There are many tools online geared towards managing the operations of your nonprofit. Accounting software, website building programs, email marketing and contact managing, but finding tools that live up to their promise of usability, effectiveness and price (free or nearly free) can be a daunting and time consuming task.
I’ve put together this list of online tools that I think are the easiest to use, most comprehensive for their service and cheapest (free or nearly free). This way you’ll spend less time learning how to use the software and more time getting things done.
1. Facebook Cause: A Facebook page for your nonprofit is a quick solution to a website and a “Cause” page through Facebook had added benefits like being displayed on your supporters’ pages to video sharing and the ability for visitors to donate at the click of a button.
Best part, it’s free.
2. Ning: Similar to Facebook, but more specialized for your network of followers. Has multiple pages built-in for more of a “website” feel. Ning allows for forum posting and interactive calendar.
3. Yola: Build and host your website completely free. It makes creating a website as easy as clicking and dragging. You can also add popular social media widgets, PayPal, chatroom, and your fundraising badges.
4. Google Analytics + Webmaster Central: These two Google services are a perfect pair for analyzing the effectiveness of your website. The detailed reports of Google Analytics show you who your website visitors are, where they come from, and how they interact with your website. Webmaster Central gives you access to tips on making your site more search engine friendly as well as a message board to ask questions to qualified webmasters.
5. Mon.itor.us: Powerful tool to monitor the activity of you server to make sure your website is loading and responding properly. Also gives easy to read graphics of website traffic and interactivity. Proactively informs you of potential problems.
6. BatchBook by BatchBlue: This tool is much like its more expensive counterparts, like Common Ground by Convio, in that it helps you keep track of your contacts and their activity. Intuitively fills in contact information and easily integrates with Google, MailChimp and Shoebox. It follows their activity on social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, automatically. Also, follows your email correspondence when you BCC your account when you send emails from anywhere.
Paid plans from $9.95 to $99.95 per month
7. AWeber: AWeber email marketing software offers email newsletters, autoresponders, RSS to Email, website sign-up forms, email web analytics tools, and a good reputation for deliverability.
Nonprofts get 3 months free service, then prices start at $19 per month.
8. Constant Contact: Constant Contact gives you the tools to create professional-looking emails with no technical expertise, manage your contact lists and measure results. More than 400 templates, a step-by step Email Wizard, and point-and-click interface. You can also create free online surveys.
Free 60-day trial. Plans start at $15/month.
9. MailChimp: User friendly design studio to create custom emails and email templates. Easily integrates with Excel, BatchBlue, Salesforce, Paypal, Google analytics and others to import contacts and track your email marketing, all the way to the dollar amount raised.
Free for email lists of less than 100. Monthly plans start at $10 per month.
10. Vertical Response: Easy way to build, target, send and track email marketing newsletters, online surveys and direct mail postcards. Nonprofits can send 10,000 email messages per month FREE plus nonprofits are eligible to receive 15% off on all emails over 10,000.
Event and Volunteer Organizing
11. Eventbrite: Set up an online registration page for your nonprofit event in minutes, then take advantage of Eventbrite’s promotional tools to send up to 2,000 email invitations per day or publicize your event on social networks (Facebook, Twitter).
Free for free events.
12. VolunteerSpot: Doing Good gets easier with this scheduler for coordinating volunteers. Simple volunteer management software that any volunteer leader, committee chair or board member can use to schedule, coordinate and send reminders about events.
13. Wikis: You’ve probably read many wiki’s yourself, but how about creating one about your organization? This will allow searchers to read up on your organization and link back to your site. A well developed wiki increases your organization’s level of professionalism in the mind of searchers.
14. World Crossings: Fast, easy, and free way to add forums, message boards or chat rooms to your Web site, customized to match the look of your site. Interactivity keeps visitors on your site and engaged in your nonprofit.
15. ChipIn: The ChipIn widget is an application that shows the details of fundraising goals, how much money has been raised, and when your drive ends. The best part is that the ChipIn widget can be embedded almost everywhere, MySpace, Typepad, Blogger or websites.
16. Donor Perfect: This is comprehensive fundraising management software. Manages and grows your relationships with donors, volunteers, foundations, and other constituents. It track and manage your campaigns and results and can produce targeted mailings and email.
$31 per month for smaller nonprofits.
17. mGive: Takes fundraising to the mobile world. Allows users to text their donation and are charged automatically to their cell phone bill, no need to input credit card information.
Free for nonprofits.
18. Google AdWords with Google Grants: In-kind advertising for nonprofits. It’s as simple as filling out a Google grants application and opening and AdWords account. Google AdWords ads appear when users search on Google and when you click on one of the ads, you are brought to the website being advertised.
Free for nonprofits.
19. CurdBee: QuickBooks beware, online billing and invoicing software Curdbee is a free solution to adding unlimited clients and creating unlimited invoices, accepting payments online through Paypal and Google Checkout and importing or exporting to other software.
Basic version is free.
20. Billing Manager: So, QuickBooks doesn’t make the list because of its cost, but another Intuit product does, Billing Manager. Billing Manager is an online invoicing tool that tracks invoices and payments for you. Log in anywhere and see who owes what, email invoices and send reminders. Let’s you customize the invoices as well.
I hope these are helpful. If you use one that you think is fabulous and don’t see it here, please feel free to leave a comment with your recommendation.
And of course, Vektor Studio is available to assist your organization in getting you started in these new programs and your data transferred to them.
Posted by Nicole Hess
Social Media Consultant at Vektor Studio
Nonprofits can sign up to receive free help in other areas, graphic design, etc through Mozilla.
If you can donate your tech knowledge go to http://bit.ly/152UBz