5 Free Tools For Nonprofits to Save Time and Money
If your nonprofit is looking for ways to streamline projects while you grow awareness for your mission, you’re not alone. Nonprofits of all sizes often struggle with not having enough hands on deck to complete large projects and handle all sides of communication.
Since your organization runs on charitable donations, you’ll naturally want to lower the amount you have to spend on business tools. This is why free business tools are essential to preserving those funds for your life-changing work.
We’ve compiled a list of 5 free tools that you should utilize today:
1. Canva for Design
Canva is excellent for creating professional designs. You may be quite familiar with this design tool already, but did you know that Canva has a program specifically for Nonprofits?
While the basic Canva version is free to everyone, you may have noticed that you cannot remove the background for logos or that you don’t have access to all the design features and templates. Therefore, it is best to have a Pro Account with Canva, which unlocks many features. The Canva for Nonprofits Program gives 501(c)(3) organizations free access to Canva Pro.
With the use of Pro, you can create designs for just about any project. This plan includes features you may not have explored yet, such as the following :
- Create professional videos. You can now create videos for Instagram Reels, TikTok, YouTube, and your website. Canva has a library of music you can pair with your videos. It allows you to adjust the audio to the section that is best for your video, just as you would within social media apps. Can also allow you to adjust video clip length to time perfectly for a professional and polished video. Additionally, there is an extensive library of pre-made videos within the Canva platform that you can customize and use for your introduction or transition between clips.
For example, our Nonprofit Megaphone team made this Instagram Reel with Canva Pro for Earth Day this year. While our Reel consisted of a slide show of original photos from our team, Canva’s intro video clip was beneficial in showing viewers initially what our Reel was about. Social media experts agree that Reels with text intro clips perform better than those without an introduction. Remember that many of your viewers might be scrolling their feed with the sound muted, but they are more likely to listen to your reel if they understand what it’s about first.
- Access an extensive library of infographics. As with its most frequently used design features, you can use Canva Pro to create infographics. This is an excellent way to demonstrate your nonprofit’s mission, year-end stats, and goals. Consider sharing infographics in your blog articles or on social media. In our experience, we have found that educational infographics provide more value to our viewers than single photo posts. Audiences seem to appreciate being able to absorb your message quickly, which helps them decide if they want to interact with your post.
- Save time with social media templates. For just about every holiday, Canva has a template available that you can customize with your brand colors or message. It also has a searchable feature to help you create your post in the right size and format for the platform you want to post to.
- Use free images. There is also a vast library of copyright-free images to use for your website, articles, and social media. With the Pro version of Canva, you’ll have access to many more images than you do with a Basic version. Many of these Pro-only images are less common and generic. As a nonprofit, you likely have many authentic images of your own, but additional pictures may help tell your story.
You can access the Pro version in the Canva for Nonprofits Program by providing your official 501(c)(3) documentation. To learn more about Canva’s program for nonprofits, click here.
2. Google Workspace for Collaboration
You may already have Google Workspace for your Nonprofit, but there may be features that you haven’t utilized yet. For collaboration, Google Drive is a perfect tool within Google Workspace. In case you are unfamiliar with its functions, your team can work on the same document simultaneously, suggest edits, and make comments.
Google Drive integrates with Docs (similar to MS Word), sheets (similar to Excel), and slides (similar to Powerpoint). This allows you to create files within Drive or convert your existing files into Drive’s formatting to allow team collaboration.
Teams can work on Google Sheets together to share ideas and numerical progress or gather data from each team member. Additionally, Google Docs eliminates the need for excessive emails because it allows your team to comment back and forth about suggested edits within the document. You can use the “suggestion mode” feature to demonstrate what you would change without altering the original document. This can be very helpful with collaboration on large projects.
Did you know that Google offers a Google Workspace for Nonprofits? It’s free! The benefit of using this program is that it provides a professional Google Workspace for your nonprofit organization, including many features that are not free to businesses.
Google Workspace for nonprofits includes
- Professional email addresses at your nonprofit’s domain
- 100-participant video meetings
- 30 GB cloud storage per user
- Security and management controls
- Standard support
As Google states, their Nonprofit-only offer is zero dollars per month per user! This program is available for charitable organizations that meet eligibility requirements in their country. Please note that certain entities do not qualify, such as government organizations, hospitals, healthcare organizations, and academic institutions. However, Google does offer a separate program for schools.
