BigTent is an application created to help volunteer groups organize members, events, news, and dues. It helps group leaders keep track of what the group members are doing and stores all of the information in one dedicated space.Show more screenshots »
BigTent was founded by Nicholas Chim and Laney Whitcanack in 2006 as a way for trusted groups to be managed online.
BigTent offers local, national, and global groups an opportunity to collect information and collaborate online. It is a one-stop warehouse for a group’s information, notes, news, announcements, files, photos, communications, and more. It is completely free and a very useful tool for nearly any group.
In order to view an online “training session” video, users must sign up in advance for a prescheduled class time. This was very inconvenient, as site testing was being done at 10:30 am and the earliest training was at 2:00 pm.
During the registration process, several of the items required minimum numbers of characters and symbols.
After the several steps required for registration, users are given the choice of what features to add to their group. Forums, photo sharing permissions, file sharing, classifieds, reviews, new member approval, and event posting permissions are all options. Users are then prompted to join Big Tent Announcements, which appears to offer deals. From the Announcements page, users can navigate back to their group via the status bar.
From the home screen, users can customize the appearance of the page with color themes, photo uploads, and feature areas. Users may add areas for news, photos, and videos, but cannot alter the layout of the page. The dashboard is very busy with marketing and group options. From the manage tab, users can access the dashboard as well as other management options. Membership types, forms, and fees may be determined and general membership management is performed here.
Overall, the site is relatively easy to use, but the video training modules should be available on demand rather than at specified times.
Users must provide a group name, nickname for group email address, description from drop down menu, number of members, geography, primary country, primary zip code, primary time zone, referral source from dropdown menu and agreement with code of conduct. Once the group is formed, the user must then enter first name, email address, and screen name or connect with Facebook. Confirmation was sent immediately with link to confirm email addresses. Users are directed to a page for providing a password, zip code, time zone, birth year, and gender.
There is no fee for using BigTent.
Any group of any size requiring a central space to collect and collate information would benefit from using BigTent. Be aware that the site is easy enough to use, and that the inconvenient training videos may be unnecessary for those with some computer experience.