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Keeping track of band member's availability

We are forever trying to work out who can make a performance, and who can't. It invariably means passing around bits of paper with tick boxes on, between sections, and then collating a list of participants - which has all changed a month later...

So I had an idea that it might be worth sharing in case others found it helpful, and would be interested to hear if any other ideas are out there too.

I have opened an account and set up a schedule requesting availability on the free www.doodle.com web site. This is a facility meant to be used for finding a meeting when everybody is free, so dates and times of day can be set out for people to show their availability.

I have listed all the band in sections in the rows, and the columns are set out so that each date has a NO column next to it (when the dates are being set up, three different times are possibe, but the entry is free text, so 'NO' works fine).

Once set up, rather than enter all participants emails into the doodle service to invite entries, I have the URL of the schedule emailed to me so I can send the URL out to all our members.

I get an automatic email when anybody enters, or modifies entries

Entries can be modified at any time

As the year rolls on I can add new dates and take off old ones.

If a member leaves it will be important to change the name of the leaver to "Vacancy" rather than delete, so a new name can be put there in the right section, rather than having to put it at the bottom, as the rows cannot be rearranged.

I can export data easily

It is veryeasy to use

Fingers crossed, hopefully it works well

we doodle-schedule nearly everything since 5ish years ago. Okay, with Doodle being a Swiss company, we got to know about them rather early. But it's both a nifty and simple tool, and can only recommend it.

While we're at it - our band has a Google account, and we embed their calendar on our home page, and everyone using a smartphone has subscribed to the band calendar. No more missed concerts or nasty date conflicts as I enter every performance and every rehearsal as soon as it is known, including location which will pop up maps or GPS applet when clicked...
A band member has just mentioned another way of registering members' availability. It is using www.muzodo.com

I have just had a look at the website. The interface is not particularly pretty, but it seems to have good functionality.

We still use Doodle, but are constantly chasing people to sign in and update. Muzodo puts the direct question right in their inbox, and seems to make a yes/no/maybe reply very easy to make.

Have anybody used this, or are there other options out that I am not aware of?

I had no idea that community bands were so organized... Wow... None of the ones I know about in this area are. Fascinating.

However, this is something I should look into for the big band I play in, and whose online stuff I look after. It would be a great way to deal with the "do we need subs for gig X" question. Thanks for the tip. I missed this thread the first time around.
I have to say that running a band is tough to impossible without support of the section leaders. I rarely have to find subs for any section but the sax section. And in Seattle there are *so* many musicians, finding a sub hasn't been that hard (knock on wood). That said, our last gig was one of my favs for the year and we had 6, count 'em, 6 subs. This gig had been on the calendar since Jan 1! It was a horrible experience, but I'm not sure having a attendance tracking app would have made any difference. Sudden conflicts, like family members dying will always trump a performance gig.
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