Virtual Reception/Visitor Management
Room Booking / Meeting Space Tools
Shared Client Management
Human Capital Management
Database Software for Case Management
IT Needs for Shared Space
Paperless Security Desk Sign-in
Online Conference Room Calendar Scheduling
Managing/Limits on Room Bookings through Credit System
See also Room Booking Etiquette
NCN Webinar I Software for Shared Spaces (March 2020)
The Receptionist Helps guests to your space quickly connect with the right people
Envoy – Collect guest information, capture their photos and have them sign legal documents—all on the iPad.
Salto – Enhances the usability of virtually every building environment by securing nearly every door and enabling the monitoring and control of every user.
WUN Happy Desk A new meeting space management system that combines online booking and e-commerce capabilities with robust reporting.
Event Pro Software Used by Mansour Center – “A single system where the Venue Booking, Event Management and Catering Management components are all seamlessly integrated so they can easily stand alone or be used all-in-one and anything in between.”
Room Booking System Used by Saskatoon Community Service Village
Nexudus – used by cSpace, Literacenter, Tides Center, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia, and Center for Social Change
Novus Insight – used by Jessie Ball duPont Center, CT Community Nonprofit Alliance
Cobot – Member Mangement, Invoice and Payments, Booking Calendar, Wifi Integration, White Label – Customization, Business Reporting
TeamUp – used by Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Commerce
Caterease – used by David Brower Center (room reservations / event bookings, staffing, account management, and payment processing. It integrates with Quickbooks, Sage 50, and Google Calendar)
Ask-NCN Discussion 10/23/14
Zach Lifton, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
It’s been asked before, but maybe someone has an update. We really struggle with how to allow members to book rooms, without abusing that access or being generally inconsiderate. Right now we just use Google Calendar, but we’ve outgrown it. Ideally, in dreamland, we need a system that allows members to see availability, prevents over-booking, limits amounts of time members can book, and requires a “check-in” for the reservation… which gets deleted if not used.
We’re [obviously] willing to pay for this type of software: any suggestions?
Karen Maciorowski, CT Nonprofit Center
We created a survey monkey to capture all of the information needed to book a room and will be making the view function of the calendar public so they can choose an available time. On top of it we have to manage cars on site and keep them under 50 for meetings held at the same time.
Looking forward to any ideas. It is starting to become a full-time job!
Saul Ettlin, Tides
Tides and the Thoreau Center recently engaged NEW.org to license their conference room management system (currently used by David Brower Ctr., Marin Space and others). We liked this option because it is a single license agreement without the ongoing fees that come with many of could based offerings. We did invest in some development to make some tweaks to meet our needs. My understanding is the work we had done on the system constitutes a new build so the features we added should be available to others.
NEW’s system has the ability to have a login for specific users where they can only book for themselves and cannot override another users entries. The system also provides a notification to an administrator (administer can override all bookings) that a booking request has been made (and which can then be approved by the administrator). The systems does require a web server or it can be hosted on the developer’s server for a nominal fee.
We’re planning on running two instances of this system with 8 conference rooms in San Francisco location and 6 conference rooms in our New York offices. While we haven’t yet deployed the system (launching in the next two weeks), it has been great to work with NEW’s team and their developer. We selected this system after attending and NCN’s webinar on conference management systems and more research on the options available.
I’m sure you could contact Marin Space or David Bower center to see how the like it.
The contact person at NEW is:
Yodit Mesfin Johnson
Chief Relationship Officer
Jennifer Pedroni, HealthSpark Foundation
We have used this system developed by NEW as described below for a few years. I am happy to talk with folks about our design and implementation process and current use of the system. It has worked very well for us and we review, modify and refine it about once a year. You can see it on line on our website here.
Pam Brems, Mansour Center
We have been users of EventPro for many years, and we are highly satisfied with its features and, in particular, their outstanding customer service. However, we run a full service conference center, booking outside entities with rooms and catering, AV, etc. It is not a “self-serve” kind of booking arrangement. I’m not sure if EventPro has that capability.
Brandi Stanley, Posner Center for International Development
I’ll be honest in saying that in all the work we’ve done to research this, even though there are some models (probably like NEW) that work well enough, we have yet to find one that meets all of the needs and variables we have. Perhaps it’s worth starting with some needs and working up over time, but we haven’t found that value yet. And, I’m probably a bit strange because I come from a design/web background, but I have yet to find one that’s also intuitive/easy to use, and beautiful (and, one that can be branded into our website, rather than being the one hideous thing that sticks out like a sore thumb). We’ve even looked into helping others develop a completely new one because we’ve been so frustrated elsewhere.
