8+ productivity tools for movement building

post by james_aung, EmmaAbele · 2021-04-13T13:15:03.041Z · EA · GW · 8 comments


      Want money to pay for these things for your EA student group? We can help pay for it.
    - Airtable
    - Zapier
    - Squarespace
    - Calendly
    - Google Workspace (aka GSuite)
    - Mailmeteor
    - Boomerang
    - Supergofer
      Roam Research
  Want funding for this? We can help

We and some of our group organiser friends have noticed that EA student group organisers often don't feel like they can afford simple software that could make them much more productive, get better at running their groups, and save them time in their busy schedules.

We think we've got a lot of benefit out of using software and services in running EA Oxford and Brown EA, and we think they provide a lot of benefit for small cost.

Part of the reason that college group organisers are reluctant to spend is that they're used to living on a small budget. But we think doing EA outreach at college is one of the most impactful things you could be doing while a student, so it's worth treating your time as valuable and paying for software and services that would be very standard at any company.

Below we list out our favourite productivity tools, software, and services.

Want money to pay for these things for your EA student group? We can help pay for it. [EA · GW]

1 - Airtable

Airtable is a user-friendly database which is like a souped-up Google Spreadsheet. It's really flexible and powerful. It has a free option and a $24/month/user Pro option.

2 - Zapier

Zapier lets you automate lots of stuff together. There's a free plan and a $20 Starter and $49/month Professional plans)

3 - Squarespace

Squarespace makes it really easy to make a beautiful website. (Our tip is try not to change the templates too much unless you think you have good design taste) $12-18/month

4 - Calendly

Calendly helps you schedule meetings by letting people see your calendar availability and book meetings. $10/month/user with a free plan too.

5 - Google Workspace (aka GSuite)

Get nice official looking emails for $6 a month e.g. james@eaoxford.com

6 - Mailmeteor

Mailmerge for GMail. Send out customised template emails without loads of copying and pasting. $9/month

You can also try out Streak Mail Merge

7 - Boomerang

Schedule recurring emails and reminders. $5-15/month

8 - Supergofer

Supergofer sends packages to a lot of people at once

Honorable mentions


Asana is a project management platform. Use it to have committee members keep their tasks and responsibilities in Asana.


Slack is a messenger chat for teams. Use it instead of email or messenger, and separate out topics into channels.


Notion is an all-in-one workspace. It's like Google Docs combined with databases and wrapped in a pretty website. We often use it for project management as its super flexible (this post was drafted on Notion), and Brown EA use it for their website.

Roam Research

Roam Research is a note-taking tool for networked thought. A lot of EAs I know really like it and use it for all of their note taking.

Want funding for this? We can help

We have a small amount of funding to trial giving fast grants to student organisers to pay for this sort of software. If you help organise for an EA student group we'd love to hear from you.

Interested in funding for software for you or your group? Indicate interest here (please err on the side of applying!).

Want advice on using tools for your student group, or want help getting things set up? Grab a chat with me on my Calendly, please do book!

(Note: student and non-student groups can alternatively apply to Groups Support Funding from CEA for software like this)

What are your favorite productivity tools you use in your group? Comment them below!

Do you use these tools already? Let us know how you use them in your group.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by BrianTan · 2021-04-13T14:34:33.290Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for this post! From your list above, we in EA Philippines use Airtable, Calendly, Google Workspace, Asana, and Slack, and we generally have good experiences with these. I've also used Zapier personally before, but we haven't made much use of it yet for EA Philippines. We should though soon.

Other software EA PH has used: Discord, Webflow, Miro, and Otter.ai

#1: Our 3 student chapters in EA Philippines use Discord for their groups/fellowships, not so much for productivity but for community chatting. Students in the Philippines are more active on Discord than on Slack.

#2: Another honorable mention is Webflow, which we use for EA Philippines's website. Webflow's student plan only costs $19/year, and they also have a free plan (if you are okay with hosting your site on a domain ending in" webflow.io"). CEA would probably be happy to provide funding for websites on Squarespace, but Webflow's student plan is still significantly cheaper and could save your group or CEA some money. 

