Listed here are free tools that can help groups become more functional and efficient. Please add any tools you have found useful as well.
Very useful tool when needing to set up a meeting time that work for everyone. One sets up a scheduling inventory of the days and times a meeting could take place, and group members (when provided the link) can checkmark the times they can make it. Thus an administrator can simply look at what time works for everyone in one glance, and quickly set up a meeting.
Free 2 GB online file storage, with the ability to sync online folders with folders on a computer (i.e. if I save it on my computer it will update the online file and all connected computers). Also allows for sharing of folders with other people. Useful in that this is one of the few easy ways to get really big files to everyone in a group over the internet.
Yahoo! Groups This is a hybrid between an electronic mailing list and a threaded Internet forum. Useful for groups that are a bit on the large side. Includes features such as calenders, automatic meeting reminders, voting polls, and file storage. Also useful if you have multiple people trying to update the group on events and projects frequently, as users can set it so that all emails from the the Yahoo group are put into a single message that is sent to them at the end of the day (aka one email vs. 20 individual emails).
Google Docs (coordination, collaboration)
Allows for multiple users to edit a single text document located online. Useful for collaborating on research, idea generation, splitting up tasks (e.g. write your name next to what you'll work on), etc.
Google Calander (coordination)
Google Sites (coordination, collaboration, storage)
Useful when group has limited funding and/or webdesign skill, but would still like a website (either private or open to the public). Certain types of files can also be uploaded to the website, useful if wanting to make reports and documents open to the public. This website can also contain other Google tools, such as editable documents and calendars.
Free email service. Useful in keeping your group's contact information consistent (unlike the use of personal email addresses, where members and leaders changing can cause problems). Also useful in providing a more professional contact info for your organization.
Tip: It can be useful to have a Gmail and forward its emails to a personal email address. This way you can maintain a professional contact address while not having to personally check it every time. Additionally, you can then have multiple people receive the group's emails.
Created by Andrew MacNamara of OLPC Santa Barbara