The Best Marketing & Productivity Tools for Nonprofits

 

Marketing your nonprofit, foundation or charity can feel like a catch 22. You want the money you collect through your fundraising activities and sponsorships to go to those in need, the programs you run, and the bills you have to pay. Marketing cost almost seems like a waste you want to feel guilty about.

But without raising awareness to said fundraising activities and sponsorships, your organisation is limited to word of mouth and a geographically restricted network, which means less funding for your great cause. For many nonprofits, a low investment in marketing comes with a respectable return. Below you find some free and low-cost tools we believe are well worth checking out.

Google, Facebook, Hootsuite etc. offer free solutions or discounts for nonprofits

Google for Nonprofits offers qualified organisations access to free versions of paid Google products and special features designed for non-profits. These tools can help nonprofits find new donors and volunteers, work more efficiently and get supporters to take action.

Apply for free AdWords advertising to promote your website on Google.com through keyword targeting. Take advantage of premium branding capabilities on YouTube channels, increased uploading capacity, the ability to select customized thumbnail images, and call-to-action overlay on your videos.

Last but not least, get your hands on a free Non-profit Edition of G Suite.

Nonprofits on Facebook is an excellent resource to improve your brand awareness and reach on Facebook. Of 2.2 billion monthly active users, some are bound to become supporters of your organisation in one form or another, right? 

The portal helps you develop strategies for how to grab people's attention, strengthen relationships with supporters and create ads that get noticed. You will also learn how to motivate followers to actively promote your cause.

The ways people can contribute take many forms, from speaking out to attending events and volunteering. Depending on your situation and location, you can also apply for grants and have various options to raise funds on the platform.

We would also recommend using Facebook groups and events to engage and communicate with your network of volunteers and other supporters. It is good to know social ads on Facebook can reach many relevant audiences at relatively low cost.

Hootsuite is a popular social media management tool which allows you to manage your social media accounts all in one place, with valuable scheduling functionality as well as analytics.

With the free version, you can manage a limited amount of social channels with one user/email, ‘listen’ to your brand mentions and easily engage with followers and supporters. For many organisations, the free version will be a great start with sufficient functionality.

For larger teams, it may be worth looking into Hootsuite’s Non-Profit Discount program. Qualifying organisations get a 50% discount on 'Hootsuite Professional' and 'Hootsuite Team'.

We do not recommend trying to manage your social media activities from the native platforms alone, so a tool like this will be great.

Mailchimp is another popular tool which should be on your radar. Their email marketing offers an easy way to create mobile-optimized emails and email newsletters for your supporters, donors and beneficiaries.

Their Forever Free plan is perfect for small nonprofits as it allows you to send emails to up to 12,000 people per month and have up to 2,000 subscribers. If your nonprofit is larger and with a much bigger email subscriber list, then Mailchimp offers a 15% discount to charities.

If you’re a nonprofit based outside the United States, you will need to email ‘billing@mailchimp.com’ with a link to your organization’s website. Use “International Nonprofit Discount Request” as the subject line, and include your MailChimp username somewhere in the body of the email. They'll get back to you and help you get all set up.

Slack. On the productivity side of your ‘Tech Stack’ you should look into Slack. We use it here at Peregrine as well to stay organized. Slack is a messaging app for groups or teams and can also be used as a form of internal communications.

With Slack you can create channels, which are essentially groups, where you can talk about a specific topic or idea. Slack can integrate with many other platforms, such as Dropbox and Google Drive so you can easily upload documents or files within your channel.

The Slack for Nonprofits program offers charities a free upgrade to their Standard plan for up to 250 members. If your organization is larger than 250 people, then they will offer you an 85% discount on their 'Standard plan' or 'Plus plan' for as many members as you need.

Salesforce. One of the industry leading business platforms, Salesforce has a few good options for nonprofits. Their Nonprofit Success Pack (or fancy NPSP) helps you get started with the Salesforce CRM.

'NPSP' is an out-of-the-box solution for managing relationships, fundraising, programs, reporting, and more. 'NPSP' is also fully customizable, so you can track everything that matters to your organization in one place.

Probably more tailored towards larger organisations, but still worth looking into if you expect solid growth. Read their info around if Salesforce is right for your Nonprofit to get started.

Eventbrite. Eventbrite powers ticketing and registration for millions of events each year and helps you keep track of your activities, guests, locations and more. We recommend using a ticketing service even when the tickets are free.

Both Eventbrite Essentials and Professional products are free for free tickets, they only charge when you sell paid tickets. There might be smaller (and cheaper) local online ticketing vendors out there, so do some additional googling. Eventbrite made the list because it is widely recognized and easy to use. 

BONUS: based on feedback we received, we're adding Canva to the list for DIY graphic design. There's a free version and also a very low cost one for small organisations. It uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals. Low budget doesn't have to look low budget.

We understand this is just a small fraction of the tools and technologies out there to make your nonprofit more successful. There is a ton of information available and we haven’t even touched on marketing automation, crowdfunding and some of your other challenges.

But we believe this may be valuable input for boosting your marketing activities and effectiveness! Keep in mind, you may also need additional resources to help you run these solutions. In addition to your local network, you may want to utilize platforms like LinkedIn, idealist.org or VolunteerMatch to find like-minded people and volunteers.

And never hesitate to ask for a helping hand, many corporate sponsors would love to support your organisation beyond a bank check.

As always, please feel free to get in touch with us here or via social media. Did we miss any tools or technologies? Let us know so we can update the article. Thanks and keep up the great work!