In the end, we’ve still found Google Calendar (along with Spanning for Google, to help retrieve any accidentally deleted dates) to be useful enough, and it doesn’t require money or the time to train on/search for/or develop a new or revised platform. The only thing I wish that it had for sure was an ability to track time so that we not only knew what rooms were being used, when, and how often, but by whom (so that we could cap their usage and/or charge for more).
Jodie Semkiw, Sasktaoon Community Service Village
For the past two years now we have been using a web based software called Room Booking System out of the UK. We have been really happy with it! The interface is very user friendly for our agencies and has a number of options for the Administrator. It does have a options for tracking the highest user and the room that is used the most etc. There are 3 or 4 levels I believe. We use the most basic. They also offer a discount for Nonprofit organizations. http://www.roombookingsystem.co.uk/features-businesses.asp
Excellent! — and similarly, we were pointed toward Cobot: still looking into, but has many robust features specifically designed for coworking spaces. Their free trial has been enlightening.
Deeter Schurig, cSpace
Just curious whether you decided to commit to Cobot or not? We have been frustrated with another option and are now looking at Cobot. We are interested in features of invoicing, direct billing (ie paypal or stripe) booking of hotdesks, etc. Your perspective is appreciated.
Hi Deeter — sorry to take a bit to get back to you on this: we were actually in direct conversation with Cobot last week about some last minute questions so I figured I’d wait to update you until we found out a few more answers.
So while we haven’t implemented their service yet, it seems very (very) likely that we soon will as long as our finances come together to have it make sense.
If you haven’t already, I would just suggest setting up a call with them: they are extremely nice and very helpful. They can also set you up with a trial version so you can poke around a bit. As an FYI they are based in Germany so there’s a six hour time difference (from EST): just takes a little advanced planning to set an appointment.
Aaron Cruikshank, CRUICKSHANKI’m implementing Nexedus at a coworking project next month. Haven’t started using it yet but when we did our scan of available solutions, it looks ideal. Lots of coworking spaces use it. Super powerful.
Thanks for your response and no worries. We are moving along with Nexudus and seem to be making good progress. There is significant flexibility and plenty of variables that can be utilized which add to the setup. We are interested in integrating print management all into one portal and this is all a bit of an experiment for the time being, but seems possible…
Misha, Engagement Lab
This is my first post to the Nonprofit Center Network. I’m excited to be part of this community and both offer any wisdom and tap into yours.
I’ve been hired to run The Lab, Oakland California’s newest co-working space dedicated to social change agents. This is the brain child of Citizen Engagement Lab a social change accelerator and incubator. Check us out at www.engagementlab.org. We are slated to open at the beginning of March.
Right now I’m looking into co-working space platforms to manage our space. I’ve been looking into the two recommended here Nexudus and Cobot. If you all have been using these and now have some feedback I’d love to hear.
Doug Barrington, HNS Life Center
We are just digging into Happy Desk. It looks promising thus far.
Jimmy Martin, Chicago Literacy Center
We’re looking into Happy Desk, as well, and I can say that they seem to have very reasonable pricing and excellent customer support. We’re still in the testing phase, but it does look promising
From an Ask-NCN Discussion 11/19/15
Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
A huge number of centers use Google Calendar to manage their meeting rooms. We know it’s not a perfect solution, but many folks have found ways to make it work for them. I want to gather information about HOW you set up your Google Calendar for your center. Did anyone document the process as they set it up? Are you willing to share that documentation? Have you found any plug-ins or add-ons that have been super helpful to your space? Also, I’ve heard that some groups prefer to have every meeting room on a separate calendar, others have all rooms on one calendar. What did you decide to do and why?
Karen Maciorwoski, The CT Nonprofit Center
WE are moving to a specially designed room reservation system for nonprofit centers! It handles room reservations, user log-in, confirmations, technology assignments, daily wifi, and hot-desking. Our technology consultants who are also a 501c3 organization, created the system for a local library and then customized it for another nonprofit center, and are now currently customizing it for us. We were able to get a grant to pay for the customization and licensing and the annual cost is reasonable. We are currently using google calendars and survey monkey to make requests, but the work load it added to our staff outweighed the cost to purchase something more sophisticated. We got caught off guard with a few meetings that were double booked and this system will allow for greater user interface and customer service.
Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
We use Google Calendar for all of our meeting rooms and it works great. We have 8 meeting rooms and 30 tenant organizations. We try and only give add and manage capabilities to one person per organization but everyone can have read only access plus ours is public so everyone can view it on our website. We have found that color coding works the best for us so you can look at a glance and know which rooms are being used. So the Order at the top in the meeting line is ROOM NAME / ORGANIZATION NAME / MEETING NAME and it is color coded to the room. For Example Regions room is green, Hancock is blue, Topazi is orange and so on so I can glace at a week and see what is open when and then if I need to know more I can open it up and get details. Also we will reserve the room for set up for a meeting but put set up so if there is a conflict or someone else needs the room then they will know there is flexibility on the use of it that day since it really isn’t a “meeting” just set up for the next day. It also helps our janitorial staff know which rooms had events in them that day so they know which need extra attention etc. I attached a picture of what next week looks like on our calendar. There of course are mistakes but the good thing is you know who set a meeting because it will say the email that added it but we have very few double bookings. The biggest mistake we will have is that people will save it to their personal calendar instead of the public Knight calendar that everyone can see so they see it on their calendar but no one else does but that doesn’t happen very often. People usually only make that mistake once. I go through and glance ahead every once in a while and just check and make sure people have set them right and correct any color changes that need to be made but most people caught on to the color code system pretty fast. However, we do not charge our tenants for the meeting rooms, it is part of their rent so I can see where google may not be enough if you needed more than just reserving the room.
Vicki Jay, Midland Shared Spaces
At Midland Shared Spaces we use MRBS – Meeting Room Booking System for our reservations. We have it on our website and ask that everyone (within the building and outside) submit their requests online. There is a calendar to view availability, a reservation request form and pricing. Once it is submitted, it is then confirmed by a MSS Staff member who places it on the master calendar. The master calendar is available on line as well as displayed on the Wayfinder display information board at the front of our building. The Wayfinder includes room assignments and maps. It is web-based free software and it is accessible 24/7 to anyone. It also handles recurring events. We have been very pleased with our system.
If you want to view ours, please go to the website: www.midlandsharedspaces.org or www.midlandss.org. There is a SPACES tab, then ROOM RENTALS that explains the process. At the bottom there is a MSS Room Calendar you can check dates and availability. There is also a Room Reservation Form tab.
WHO WROTE THIS?
I’d be happy to share with you what we’ve experienced with Nexudus. Just to lay a ground layer of perspective, my organization consists of a number of member organizations. We don’t allow individual memberships, so any “members” are organizations represented by individuals.
We opened a new facility last May and I worked directly with Adrian Palacios from Nexudus on getting it set up. Adrian has always been as helpful as he can be, but he does seem to be the only person from Nexudus with whom we’ve interacted.
I could ramble on and on, but I figured I’d just lay out pros and cons as far as how they relate to our organization. This is neither an endorsement or an indictment of their service, but rather how we’ve experienced it. You may have a completely different setup that would work differently with the software.
– It can be used right out of the box with just a bit of personalization.
– It has many features included in one package that you don’t see in many other programs, including a CRM tool, billing, room reservations and a member directory.
– It’s constantly being updated to accommodate client needs.
– Support responses are usually very prompt, no matter what time zone Adrian is in.
– It can be customized to a great deal by a web design professional, allowing you to create your own front end for members on their software.
– It can sync with Google for calendar integration.
– The terminology requires a bit of a learning curve. “Members” and “Users” are confusing in that they both refer to the same person, but “users” applies more to the back end of things. For my organization, “Members” are whole organizations, while Nexudus views them as individuals. There is a “Team” option, but because (at the time) billing was based on the individual and not the “team” we decided to handle billing on our own. We have never used the billing/accounting feature in the software. They seem to have made modifications to accommodate team billing, but we don’t want to go back, at this point, to find out whether or not it works for us.
– Billing is set up to occur automatically and without much personalization. We have a large number of members and a large variance in the items we bill each member. We have four different member levels and each member level has different benefits & charges. Due to the size of the effort and intense interest in controlling our billing process, we opted to do it ourselves.
– Automatic emailing – by default, as soon as you enter someone’s email address in the system, even to test, they start receiving emails from Nexudus. We found this out the hard way when we were getting set up. There are a few steps you have to go through in the settings to turn off much of the automatic emailing that occurs. If individuals are signing up on their own, it’s probably perfect. Again, since we’re not dealing with individuals, it wasn’t right for us.
– Google calendar integration: We use this feature to sync with the iPad room display software we use. There’s an iPad outside each meeting room, displaying what meeting is happening. Nexudus offers their own iPad display, but it’s just a website and it doesn’t offer any control over the iPad, specifically the ability to turn the display off at night. While the Google integration does work, most of the time, the sync occasionally drops without notice and we don’t know it has happened until members mention that their name isn’t on the iPad outside their meeting. This leads to confusion with their attendees and others who are looking to book a room last minute.
