11 Jul The Best Platforms & Tools for Nonprofits
These days, even the smallest nonprofits can behave like a big operation thanks to the proliferation of online platforms and tools available to them — often at no cost.
Faced with perennially limited budgets and staffing, nonprofits can stretch their resources by leveraging a variety of apps and digital services to help them with collecting and tracking donations, marketing their causes, and engaging donors and volunteers.
Here are some top tools that every nonprofit should consider to make it easier to run their day-to-day operations:
Contact Management: Every organization should be using some kind of customer relationship management (CRM) tool to track their contacts. Salesforce is the leading CRM for enterprise companies. Luckily, Salesforce also offers a version for nonprofits that gives them a “360-degree view” of their business contacts, from marketing to fundraising to program constituents. For example, you can track donors as they move from initial prospect to regular contributor while also keeping tabs on what types of donations they’re giving, such as cash or in-kind. Best of all, the Nonprofit Success Pack from Salesforce is free for qualified nonprofits.
Event Ticketing: For most nonprofits, events such as galas, fundraisers and awards ceremonies are where you interact most intimately with your supporters and volunteers. It’s also where you probably raise much of your financial support. An essential part of running events is selling tickets and for that, you’re likely going to use an event ticketing tool. GiveLively offers an excellent — and free — service that allows nonprofits to create beautiful event pages, sell tickets, and track attendees. Cool features like text-to-donate and real-time donation meters keep supporters engaged during events.
Donation Collection: Of course, virtually every nonprofit needs a way to accept and track cash donations. GiveKindly offers a free donation platform that costs nothing to use and zero setup, monthly or annual fees. The only fees are for credit card processing via WePay, which charges 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. GiveKindly also allows you to embed customizable donation forms on your website, and track and analyze your donor data.
Volunteer Management: Volunteers make it possible to make a big impact without a lot of expensive overhead. But you still need to manage their schedules, workloads and events, plus stay in regular contact with them. Thankfully there are tools like Volunteer Impact which allow you to easily create and track volunteer profiles, schedules, and training materials. It also offers email and text communications, a free iOS and Android app for volunteers, and a volunteer time clock and check-in. Pricing starts at $8 a month.
Email Marketing: Maintaining a mailing list and sending regular email communications is likely to be one of your cheapest and most effective marketing channels. Both Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor offer a 15% discount for nonprofits and great newsletter templates to get you started. Mailchimp has a free plan at the basic level, while Campaign Monitor starts at $8 per month. While you’re browsing Campaign Monitor, take a look at its “Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Nonprofits” for some helpful advice on publishing your newsletters.
Accounting: As a nonprofit, you need to track every dollar that comes in and out of your organization. For most agencies, you’ll likely be working with an accountant, either in-house or outsourced. But a software solution like QuickBooks, combined with a receipt-tracking tool like ReceiptBank, can really help your team stay on top of day-to-day expenses, and income from donations and other sources. Expensify is another excellent and affordable tool for tracking expenses (starting at $5 per month); it’s the service we use at Good360. While QuickBooks itself doesn’t offer a nonprofit discount, you can get discounted subscriptions through TechSoup.
All-in-One Platforms: With thousands of apps and tools to choose from, sometimes the best option is something that combines everything under one roof. EveryAction is a unified platform that allows you to accomplish and track a multitude of tasks, including online fundraising, event management, targeted email, social media posting, volunteer management, direct marketing, among other things. The caveat is that this service starts at $134 a month — although you’ll be able to save money by dropping redundant tools.
Social Media Management: These days, it’s impossible to spread the word about your cause without having a regular presence on social media. But planning and scheduling your posts across several platforms can get hairy. Thankfully there are tools that take some of the pain out of social media for you. The top two are Buffer and HootSuite, which will allow you to plan, preview and publish posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, among other social networks. Both Buffer and HootSuite offer a 50% discount for nonprofits.
Good360 Marketplace: Good360’s online catalog is a great tool for nonprofits looking for product donations. After registering for free, nonprofits can gain access to hundreds of high-quality donations from major brands such as Nike, Eddie Bauer, Mattel and more. You can request donations from a single carton of clothing to an entire truckload of furniture. The catalog is open 24/7 and has new items added nearly every day. Register for free here.