Have you ever tried to organize an event with seven other people over email? How about planning a work-day with your neighborhood crew? Even potluck wrangling is a nightmare via email. There’s a better, easier, and completely free way to assign tasks. I’ll show you how in Google Forms.
Teachers can use this tutorial to streamline parent-teacher conference scheduling and classroom parties. Small groups can use this tutorial for shift planning, work group assignments, and organizing shopping trips and carry-ins.
Note: If you haven’t been following this series, these posts are geared toward community organizers at the local level who have little or no budget for project, group, and relationship management.
The wrong way to assign tasks to your community
An organizer emails or CCs everyone in their group a list of needs. This results in a thread of 25 confusing and time wasting emails, during which everyone has to backtrack to make sure they’re not doubling work or duplicating efforts.
Here’s an email for a group party that included a list of supplies needed. The group was asked to pick something they could contribute and reply to all, so there’d be no duplications.
Now imagine you’re number 15 to reply to that email. You get to match everyone’s responses to the original list before figuring out what’s left for you to bring.
An easier way with Google Forms
Instead of sending a list in an email, send a link to a form where your group can select their tasks, after which their selections will be eliminated from future choices.
I searched far and wide for a WordPress solution to this problem when it first surfaced for me and I was disappointed I couldn’t find one. If you come across one, please let me know!
To begin, create a sheet to record you answers, and then edit the form as we did in the previous post in this series. Before you go any further though, we need to install an Add-on to your Google Forms.
Install Choice Eliminator
Click Get add-ons and search for Choice Eliminator.
Click the blue + FREE icon to install Choice Eliminator. You’ll be prompted to accept permissions. That’s it!
Add the list of options to your form
Now, create the list question in your form. You can use Multiple choice or Choose from a list, but I prefer Checkboxes when asking a community member to select from a set of options.
The next step is to assign this question to the Choice Eliminator. Click Add-ons and then Start Choice Eliminator.
A screen will display your options on the right. Some things to note.
- Make sure you select the question from the list and toggle Choice Eliminator on.
- Make sure the box is checked to Eliminate choices for that question.
- You can eliminate choices on more than one question in your form.
- Clicking Choice Options gives you advanced control over the options, including the ability to have the option be available for multiple selections.
Test your form options
Let’s look at the live form. The first image is the first option I’m about to select and submit. The second image is how the form looks now that the first submission has happened:
When you view responses on the spreadsheet, you’ll see each response recorded with the selection they’ve made. If you delete that row from your sheet, the option that person selected will again be available on the form.
If all the options are selected, you’ll see this message on your live form:
I hope you find this tutorial useful! If you notice an error or discrepancy, please let me know!