Doodle: Easy Online Scheduling

Doodle Easy Online Scheduling

Are you and your nonprofit wasting precious time going back and forth with coworkers, donors, or volunteers as you try to find a time when everyone can meet?  Wish you could spend less time trying to schedule a meeting and more time actually collaborating to serve your community?  Let Doodle help.

What is Doodle?

Doodle is an online scheduling tool that can be used quickly and easily to find a date and time to meet with multiple people.  First you suggest dates and times for your event participants to choose from, then Doodle creates a polling calendar that can be sent to participants for feedback.  As each participant selects the dates and times from the polling calendar that he or she is free, Doodle aggregates the responses and tells you which option works best for everyone.

Getting everyone on the same page is hard enough with just five other coworkers, let alone fifty new volunteers you may have never met.  Doodle can be a valuable tool for coordinating a large event like volunteer training as well as a small event like a monthly meeting with the board.

Doodle in Action

Part of Doodle’s appeal is that it’s so easy to use.  The site walks you through the four steps of creating a polling calendar:

  1. Schedule an Event
  2. Propose Times
  3. Choose Settings
  4. Invite Participants

Each step of the way there are options to make the whole process easier for you and the people you’re trying to meet with.

1. Schedule an Event

The first step in scheduling an event with Doodle is to fill out a simple form with the title, location, and description of the event.  This information will be visible on the poll, letting participants know exactly what the event is.  On this page you will also enter your name as administrator and your e-mail address so that you can receive the link to view, update, or edit the poll.

Notable Features:

  • Easy Directions: The location automatically links to Google Maps, making getting directions a breeze.
  • Your Own Doodle Account: Although you are free to use the site without creating an account, signing in makes checking up on your scheduling polls a lot easier (especially if you have several out at a time).

2. Propose Times

The next screen asks you to choose days and times that you are considering for the event.

Doodle Propose Times

Notable Features:

  • Time-Zone Support: If you’re scheduling an online event, such as a Twitter chat or a video conference, you can enable time-zone support to keep participants across the country or across the world on the same page.

3. Choose Settings

In this third step, Doodle offers some options so that you can modify the basic poll to suit your specific needs.  These customizable settings allow you to tailor your Doodle scheduling poll to each event.  Among other things, you can use these different settings to transform your scheduling poll into a registration sheet, or to offer extra options to your event participants such as greater privacy.

Notable Features:

  • Yes-No-Ifneedbe Poll: In a basic poll, the people you invite can only respond “Yes” or “No.”  This option adds a third possible response, “If need be,” to give you more detailed information on participants’ availability and flexibility.
  • Hidden Poll: Perhaps you are looking to schedule times to meet with donors.  This option allows you to keep each donor’s schedule and availability confidential from the other donors.
  • Limit Number of Participants per Option: For example, setting the group limit to ten people per time slot would be handy if you are looking to conduct feedback meetings with past volunteers.  Once a timeslot has ten names, it will stop being shown as an option.
  • Participant Can Only Choose One Option: This option coupled with limiting the number of participants per option turns the poll into a registration sheet, allowing each participant to sign up for a timeslot on a first-come-first-served basis.

4. Invite Participants

The final step is to send out the invitations.  Doodle has three methods of delivering your poll to participants: email, Facebook, and Twitter.

For smaller or internal meetings, email is the way to go.  But if you are putting together a larger event, like a cookout to thank your volunteers, then a social media platform might be a better choice.  By posting the Doodle poll link on Facebook or Twitter, you can simultaneously advertise your event and find a good day for it.

Notable Features:

  • Import Contacts: Link your Doodle account to your email account to easily import the email addresses of the participants you’re interested in inviting.

The Poll

For the people you have invited, the finished basic poll will look something like this:

Doodle Table View

The people that you invite will enter their name or an ID number in the field that says “Your name” and check the boxes in the time slots when they are free.  In the image above, the best time to meet would clearly be Monday at 1:00pm.

Notable Features:

  • Load Your Calendar: If you do open a Doodle account, you can sync your Google, Outlook, or iCal calendar to Doodle.  This lets you avoid switching between calendars, making it easier to respond quickly to scheduling requests.
  • Comments: There is even a comment section at the bottom of the poll where participants can note dates that they would prefer over others or ask questions about the event.
  • Different Viewing Options: The image shown above is the table view, which allows your participants to see which dates and times are popular.  There’s also an option to look at the schedule on a calendar view, shown below.  The calendar view is helpful if you have loaded your own calendar to Doodle for comparison.

