Planning a pot luck, tailgate or cookout and want to spread the cooking chores to your friends? Or maybe you are planning your child’s birthday party and want to give Grandma, Grandpa and the rest of the family ideas on what toys to buy? Whatever event you are planning, creating a sign up sheet will allow you to answer the most common question every event planner is asked by friends that are attending. “What can we bring?”.
ThingToBring.com is a website dedicated to this very question. The original idea came from a frustration we always experienced when planning tailgating parties for college football. We are season ticket holders and share a section with 32 friends. That means we have some awesome tailgates! I am an avid griller and BBQ (I am one of the founders of GrillingCompanion.com), so I am usually the one that cooks for everyone. I am fine with that because one of my favorite things to do is to feed people! The frustrating part comes from trying to let my friends know what they can bring to help out. No one wants to be a free-loader, everyone wants to feel like they contributed to the party. So here’s what typically happens during the week leading up to a game. Friends would call another friend and invite them to the party. That friend would always get the question “what can we bring?”. Said friend replies “Steve is cooking, give him a call and ask what you bring”. I get the call, feel bad that I am even asking someone to bring something and to top it all off, I don’t really know who told who else to bring what! Game Day arrives and we have a great party, filled with whatever we cooked onsite and about 15 bags of chips, 5 pies and 4 dozen cookies. My cooler on the way home is packed with more stuff than when I arrived at the game, with all of the redundant snacks everyone brought because they felt they needed to bring something. I finally gained enough weight from the extra carbs to put my programming skills to work! The result was ThingToBring.com, a really simple and quick way to create and send a sign up sheet to all of my tailgating buddies!
Well, like myself, all of my friends are gadget lovers and we all carry around iPhones. The initial feedback I got from friends was that they really wished they could easily add Things for people to bring on their phone, whenever they thought of something else they wanted for the party. They (and I) also wanted a really easy way to check who is bringing what while in the supermarket while buying all of the supplies for the party. As a result, Thing2Bring for iPhone was born! Thing2Bring is a mobile extension of ThingToBring.com. Once you register with an email address and password, you can access, monitor, add things for people to bring, invite new friends, track RSVPs and who is bringing what for any sign up sheet you created on either the website or from within the mobile app. Everything is kept up to date so you and our friends know who is bringing the chips already (please, no more chips!).
At this point, we have “scratched our itch” when it came to the tailgating frustration and now I want to make it ever more useful for other event planning. I love the fact that people are using this for things I never even imagined. This Thanksgiving brought new users to the site and mobile app to help plan their Thanksgiving feasts. From looking at the data, it seems like most Thanksgiving planners opted to cook the turkey and outsource all of the casseroles. Pretty cool to see that people got a lot of use out of it for Thanksgiving. That’s what it is all about, solving your own problem first and then making it great for other people as well.
So give it a try for free and let us know what you think. What else can we do to make it easier to create and track your next event’s sign up sheet? What other features should ThingToBring.com and Thing2Bring have? There is a feedback button there on the right side of the website. You can anonymously leave suggestions and feedback if that is more your speed. Party on!