Using Basecamp to organize a small event

I’ve mentioned in my baby shower planning post that I’m using Basecamp to help manage the baby shower details.  This is partly because there are six people helping to throw the party, and keeping track of email threads and other information can get unwieldy.

Basecamp is free if you are only using it to manage one project, so it’s a great tool to use for a one-time event even if you don’t plan on upgrading to a paid plan. Here is how I’ve been using Basecamp to plan a friend’s baby shower:

The first step wase to “create a new project,” which is as easy as clicking a button and entering a name for the project.

Basecamp organizes people into “companies,” so I created a new “company” called “Baby Shower Organizers” and lumped the other organizers into that company by adding their names and emails under the company.

This way it’s easy for me to message everyone at once. Another reason why I wanted to use Basecamp was to keep all the messages and comment threads in one place, for easier reference.

Screenshot of bottom of message window, where you can choose whom to send the message to:

Message all people at once.

Basecamp automatically sends messages and comments to all included people, which saves everyone the trouble of “replying to all.”

Screenshot from a specific message thread, showing who receives comment emails:

People who receive messages.

If you have deadlines for getting certain tasks done, you can add a milestone to the calendar. This helps everyone to visually see when things need to get done.


Basecamp also gives you the ability to create multiple to-do lists. We currently aren’t using this feature, but it could be quite useful if you have many different tasks that need to be assigned to the various organizers. It can help keep people accountable, too!

What we are using are multiple writeboards. In Basecamp, these are often used for document collaboration, as you can edit the writeboards directly, roll back to previous versions, and post comments regarding documents. For this event, we’re using the writeboards to keep track of information.

Our list of writeboards:

Using Writeboards.

Going to a specific writeboard, you can see that we’ve just added rough ideas. The collaborative environment allows people to edit the “food list” or add comments.

Example of writeboard.

Today, I’m using the “guests” writeboard, where I’ve copied and pasted the names and addresses provided by the mother-to-be. I’m keeping track of the envelopes I’ve addressed by “striking out” the addresses in the writeboard.

I think this turned into a “Basecamp features” post… but maybe you’ve found my “tour of Basecamp” useful!


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