Doodle Calendar View

Doodle is an easy-to-use tool that could sort out many of your nonprofit’s scheduling problems.  How can you see Doodle working for your nonprofit?  What other scheduling solutions have you tried?  Let us know in the comments below.

Related Reads

8 Reasons Why You Should Use Google Calendar

MeetWays: Find a Good Spot to Meet Between Two Addresses

Photo courtesy of Dave Stokes, Flickr

Michelle Lindblom is a former Communications Associate at Wired Impact. Michelle has just finished her B.A. in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and English Literature at Washington University in St. Louis and she's looking forward to a career of combining the powers of language with an understanding of the mind.

36 Comments on “Doodle: Easy Online Scheduling

  1. 1 Malte September 27, 2012

    Dear Michelle,

    this is a very nice introduction to Doodle. We are impressed. In fact, it’s so good that we were wondering if you would allow us to use this article for our knowledge base at http://support.doodle.com ?

    Of course we will link to this site and mention you on our acknowledgments page as well.

    Best,
    Malte
    Product Manager at Doodle.com

    1. 2 Michelle Lindblom September 27, 2012

      Thanks for the kind words Malte, we’d love to figure out publishing this intro on Doodle’s support page. David from Wired Impact will follow up with you later today.
      Thanks again,
      Michelle

    2. 3 Karen King January 9, 2014

      This all looks very good and I would love to be able to access a Doodle poll. I don’t see anything above on how to find it, download it, etc. Just info on how wonderfully useful it is. Please let me know how I can access a Doodle Poll. Thank you.

    3. 4 David Hartstein January 9, 2014

      Hi Karen. If you head over to http://doodle.com/ you’ll be able to get a poll set up. They’ll guide you through the process.

      Hope you find it useful!

  2. 5 Lucía November 6, 2012

    Hi, this looks very useful. I will try it!

    1. 6 Michelle Lindblom November 6, 2012

      Hi Lucía,
      Thanks for commenting, I hope you find Doodle as helpful in planning meet ups as I have!
      Best,
      Michelle

  3. 7 Malte January 3, 2013

    Still one of our best knowledge base articles.

  4. 8 Adam - Project Manager April 24, 2014

    I totally agree with Malte. This is one hell of a knowledge base article. Keep it up Michelle!

    1. 9 David Hartstein April 24, 2014

      Thanks a lot for the kind words Adam!

  5. 10 suzumushiyh July 24, 2014

    Excellent thank you! For me the bit about table as opposed to calendar view was specially helpful 🙂

  6. 11 Yvonne Rosas July 29, 2014

    Could you tell me if there is a change to use the doodle poll? or is this a free web site to send out emails and pulling folks schedule together?

    1. 12 David Hartstein August 1, 2014

      Hi Yvonne. Doodle is free to use. It’s a great service. I hope you enjoy it!

  7. 13 Kristen Hafford September 15, 2014

    Michelle–

    Thanks for the info. I’m not seeing the Calendar View in the final poll. I see it when logged in as the admin, but not in the final poll. Is there something I need to do to make that show up?

    Let me know if you have any good ideas about what I’m missing.

    Thanks!

    1. 14 David Hartstein September 15, 2014

      Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear you’re having trouble finding the Calendar View. When you go to your final poll, do you see the tab that says “Table View”? It should be just above the poll itself beside the printer icon. Let me know whenever you get a chance and we can help troubleshoot.

    2. 15 Kristen September 16, 2014

      Thanks, David– it’s not there though. And I got an answer from Doodle support about why.

      Apparently the calendar view confused users. So if they are looking at Doodle for the first time (a new user), they will only see the table view. If they close and open the browser 6 times, on the 6th time the Calendar view will appear as well.

      Or if they have a doodle account and are accessing a poll, then they will also see the calendar view!

      Thanks for responding!

    3. 16 David Hartstein September 17, 2014

      Thanks for letting us know Kristen! I’m sure other people will be facing a very similar situation.

  8. 17 Lisa September 15, 2014

    I’ve just started using Doodle, but I have one or two folks who rather just send me an email or call. Is there a way to manually enter their information into the poll/calendar?

    1. 18 David Hartstein September 15, 2014

      When you enter a response, you should have the option to adjust the name on the left to be whatever you’d like. They can email you their preferences and you can just write in their name instead of your own. Hope that helps!

