As a tech-focused nonprofit, we’ve experimented with a lot of tools and software. Here is a list of our favorite tech tools, along with our own use cases that we have found most efficient and cost-effective over the years. We hope you find these helpful!
- GSuite- GSuite is free for nonprofits and includes several products including Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, and Sites for collaboration. Below are a few unique ways we use the products:
- Google Docs- Google Docs is a collaborative application that allows multiple people to add to the same document. We use it to manage our common grant language, like our mission statement, as one example. It’s great to have the version history handy, add comments tagged with individual assignments, and maintain a central doc that we can all reference together instead of multiple document versions.
- Google Forms– Google Forms is a fantastic and easy to use survey tool. AnnieCannons uses Google Forms in our software classes to gather anonymous student feedback about our students’ experience with our instructional staff.
- Google Voice – Google Voice gives you a free phone number that you can forward to multiple phones, give out to receive texts and calls without sharing your personal phone, and a matching app that transcribes voicemails. This has been especially useful for managing emergency evening and weekend calls on that would otherwise go to personal cell phones.
- Asana- Asana is a task management assistant. Asana offers free tiers and allows you to visually manage tasks, products, projects, and checklists. It is collaborative so everyone can add and manage tasks while being able to see the same transparent project plan. You can use their mobile app to add to-do’s on the go, as well.
- Notion– Notion is a workspace for wikis and centralized documentation. Notion can hold content like training methods, time off rules, and checklists for job positions that people can access online whenever they need. It also offers task calendars and spreadsheet databases, and is available as an app for your smartphone. AnnieCannons uses Notion as an internal knowledge base for things like guidance for our graduates to follow as they build their first training projects. There are free options or options that range from $4-$8 a month.
Accounting & HR Software
- Quickbooks– Quickbooks provides a discount for nonprofits at TechSoup. We have found that the discount offered on TechSoup makes it less expensive than to hire and keep a bookkeeper. Quickbooks also gives the option to integrate with bank accounts and automatically compile financial statements to date and by specific periods, which is helpful in grant applications. Fair warning — some training might be needed for Quickbooks in order to be able to execute all these functions smoothly – it still needs a human to create and customize your accounting categories.
- Bill.com- If you are a nonprofit that works with multiple different vendors, Bill.com allows you to easily create invoices and manage payments. They don’t have discounts for nonprofits but their tiers are reasonable in comparison to creating invoices from scratch, and it keeps records of your invoices for you.
- Gusto- Gusto is a cost-effective cloud-based payroll option that automates payroll, tax filings, and employment department filings. Unfortunately, Gusto does not offer any type of nonprofit discount, but it can take a lot of time off of an Executive Director’s plate. The amount of hours that it would take to have our executive staff manually process payroll or the cost of working with an individual consultant would cost more than to pay for Gusto. It also offers additional services such as filings with the state’s employment compliance department.
- Zoom- Zoom is our favorite video conferencing product. There is a free tier option that is helpful, however, it is limited as to who can manage meetings and how long they can run. We found a TechSoup discount for you to use.
- Webex- Because Webex is a Cisco product you can apply through the Cisco website to get it donated. Like Zoom, Webex allows team video conferencing along with collaboration tools, cloud calling, and conference devices.
- UberConference– UberConference is a free conference calling software that we see a lot of clients and partners leverage. It is a great free option if you don’t qualify for Webex or Zoom discounts.
Data Analytics and Donor Management
- Mixpanel- If you have a more complex website, Mixpanel can help you get valuable customers insights on how customers use your product or website. They have both free and paid options. In our experience, the free option was enough to analyze and optimize our donation flow.
- Salesforce- Salesforce is great for managing your donor and volunteer databases and workflows. Salesforce.org has a grant application to get a free Salesforce license. However, know that setting up and maintaining Salesforce can be a big investment of work. Before seeking a license donation, your nonprofit should make sure it has the staff bandwidth to maintain and manage Salesforce.
- Teachable– Teachable offers free tiers that allow you to post recorded classes as well as include assignments. This is a great free tool to use if you are looking to share classes and offer online learning – we often recommend it to agencies struggling to figure out how to host an event for something like volunteer training. Teachable is easier to set up than other online learning platforms that we have used in the past.
Marketing Campaigns & Email
- MailChimp– MailChimp is an email and campaign platform where you can easily create beautiful email and landing pages. They also offer robust reporting and analytics for engagement across your database. Mailchimp offers a 15% discount for nonprofits and charities, as well as a free plan.
- GoFundMe– An online platform used to launch campaigns and raise/manage donations. GoFundMe takes a 2.9% cut of your donations. We recommend GoFundMe for nonprofits since it takes the least amount out of your donations. Here are two other options:
- Kickstarter– A Benefit Corporation that crowdfunds creative projects aligned with their mission. Kickstarter takes a 8-10% lead of your donations.
- GlobalGiving– GlobalGiving has the largest global crowdfunding community and has been used by AnnieCannons as well. GlobalGiving takes a 5-7% lead of your donations.
- WordPress- WordPress has a ton of great nonprofit templates and tools that you can leverage to build a very customized site at a mid-level budget. We specialize in setting these types of sites up for clients. Conveniently, once set up, our clients can add things like blog posts and new team member profiles without knowing how to code.
- Squarespace– If you have plenty of time and a tight budget, Squarespace gives the ability to make a visually appealing and basic website. Know that customization is slim. We do Squarespace setup for some clients who don’t want to deal with the significant data entry requirements. If you want more advanced functionality, or want a more unique visual experience, we definitely recommend WordPress.
We’d love to hear what your favorite tools are and why! Feel free to share in the comments section.