A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post titled 4 Free Online Tools To Make Your Life Easier where I told you about four of the free online tools that I use most often in my own business but should absolutely be in every nonprofit professional’s toolbox.
I figure its time to tell you about four MORE free online tools that make your life easier!
As with the last tools, these tools are free at a certain level but have a premium component to them. That means that, up to a certain point or level, you can use their service for free but, if you want to unlock more features or greater customization, you have to pay.
These quality tools are great for smaller organizations that don’t have huge amounts of traffic, income or subscribers and are really helpful if you are trying to run things on a minimal budget. I have used these tools for years to help my clients get started and personally vouch for their power, strength, and viability as scalable tools.
Do you need a website but you don’t have the cash to hire a designer? Do you know what information you want on your website but don’t know how to code? Weebly is here to save the day!
Weebly is a drag and drop website builder that allows you to easily create beautiful websites using an intuitive drag-and-drop builder, no coding required! The builder lets you drag content blocks like images, text, forms, and more onto the webpage and place them where you want them. You see exactly what the website visitor sees!
Don’t want to build your own? Simply select a template from one of their beautifully designed pages and just add your own content.
Whats the catch?
The website is free IF you allow the domain URL to be [email protected]. They also have some of their own branding on the site. These ads can be removed by purchasing a domain upgrade with them, which is relatively cheap considering they take care of all security, software updates, and the builder for you.
For nonprofits that don’t need a website to be too complicated and are just looking to start building their online presence, Weebly is a worth your consideration.
You just received nonprofit status, Woo! You have minimal funds and somehow need to keep all documents organized, communicate with your beneficiaries, build a list of potential donors, and generally interact with all stakeholders online. Yes, you could pay a monthly subscription to get Microsoft 365, but maybe there is a free solution out there.
Spoilers: there is. Its Google for Nonprofits!
That’s right, Google gives you access to:
- Google Docs
- Google Hangouts
- Google Ad Words (with a small monthly grant)
- Space on their Google Drive
- And more
All for free!
I personally think the power of Google for Nonprofits is how everything is connected. Everything can be managed relatively easily by the organization, and everything is stored in one place. Multiple people can view and edit a live version of a document while using Hangouts to have a conference call and discuss the changes. That is pretty powerful.
Whats the catch?
There really isn’t one with this! As long as you are a registered nonprofit with your government (and Google Nonprofit is supported in your country,) you can apply for it. Even if it isn’t, you can still encourage board members to get Gmail accounts and you will all have access to Google Drive and Docs, which is what I use most often to get feedback from groups of stakeholders.
The only other catch is that there is a bit of a learning curve to figure out how everything works. I have been using G Suite (Docs, Hangouts, Drive, Forms, etc.) since it came out years ago, but I know others may not have. The great thing is that Google has great documentation on how to use the programs and what they don’t have answers for, a simple Google search will answer just fine. All roads lead to Google!
You just finished creating your annual report (using Google Suite) and it looks great! You just need to add a few infographics and images that pull the whole document together, but you can’t afford a subscription to Photoshop.
Canva is the tool for you! This graphic design site allows you to create beautiful infographics and images using pretty powerful software and a library of icons and images for free. You can import your own images, layer icons on top of other images, play with the colors and more.
Not creative by nature? No problem! Canva has a huge library of templates to inspire you or that you can tweak to meet your needs.
Whats the catch?
The software obviously isn’t as powerful as Photoshop, so you are slightly limited in how you can edit the images. But that’s really it, especially since Canva offers their premium paid software to nonprofits FOR FREE, which I think is super cool. Just make sure that you meet their requirements, which you can check here.
This software is great and their library of images and icons gets the job done. I personally use Canva at least once per week to design the image for this blog!
Do you have an event coming up that you need to sell tickets for? Do you need a way to gather monthly information on the efficacy of your programs through a standardized survey? Do you want to create a fun quiz to learn more about your team of volunteers?
All of this and more is possible with JotForm!
JotForm is a free form creation platform that allows you to drag and drop question types, scheduling software, and payment processors into one form. That form can then be pasted onto your website using a copy and paste code or via a link which takes the visitor to the form hosted on JotForms site. You can add your logo, customize the look of the form, and add all sorts of additional blocks to add functionality to your form including payment processors, maps, shop details and more.
I also love JotForm because it makes it easy to send the data quickly and easily via email to both the person completing the form (for example, as a receipt) and to the person who tabulates the data. You can also view all submissions on JotForm.com and export all answers as an excel document, which can then be imported into Google Sheets.
I first used JotForm about two years ago to create a signup page for a webinar my client was planning, but have since used it to take payments and ticketing for an event, designed donation pages, created measurement and evaluation surveys for both beneficiaries and board members, as well as a few goofy surveys for an alumni group I belong to.
Whats the catch?
You can create up to 5 forms on the free account. Those 5 forms have limitations on the number of views, number of submissions, number of secure payments accepted and some other stuff.
Luckily, JotForm offers a 50% nonprofit discount on all normal prices, so that’s pretty neat! I find that, for small organizations not getting a huge amount of traffic or who are using the forms for more of an internal evaluation of limited beneficiaries, this solution works great.
So What Now?
There you have it! Four more free online resources for you to use to make your life easier. Go forth and get using them!
Have you used these solutions before? What do you think about them? Are there others that I am missing or that you think should be reviewed? Leave a comment below and let me know!
Build Your Donor List, No Matter Where You Are In The Process
Founder at Reed Community Consulting and NPO.lib
Brandon helps people help other people. He has over 10 years experience working with small and medium-sized nonprofits in two countries in many different sectors. He has worked at all levels of organization from entry-level service delivery up to the executive director and board president. This experience affords him insight for whole level management of an organization, which he transfers to his clients. In his free time, he likes to play volleyball and spend time gardening with his wife and dog.