– CRM functionality – this is a mixed bag. It might work just fine, but our development director did not feel confident in its abilities, so we opted to go with another piece of software for that.
– Cost: We have over 355 users within our 79 member organizations or “teams.” This has pushed our monthly rate from $110 eight months ago to $375. It is based on the number of “members,” so as we grow, we’ll pay more and more. That’s not ideal from our perspective.
To sum it all up, it hasn’t been the best fit for our organization, but it’s done the job of supporting a member directory, a community board and room scheduling for us, admirably. There are a lot of other people who use it quite well with few issues. We are looking into Happy Desk, I can tell you, because it looks like a powerful option that will allow us to grow and not cost us more. For 600 users, we’re only paying $299 a month. That’s a pretty stark difference. We haven’t been able to do much with it, yet, but unless we find any major roadblocks, we’ll probably change over.
NEW’s npServ Used by Tides, Thoroeau Center, and HealthSpark Foundation
“Beyond consultation and system setup, NEW’s npServ acts as your remote IT Department, providing ongoing IT support and training for your organization.”
Aunt Bertha – Used by Serve Denton (Helps to coordinate and track cross-agency referrals with ease)
Asure Software: “HCM is an all-encompassing tool providing businesses with payroll & tax solutions, benefits administration, human resources, talent management and ACA healthcare reform software solutions. Included is our suite of workplace software, hoteling & hot-desking, move management solutions and business utilization analytics.
Our new PEOPLE SUCCESS PLATFORM is the only global technology designed to empower people by providing companies with the solutions needed to increase employee empowerment, engagement and productivity. We are streamlining office logistics & operations to significantly increase your ROI on your most valuable assets – space utilization and people compliance and performance.”
From Ask-NCN 3/9/2017
NCN Question: What Database Software for Casement Management do you use in your center?
Brenda Roush, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado
At my previous employer, The Gathering Place, we used Efforts to Outcomes from Social Solutions. We found that it allowed us to track nontraditional metrics along with traditional metrics and narrative.
Misha Palin, The Lab Director
I just found that there’s a google app called Streak that is an integrated CRM/sales pipeline database with your google mail. I haven’t had the time to fully explore it, but so far the one part I’ve used (marking emails to return to me within a certain time if no response) has been useful. I’m sure it’s not as robust as some of you need, but it could be a very good cost effective solution for those that can’t afford to spend a lot of money on buying and learning a Case Management software system.
From an Ask-NCN 5/25/2017
Irene Lehrer Sandalow
This is a very broad question. What are the IT needs for a shared space? I know we need very fast internet. Some organizations have their own servers. What else should I be thinking about? What kind of services do I need?
Misha Palin, The Lab
We offer segmented wifi, meaning each organization gets their own network and password which helps with keeping their data secure and we put in a lot of hardwire data lines in our walls. If the wifi gets slow they can plug in. We also bought firewire adaptors when we were having problems with our wifi so people could plug in.
We do not offer IT support nor space to put their servers since servers can be as small as one computer to as large as a rack or a room. We encourage all orgs to move their data to the cloud if they haven’t gotten their yet.We also chose not to put in phone lines, only data lines for VoIP, if they want hard wire phones since most of our people use their cellphones or computers.As far as other services:We offer 2 professional grade printers one color and one black and white that people can access through the network.In the conference rooms we offer big screen monitors and Headless MacMini computers that people just transfer files onto or just pull up their files off the internet so there’s no need to deal with adaptors and such. We also just have a zoom account that anyone can use for videoconferencing with a quick link.We have one person who has basic IT skills and a good troubleshooter but we also have a contractor that we call for higher level IT problems.
James Thompson, New Path Foundation
So at both our locations we have access to Ethernet ports and have server rooms which our subcontracted I/T staff team (3 folks) look after. Most tenants are connected to our internet and telephone systems so that helps spread out the costs. Wifi is readily available throughout, our meeting rooms have projection screens and LCD televisions available; we also have lcd projectors available through reception for folks to use if needed.
Anything over and above, we negotiate with our tenants on their own specific needs…for example, some have jointly purchased SMART Boards for use in two of our meetings rooms; while they have priority usage, other tenants can also access through scheduling.
Sarah Reidy, Children and Family Services, Inc.
We are in the process of converting our guest/employee check-in from paper sign-in to an electronic system. Has anybody had any success with any cost-effective security measures/systems? (We do have a staffed security guard on site now.)
May Mui, East Bay Local Asian Development Corporation
We use Paycom for staff sign in, time sheet, pay check process, and staff performance reviews.
Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
I am curious about this as well. We open ourselves to members almost 24/7. We are looking at two systems. Kisi and Salto. Has anyone tried either?