To view the full eligibility requirements, click here.
3. Free Conference Call for Large Team Meetings
Although other services offer audio and video communications for nonprofits, the limit on participants within most free plans can be quite restrictive for a larger team. To obtain free conference calls and meetings for a large nonprofit team, you may want to look into FreeConferenceCall.com.
This service not only provides free services but is also dedicated to helping charities. Free Conference Call has a “pay what you can” pricing model, and this is just as it sounds. Free Conference Call encourages all entities to pay any amount possible towards their services, but they still provide free conference calls and meetings if payment is not feasible.
Although this free service has some limitations on features, nonprofits can take advantage of free online video conferences with up to 1,000 participants and no time limit! Additionally, you can record your meetings with the speaker displayed as well as use chat and track attendance.
View their quick video to understand everything that comes with a free account.
4. Slack for Team Communication
If your nonprofit team hasn’t tried Slack yet, what are you waiting for? Slack is a cloud-based tool for workplace chat, collaboration, team building, and meetings. The best part is they offer a Slack for Nonprofits Program.
Benefits of Slack
While it has been thought of as simply a chat tool, it can provide much more than that. Slack is perfect for remote teams and a great help to on-site teams as well. Do you ever just have a quick question for a teammate that seems unnecessary for an email? The use of Slack can drastically reduce emails clogging up your inbox. You can easily chat with your collaborators directly from each of your desks.
Since Slack offers the ability to create different channels, you can boost team morale by having channels for birthdays, pets, GIFs of the day, or polls to see who wants to attend Game Night. Creating these channels offers a form of team building that tends to gain more participation from the entire team versus asking for feedback in large meetings. Of course, not everyone loves to speak in front of a group, but your office introverts might jump at the chance to participate in group chat.
Additionally, Slack offers other valuable features. For instance, you can connect your Google Calendar with Slack to create meeting reminders and embed meeting links directly on Slack for convenience. Also, you can make 1:1 voice and video calls between teammates.
For remote teams, Slack provides a unique team environment for your nonprofit. Not only can you utilize the previous features described here, but teammates can use status updates to communicate more efficiently. They can easily set their status to communicate when available, in a meeting, at lunch, or running an errand. The status-update feature drastically reduces confusion and prevents team members from feeling ignored or overwhelmed.
5. HeyOrca! for Social Media News and Trends
This service provides social media scheduling services, but they also serve as a great source of information on all things social media-related. We recently learned the benefits of HeyOrca’s free weekly social media newsletter and are happy to spread the word to nonprofits.
“HeyOrca! Brief” is their free weekly social media newsletter that provides valuable insights relevant to any organization with a social media presence. They make it concise and fun for busy social media managers, as it usually only takes a minute to read or scan.
They will give you the latest news or upcoming changes you can expect on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook. For instance, you will likely get the inside scoop on new design features and format changes before they take place.
Why might you need to keep track of what these platforms are doing? Due to the competition between the different social media platforms as they battle it out to be number one, they seem to be making a lot of changes without slowing down.
Algorithm changes are frequent these days, which can impact the growth of your Nonprofit’s social media presence. Consequently, getting lower reach on any platform you regularly use can affect how many donors and volunteers learn about your organization. Likewise, you can take advantage of tremendous growth opportunities if you are on the right side of these algorithm changes. Therefore, it is worthwhile to keep track of this as best you can.
In addition to social media news, HeyOrca also provides you with a list of trending audio and information about what content is succeeding. As you may be familiar with this concept when creating Reels and TikToks, using trending audio increases the likelihood that your video will get more views. Keep in mind that this method is best utilized when you can use popular audio near the beginning of the trend before this audio use becomes oversaturated.
HeyOrca provides social media scheduling services and may offer additional services that are not free. However, they provide options when you sign up to select what you may or may not be interested in. You can simply select that you only want the weekly newsletter if that is the case.
Takeaway: Free Services Elevate your Nonprofit
As we wrap up this list of five free nonprofit tools, we hope that you are taking advantage of them all. Should you have any questions about the information covered here, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Nonprofit Megaphone Team via our website or social media pages. We are happy to help you grow.
Nonprofit Megaphone specializes in Google Ad Grant management services for nonprofits. Another free tool for nonprofits, the Google Ad Grant provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 in ad credits monthly to spend on Google ads. To learn more about this incredible grant for Nonprofit marketing or to contact us, click here.