A Guide to Affordable (and Free!) Technology and Digital Resources For Your Non-Profit

Nonprofits and schools can benefit from technology and digital resources— no matter how small the budget.

Important areas like marketing, administrative details, advertising, communications, and event management can be spendy. The good news is that there are many high quality affordable, free or discounted services that can help a nonprofit (or any business for that matter) to cut overhead costs and still produce amazing content within their marketing or administrative fields.

Here are a couple of areas that you can easily find affordable resources to assist in your daily operations.

Graphics

If your nonprofit has any presence online, you are inevitably going to need some high-quality images to use on your website, blog, or advertisements. The tricky thing is that to use an image on your site or on any publication for your organization, it will need to be both high resolution and royalty free. There are many sites that offer a paid subscription to a large library of stock photos that fall under this category, but in most cases, this is not necessary.

Check out some of these websites to find huge libraries of entirely free, high resolution, and royalty free images for your use. No fine print, no attribution necessary, no payment.

Bonus: Both Pexels and Pixabay also offer free stock videos. This is a great way to amp up your next project!

Design

Making beautiful design work is extremely important to the marketing of a good organization. A good design on an event invitation, post card, advertisement, or social media post can be the difference between somebody listening to what you have to say, or writing you off as irrelevant. But not everybody has a degree in graphic design, the funds to use Photoshop, or the budget to hire a designer. Lucky for us, design work doesn’t have to be expensive or incredibly difficult.

One site  I would recommend to anyone who falls into this category is Canva. Canva is a website that makes design work simple, with easy to use templates and endless customization. It is free to use, and available as an app for both iOS and Android devices. Like most free services, this website offers a paid membership as well with extra benefits such as inviting members to your work team, setting organizational color themes for easy reuse, and resizing designs for new projects or mishaps. However, any registered nonprofit can access all these features for free. This makes Canva an excellent resource for nonprofit design work. It is free, and produces amazing results!

Email Communication

As physical mailers become increasingly less popular, the importance of utilizing email communication within your nonprofit is rising. Simply typing up something in gmail and sending it out will not do the trick…these days, emails need to look appealing and easily grab a reader’s attention. For that, there are a couple of services that offer free options for smaller organizations.

One of the most popular is Mail Chimp. This email campaign service is very easy to use, and a great option for smaller nonprofits. If you’re sending maybe a couple emails a month to a database of under 2,000 people, this is a great choice. Even their paid subscriptions are rather affordable, and they offer a 15% discount for nonprofits.

Constant Contact also offers beautiful email campaign services, and gives a generous 20-30% discount to any nonprofit subscriber.

Task Organization

Another important part to keeping a nonprofit up and running is organizing the collective and individual to-do lists. There are many very expensive options to streamlining this process, but you can achieve the necessary organization and communication without breaking the bank. While these programs do have paid options, their free features are a useful addition to any team in need of some help organizing.

Event Organization

If you are a fundraiser you probably plan some type of event year-round. Although online marketing and fundraising do go a long way, there is nothing quite like the personal touch of an actual event. These events take a lot of work and organization to put together!  Greater Giving offers an all-inclusive, affordable software that will assist any nonprofit in streamlining this process— and making year-round fundraisers as simple and effective as they can be. And Greater Giving offers different package and a-la-carte tools to fit your organization’s budget.

This is one area where using a “free” resource can backfire, because you want to make sure your event goes as smoothly as possible and your donor’s credit card information is secure. There is only one chance for a first impression! And all of the recommended resources above can be used in conjunction with your Event Software to significantly improve your guest experience.

Many nonprofits fall into the mistake of paying countless subscription fees just to create their marketing content or keep their administrative work going. Making good use of some of these affordable, free or discounted services for nonprofits is a simple way to cut back on overhead costs and free up funds for what truly matters!


2 Responses to “A Guide to Affordable (and Free!) Technology and Digital Resources For Your Non-Profit”

  1. Ann Fleck

    I was reading the information on email communications and am interested in utilizing electronic communications such as Mail Chimp. Is there a platform or way for the emails to be sent via our greater giving contacts. For example, in greater giving we have a donor label of “Alumni”, if we wanted to send something out just to alumni, can we sync greater giving and a service such as Mail Chimp?

    Reply

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