  9. 19 Toni October 8, 2014

    How do I send out a calendar poll for multiple meetings on one doodle?

    1. 20 David Hartstein October 9, 2014

      Hi Toni. I’ve never used Doodle for handling multiple meetings in one poll. I think it’s typically used to tackle one meeting per poll. I suppose you could pick the top two times for your two meetings as long as you were including the exact same group of people in both meetings.

      If that won’t work, I’d recommend reaching out to Doodle support directly to see what they think is best. You can do that here: http://doodle.com/help/contact-form

      Hope that helps!

  10. 21 Michael Mooney September 4, 2015

    I’m searching to find out if the time can be broken down into 1/2 hour segments. Have not found an answer anywhere yet.

    1. 22 David Hartstein September 8, 2015

      Thanks a lot for the comment Michael. You should be able to put in whatever times you’d like when entering info on the “Time Proposals” page when you’re creating a new poll. That way you can break the time slots down into segments of whatever size will work best for you.

      Hope that helps!

  11. 23 Carol November 10, 2015

    When I send out the poll why does it default to the “Administration View”? I want the participants to see the “Table View”. If they are new to Doodlepoll they may not know how to find the table.

    Thanks for your help

    1. 24 David Hartstein November 11, 2015

      Hi Carol. Your best bet is probably going to be to reach out to Doodle Support directly: https://doodle.com/help/contact-form

      They should be able to point you in the right direction. Hope that helps!

  12. 25 Bill Sherman March 30, 2016

    It sounds great,
    How do I get started.

    1. 26 Miun Gleeson April 4, 2016

      Hi Bill. Your best bet would be to visit http://doodle.com/. This outlines features, pricing and how to get started. Hope this helps.

  13. 27 dental treatments August 24, 2016

    Thank you for this. You always have some killer posts. I
    shared this on Facebook and my followers went
    crazy about over it. Keep the the great work!

    1. 28 Christine Soucy August 24, 2016

      Thanks! We’re glad you liked it.

  14. 29 George Robinson March 14, 2017

    The boxes for comments on each doodle poll are restricted to too few characters. We run an organic veg farm and our doodle poll has to use four comment boxes just to write enough guidance for our customers.

    We also split our poll into two sections: top and bottom. Once all the users have shown their preferences in the top half, the admin comes along and allocates which dates are to be used for which person in the bottom half.

    This means there’s just one place to go for participants: thy register their preferences and discover the admin’s decisions all in the same place!

    1. 30 Christine Soucy March 15, 2017

      Thanks for commenting, George. Doodle is a great tool for nonprofits looking to gather availability and scheduling preferences for meetings, events and volunteer opportunities! I’m sorry to hear you’re having some issues with the character restrictions for comments. Try putting the description of the poll to good use as well. Doodle gives you 500 characters there. Hopefully, that’s enough space to give your customers some guidance. Best of luck!

  15. 31 Dolores April 24, 2017

    I am new to Doodle, when go back to the poll that I invited people to, I don’t see responses or the invitees names, shouldn’t I at least see spaces for all the people that I sent an invite to?

    1. 32 Christine Soucy April 25, 2017

      Hi, Dolores. Once those people that you invite participate in the poll, their names and responses should appear for you. They’ll enter their own names into the poll as they’re filling it out so you won’t be able to see them beforehand. I hope that helps!

  16. 33 Jo June 29, 2017

    We sent out three poll in our new Doodle account, but they were not received by recipients. However, a reminder email WAS received by all. Any guidance?

    1. 34 Christine Soucy June 30, 2017

      Hi, Jo. It’s odd that you’d receive one email and not the other. Check out this support article from Doodle to see if one of these common errors could be the issue. If not, I’d suggest reaching out to Doodle’s support team to get it resolved. Sorry I can’t offer any more help, but best of luck getting to the bottom of this!

  17. 35 Ken Litwak July 26, 2017

    I created a Doodle meeting but did not enter possible times. Now I cannot figure out how to do that. I have not been able to find any doc on how to do this besides the simple statement that you do it. Please help. Thanks.

    1. 36 Christine Soucy July 27, 2017

      Hi, Ken. Once you’ve selected the poll that you’d like to edit from your dashboard, you should see an edit option centered across the top of the page. Click on the “edit” button and then click “continue” to reach step two of three in the set-up process. Here, you can select the dates and times for your poll. You’ll need to click “continue” once more and then click the “finish” button in the bottom right corner of step three to save your changes. I hope that helps. Good luck!

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