One con about Webflow is it's a bit harder to use than Squarespace, but there are still free or paid templates that can be used. I think CEA / Catherine Low might have an EA Group website template on Webflow that could be duplicated, though I'm unsure if that's still available. I have knowledge of UI/UX design and of Webflow, so that's why I used it. And I wanted the design to be custom versus using Squarespace, which seems harder to fully customize.

#3: For brainstorming / ideation sessions, collaborative meetings, or just making diagrams, you can use the collaborative whiteboard platform  Miro.  We used this a lot in my previous company, and we've used it to make a theory of change diagram for EA Philippines. Miro's student plan gives you Professional access for 2 years. Google Jamboard is also an alternative, though I prefer Miro. 

#4: For transcribing talks or meetings, you can use Otter.ai. We've used this before to easily transcribe interviews we've done with experts or to create transcripts of past talks EA Philippines has organized. Otter has a free plan, but you can get a free 1-month business trial, and their plans are 50% off for students and teachers.

Free Student Plans for Airtable and Asana

Something not mentioned in your article above is that student groups can get free plans for Airtable and Asana. Airtable for Education gives students free access to Airtable Pro for a maximum of 2 years. Even if Airtable has a free plan, it's easy to go above the free plan, so we're thankful one of our student chapter leaders applied for an Airtable pro workspace. So EA Philippines's Airtable base is in this free Airtable pro workspace now.

Meanwhile, Asana also gives free 6-months of Asana Pro for student groups.  EA Philippines and our 3 student chapters have been using this free 6-month trial of Asana for the last 5 months, since the free plan of Asana only allows 15 people, and we wanted easier collaboration between our groups and us. We will soon have to migrate to the EA Hub Asana though, which is going to be a headache. But at least we had a test-run of Asana for 6 months, and now we're more confident of using ~$200 USD of our grant on it.

Hope this info helps other group leaders, especially other student chapters!

Replies from: remmelt, james_aung
comment by remmelt · 2021-04-20T06:43:44.013Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

re: Using Asana Business at EA Hub Teams.

You can sign up here (I see EA PH already did): https://is.gd/asanaforea

It’s also possible to ask for a fully functional team for free there, but you need at least one paid member account (€220/year) to set up new teams, custom fields, and app integrations like Slack.

Migration is arrangeable with Asana staff (note that some formatting and conversations get lost). Basically need to arrange with me to add my email to your old space, and include it in this form: https://form.jotform.com/asanawebdev/asana-migration-request

comment by james_aung · 2021-04-13T15:06:24.015Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the great comment and suggestions!

comment by JamesOz · 2021-04-13T16:24:39.404Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for writing this up, this is extremely useful! One tip: it might be helpful if you say how each tool costed (approx.) so people have a clearer picture on costs.

Roam Research looks really great but shame there's no free version. Workflowy is a similar tool and free (to a reasonable limit then quite cheap) if people are interested. I use it for note taking and brainstorming, where I find quite useful as you can 'zoom' in and out of points quite nicely.

Also, this is maybe for bigger groups but we use Action Network as a CRM which I find to be quite powerful, albeit the UX isn't the best. It only costs us around $23 up to sending 23,000 emails which is plenty or $10 for up to 3,000. As above, definitely recommend Miro for workshops, engagement and brainstorming.

Replies from: james_aung, harri.besceli@centreforeffectivealtruism.org
comment by james_aung · 2021-04-13T17:14:12.767Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the feedback! Will add some costs in

comment by Harri Besceli (harri.besceli@centreforeffectivealtruism.org) · 2021-04-21T19:03:49.707Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

Remnote is pretty similar to Roam and also has a free version www.remnote.io

comment by Sjlver · 2021-04-14T07:11:53.121Z · EA(p) · GW(p)

ClickUp might be a good alternative to Asana, particularly if you want to keep costs low. It's a project management tool for teams, but also works decently well for me as a personal task list.

It is a relatively young project and not as polished as some others like Asana or TodoIst, but has the advantage that the free plan covers a good range of its features.