There are so many moving parts when it comes to planning, organizing and carrying out an association’s annual meeting - keeping it all straight can be a daunting challenge.  Let’s face it, trying to remember everything that needs to get done is difficult.

To solve that issue, project managers often revert to writing notes and jotting down tasks. Though this helps, trying to flip through dozens of pages, then communicating your handwritten notes and delegating tasks with others adds another level of difficulty.  Sometimes things can get forgotten about or misinterpreted during communication. Byproduct issues like this have led project managers to adapt and incorporate today’s tech for more effective project management.

There are a few really good project management tools out there to help keep project managers' heads from spinning. From working with our various association clients, we’ve found that good project management is the most effective process to ensure a successful event. There are project management tools out there that provide an excellent framework for efficiently managing projects, and help keep everything organized, on-time and within budget. Let’s breakdown our favorites:

Related: How to Elevate Your Next Event with Social Media


Asana gives teams just about everything they really need at no cost for up to 15 users.  This system is user-friendly, so assigning tasks, tracking projects and logging them into a calendar timeline is very simple. The difference between the free and paid versions of Asana is the number of users from your association, company or organization that are allowed to be implemented into the program. With the free version, Asana limits the number of users within the project if they have the same email domain name. However, you can have a free account with one user from your organization and as many as you like outside of your organization at no charge. Many associations use Asana extensively for with their committees, staff and board.


Basecamp is one of the most widely used web-based project collaboration systems, and it is especially popular within the web design industry. Within Basecamp, users and teams can share files, assign tasks, set deadlines and centralize communication. Basecamp has a wide array of features, such as integrations with social networks, mobile-friendly versions and invoicing software. Basecamp updates all users within a team and keeps everyone on track. It even offers a 10% discount for nonprofits, and it's totally free for teachers and students.

Project management tools for events & marketing | Ironmark - Annapolis Junction, MD


Freedcamp allows project managers to have an unlimited number of users, projects and storage. Though Freedcamp offers much more than many other top project management systems, they charge for integrating with Google Drive, uploading large files, invoicing and issue tracking.


Podio has a ton of flexibility when it comes to personalizing an organization tool, but some users find it complicated. Though you can add all kinds of things - events, inventory and projects - the process of getting set up is somewhat confusing. But, if one has the patience, it's a very powerful project management tool.


Smartsheet users adore the fact that the system has templates for almost any type of project, and the layout is a familiar spreadsheet format similar to Microsoft Excel. It does a good job of helping users stay on top of the little things that need be done so that tasks don’t get forgotten.


How to choose the right project management tool

These project management tools enable forward-thinking and collaboration all within one organized place. They include tools for start-to-finish project management - assembling a team, assigning tasks, scheduling, budgeting, and monitoring progress until completion.

If you’re looking for something that easily shows all the different tasks that are assigned to all of your different people, any of these tools are the way to go. They truly enable project managers to more efficiently and effectively track who is doing what. In addition, they are especially useful for those who want to refer to past projects from prior years to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. From getting signage to registration, audio & video files, onsite guides, disclosures, brochures, etc., these tools simplify everything that goes into setting up an annual meeting

Need help deciding which is right for your business? Or maybe you'd like some assistance with planning your next big event? Ironmark can help! Contact us today to start on the right foot when organizing your trade show, conference, or annual meeting.

Written by Matt Marzullo

For over 28 years, Matt Marzullo has been a noteworthy leader in the print industry. Marzullo’s sharp business acumen and technical savvy allowed him to take risks others in the industry could not, making Ironmark one of the most forward-thinking communications companies in the field. His willingness to change processes and leverage new technologies for automation allowed Ironmark to enter new markets. In 2019, Matt Marzullo was promoted to President of Ironmark and became a partner in the businessin 2020. Alongside CEO Jeff Ostenso, the two work seamlessly together as they move Ironmark into the next phase of its growth, acquisition plan, and national footprint. Today, Marzullo deploys his trail-blazing leadership to oversee Ironmark’s $40m portfolio of business and ensure the company remains at the forefront of the print and communications industry.

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