15 best free apps for your organization

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Non-profits can definitely put their best foot forward by using these free apps.

From time-saving scheduling apps, creative tools and analytics we have found many teams benefits by checking out these top marketing apps.

HootSuite – This Canadian, timesaving social media dashboard tool allows staff to schedule 30 posts in advance for free to up to 3 social media accounts (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram or Twitter). They also offer discounted professional plans for non-profits who may need more robust tools than what is included in their free plan. Buffer is another alternative.

Canva – A tool that allows staff to quickly create graphics for social media sites without needing design software (pre-determined templates, photos, fonts, illustrations, etc.). Canva makes it easy for non-designers to create visually appealing graphics for your website or social media platforms.  PiktoChart is another easy to use infographic chart maker that offers free access as well as a discounted fee for it’s PRO package for non-profits.

Google Analytics – A tool that allows staff to measure website and social media platforms. Enhanced tracking is possible with UTM parameters (or tracking links) which insert a piece of code that can track specific emails, social media posts or website links to demonstrate exactly where our website traffic is coming from. Google has a number of other non-profit discounts or programs – https://www.google.com/nonprofits/eligibility/

Google Drive enables users to store up to 15GB for free and makes file sharing easy. Alternative Drop Box allows users to store up to 2GB for free.

WordPress.org – One of the most popular open sourced software for building blogs or websites, WordPress allows smaller non-profits to easily develop an online presence and connect to their community. WordPress.org is more suited to mid-sized nonprofits with some HTML knowledge. WordPress.com is specifically built for small entities because you do not need to know HTML to utilize.   WordPress themes allow staff to easily set up and manage a website with little or no HTML training. For helpful HTML tutorials basics check out w3schools.com.

SurveyMonkey – A key part of engaging a community of followers is ensuring they have voice and that you understand their needs and interests. SurveyMonkey is an easy to use market research tool that allows non-profits to set up online surveys, share them via emails, website or social media accounts and see real-time results and easy to understand reporting.  An alternate is Surveygizmo.com

Mail Chimp – If you are just starting out to send marketing mass emails MailChimp is a popular platform that can help you set up trigger welcome emails or personalize your emails based upon specific interests. You can easily collect subscribers from Facebook, Twitter and WordPress. If you have less than 250 contacts, Cyberimpact is a Canadian alternative.

Statista – Is a searchable site to find statistics and facts to support your case for support. In Canada we also benefit from having StatsCanada at our fingertips.

Asana – a good project management tool for teams that are just starting up or for teams working across Canada who need a way to stay in sync.

Toggl – a good time tracking tool whose basic plan is free and allows teams to visualize how they are spending their time.

Eventbrite – A terrific tool if you are setting up free events. Their essentials plan is free as long as your event tickets are free (a fee applied to paid tickets). It allows you to easily post your events to other sites such as Google calendar, Facebook or MailChimp. Trying to find a date that works for the majority of your volunteers? Try Doodle a free polling tool that allows you to easily survey what dates would work best.

Grammarly – allows users to upload a document to check for common grammatical mistakes.

I am often also asked about options for donation processing. For small non-profits there are a wide-variety of platforms such as:

CauseVox – A crowdfunding platform for non-profits in Canada, Australia and the United States. It offers pay as you go plans and there is a free trial plan that waives CauseVox’s monthly fees (there is a 2% fee on donation pages or 5% on campaigns) until you raise $5,000.

Canada Helps is another popular donation processing site. They charge 4% including payment processing costs. Square is a newer mobile credit / debit platform. They charge 2.65% for swiped payments for example and offer fees for keyed-in or debit payments.  PayPal offers registered charities in Canada a discounted fee for online payments.

Facebook’s donation features are now available in Canada and this Canada Helps article outlines how to implement.

Need some assistance – contact MAS – www.masadvise.org

 

Laura Graham-Prentice is a MAS Volunteer and Marketing Communications Consultant.

December 2018

 

 

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