfolio; tips on packing art for posting, and how to organise an exhibition.

The magazine features three step-by-step demonstrations by well-known artists Willie Jacobs, Steve Shooter and Lauriana Glenny. We show you how different types of lighting can change the look of a still-life setup. We review online art supply shopping in SA and ask our readers whether they prefer to shop in store or online.

Entries for our exciting cover competition are arriving thick and fast. With the deadline of 17 September around the corner and prizes worth over R10 000 on offer it is time to get your entries off. A full set of rules and guidelines are in the magazine.

The South African Artist magazine is published six times per year on a bi-monthly basis. The magazine deals with visual arts and the content includes interviews and profiles on South African artists, both established and emerging, plus practical demonstrations, ‘how-to’ articles, features on materials and equipment, and general information which is of interest to people of all ages who are involved in the visual arts.

Our readers include full-time artists who generate some or all of their income by selling their work; people who attend art classes, including students at formal institutions and those attending private lessons. The magazine also appeals to people who pursue art as a hobby, gallery owners and anyone with an interest in art.

It is distributed country-wide and is available at over 300 stores which includes the CNA, Exclusive Books, selected independent stores, art supply stores and galleries. To see a list of stockists:

Linda Hodnett
The South African Artist magazine
031 765 1574
082 526 2459

How to Use Free to Drive Your Marketing Strategy

How to Use Free to Drive Your Marketing Strategy

In the last decade, we have witnessed the “free revolution.” Marketers are giving away everything from books and software to vacations and even cars. This has shaped consumer behavior to the point that people often expect free and resent having to pay.

A Free Red Tag - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #17531868

I see this every week in the publishing industry with ebooks. Many consumers expect them to be free or sold for a nominal amount, because they incorrectly believe that they don’t cost anything to produce.


Unfortunately, authors won’t write for free. Editors and packagers won’t work for free. Online retailers and distributors also want to get paid, as do the publishers who find the books, curate them, and market them.

So free is certainly not a viable business model. However, it can be a brilliant marketing strategy. Many individuals and companies are using this strategy very effectively to:

  • Build mailing lists. I have been offering a free copy of a my 94-page ebook, Creating Your Personal Life Plan, to everyone who signs up to receive my blog updates via email. In the first six months, I have generated 23,326 subscriptions. In the next few weeks, I will offer a new ebook to take my subscriptions to 50,000 by the end of the calendar year.
  • Generate customer reviews. A few years ago Thomas Nelson launched BookSneeze, a website designed to get its books into the hands of bloggers (sneezers) who could “infect” their readers. We let bloggers chose which books they wanted to review in exchange for an honest review on their blog. We now have over 20,000 bloggers participating in this program. We have generated thousands of reviews for our books.
  • Provide product samples. Assuming you have a great product—and this is a prerequisite!—the best thing you can do is “seed the market” with free samples. For example, last week on my blog, I gave away 100 free copies of Marcus Buckingham’s new book, StandOut. I generated 1,353 comments, 567 retweets, and 340 Facebook shares. More importantly for the publisher, it helped drive the book to #4 on’s overall sales ranking.

So how does this apply to you? Simple. You should use free to drive your marketing strategy. This can help you build your platform and launch your products. Here are ten quick idea-starters to make free work for you.

  1. Offer free samples of your product to potential customers. This could the first two chapters of your book, the first two songs from your album, or a recording of you performing live.
  2. Offer an ebook or special report in exchange for newsletter subscriptions. Hubspot is a master at this.
  3. Offer a free copy of your product to bloggers in exchange for an honest review on their blog. Start with the bloggers you know and follow.
  4. Offer free copies of your product to bigger bloggers to do a giveaway on their blog. You can offer fewer copies for smaller blogs and more copies for larger ones.
  5. Offer your time for free to people who buy various quantities of your products. Gary Vaynerchuk did this here. Phil Cooke did it here. They did it to drive the bestseller lists.
  6. Offer a free copy of the product in another format to customers who buy in your main format. (For example, offer a free copy of the audio book to everyone who buys the print book.)
  7. Offer a free ticket to anyone who gets two of their friends to buy a ticket. You will make it up in terms of merchandise sales and additional visibility.
  8. Offer free bonuses (e.g. workbook, group discussion guide, video course, etc.) to anyone who buys your main product.
  9. Offer a free membership in your paid forum or club to anyone who buys your main product.
  10. Offer a free seminar or performance and then sell your products at the event.

There are literally hundreds of other ways you can use free to drive your marketing strategy and create visibility and excitement for your products.