Use Technology to make your work easier
Technology have made it easier then ever to start and administer a LETS community. Tasks that used to consume a lot of time and energy can now easily be automated using freely available software and web applications. Do not make the mistake of just looking at specially design LETS software. A lot of the most useful tools was designed to do something completely different but are perfect for LETS administration as well. On this page we are going to take a look at some of the best free softwares that can make your life easier as a LETS administrator.
WordPress is a blogging software. The same software that this site is running. You can either choose to use a self hosted version of the script. This gives you more options but it requires that you pay for hosting somewhere. I recommend JaguarPc which is a good company that offer cheap hosting. The hosting does not need to cost more than USD5 a month. This website is using the self hosted version of wordpress. If you want to avoid the cost of using your own hosting than you can choose to use a free blog on wordpress.com. These blogs are 100% free but will limited the functionality of the blog compared to if you self hosted your blog.
WordPress can serve a number of different functions in a LET community. The most common use for the software is to use it to make information available to all members so that they know exactly what services that are being offered, when is the next swap meet and so on.
There are a number of difference e-commerce for plugin that makes it possible to buy and sell things directly through wordpress. If you take time and customize wordpress by installing different plugins you can easily turn it into a complete LETS system.
There is several cheap plugins that let you offer a iPhone and android app that sends push notifications when new community events are posted on your website.
There are a number of different forum softwares. Both free and paid. The paid ones are generally a lot better than the free ones and I recommend that you use Xenforo. An of shot of the popular Vbulletin. The free forum softwares does not offer the same features as the paid softwares do.
A forum can be a great place for the members of the community to be able to discuss different questions without having to met. I recommend that all question are discussed in a forum for about a week before any community meeting. This way every body get a chance to collect and share their thoughts before the actually meeting and voting takes place.
Open office a free office suit similar to Microsoft office. It does not offer as many features as MS office does but they do offer more than enough features for most users. The fact that it is free and open source is a big plus. Open Office contain Open Office Calc that works similar to excel. It s a very good program to keep spread sheets over all the finances in the community. Open office can be downloaded here.