From Ask-NCN 2.26.18
Elin Ross, Federated Charities
I’m trying to find a reliable and straightforward online calendar that I can invite partners to so they can reserve our conference room. Any suggestions?
Karolina Anderson, Fort Worden
Partners reserve our conference space using Google Calendar – which has worked well so far.
Sarah Glendening, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
I looked for a free option last summer, but came up empty-handed. Probably the most straightforward option is to use a Google Calendar that you can share. The problem is that if they can reserve their own space, they can also delete other reservations, which could happen on accident pretty easily.
We have a form on our website where agencies can make requests, which includes a link to the conference room calendar, which we published online (instructions here). The downside is that all bookings still must be done by the administrator of the calendar. But at least requestors can see the calendar before requesting space that isn’t available.
Here’s an article about using conference room calendars in Outlook – not sure what platform you use, but maybe it’s helpful.
If anyone has a better (free) option, I’d still love to hear about it!
Sarah Reidy-Jones, Children and Family Services Center, Inc.
We currently use outlook calendars for our conference rooms. Non-agency tenants are given an email address that allows them access into our IT system.
Thaddeus Squire, CultureWorks Greater Philadelphia
We currently use Nexudus, which is a great platform – it does conflict busting as well.
Nancy Osborn Nicholas, Together Center
We use Google Calendar – and make sure the settings allows the person scheduling the time be the only one who can delete the date (like they change their mind). It has worked well for us.
Russ Dahms, Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations
From Ask-NCN 3.12.18
Nada Zohdy, Open Gov Hub
Here at the Open Gov Hub in our 5 year history we’ve always offered unlimited, first-come first serve access to all our many meeting rooms (23 in total! including call rooms up to a large event space), to our full-time members, completely free of charge.
But because our membership has grown and we have a lot more demand on meeting spaces now, we have decided to roll out a new credit system from April to manage room bookings and help ensure more equitable access across the community, proportional to the staff size/presence here of our various organizations.
How do you all manage shared meeting rooms? Do you do monthly credits? Bill hourly? What have you found to work effectively – without being a big administrative burden to manage – and what do you recommend we avoid?
As you probably know our meeting rooms are one of our most valuable shared resource so we want to be very thoughtful about how to best make this change!
Kerry Lynn-Wilkie, LangsWe provide a meeting room for ½ day each month, as part of a partner’s lease of a 5 day per week office/full time office lease. The ½ day of meeting room space needs to be used in the month and not carried forward. We find this meets some partners needs fully (ie those who meet as a team monthly) and then they can always book additional space for a nominal fee. Rooms are booked in allocations of 4 hours of time – generally in the $25-50 range, based on room size.
We do try to maintain regular bookings for partners – ie if they always have a Monday afternoon group, we would then book other one time requests after confirming regular bookings for partners.
Valerie Hill, Center for Social Change
We have different hourly and day prices for each room. Most of our members get 8 hours per month in our conference room. That equates to a monthly credit in our system of about $320 that they can apply to any room.
If they go over their credits, they pay hourly at the member rates. Hours/credit do not roll over month to month.
Most of our memberships receive 8 hours per month and private offices receive 16.
The most important thing in my mind is allowing/requiring members to book their own spaces directly, not through one of your staff people. This way there can be no denying it is first come first serve as far as reservations.
We have higher hourly/day rates for non-members as well.
Sarah Reidy-Jones, Children and Family Services Center, Inc.
We offer our partner tenants (those that have 10 year leases) unlimited use and 5 free hours for all of our other tenants. We charge a nominal hourly fee based on the room size for anything over 5 hours. We used to allow offsite groups to use the space, but due to increased demand, they must have a direct affiliation with our agencies to qualify for space.
We use outlook calendar for all meeting rooms other than our board room, which must be approved by our administrative office. We only allow tenants to book their own rooms/modify reservations rather than having our administrative staff book for them.
Sharon Lovett, Center for Social Innovation
We have different hours of free meeting room time for members based on their membership package in our 4 locations in Toronto. We have our own in-house booking system that allows members to book rooms themselves and to view the availability of different rooms. The monthly total hours booked are calculated quarterly (so the hours per month are tripled). Anything above their free amount (Overage) is calculated at a fixed rate that is a discount from the rates we charge external bookers. We are working on reducing the significant time it takes to invoice the overages.
External bookers create a profile in our system and at this moment must contact our staff to book rooms but they can view availability. We are working on changing this so they will be able to book regular meeting rooms themselves in the future.
In addition we have several large event rooms that are not included in members’ free booking hours but they have discounted rates and must be booked through event staff .