FREE. That word is magic to many people in the nonprofit world.
I am happy to share with you a few of my current free and low cost technology platforms that make running a nonprofit a little easier!
If you haven’t registered for a Techsoup account yet, open a new window in your browser and get that done. Then come back to me and finish reading this article. TechSoup is a nonprofit that offers technology solutions and other must have resources at a discounted price to other nonprofits. Why pay full price when you can access lots of great digital platforms at a lower price? www.techsoup.org
2. Google Apps for Nonprofits (G-Suite)
Free email, easy user management, Google drive storage and all the other great applications that come with G-Suite…and you can access it anywhere. This will also require a TechSoup account. There are a few steps to complete to verify you own your domain name and then you can set up your email addresses. I’ve set up quite a few of these, and even when faced with domain verification challenges, tech support at Google has been fantastic at helping out. Never pay for email hosting again! https://www.google.com/nonprofits/products/apps-for-nonprofits.html
Nothing drives me crazier than multiple email chains back and forth with a group of people just to schedule a meeting. Doodle solves this problem. This online scheduling tool can be used quickly and easily to find a date and time to meet with multiple people. First you suggest dates and times for your event participants to choose from, then Doodle creates a polling calendar that can be sent to participants for feedback. Once everyone has responded, you can pick the day and time that worked best for everyone and send out your calendar invite. The free version has some ad placement, but nothing too obtrusive. www.doodle.com
Their slogan is ‘Group Organizing Made Easy’ and boy are they right. The platform uses a simple wizard to create your sign up forms which can include number of spots, descriptions, time slots, who they report to, etc. Then add email addresses or share the link with your volunteers so they can sign up to help. Manage events, volunteers, and other activities easily with this platform. The free version has lots of features, but if you need expanded reporting, no advertising and additional tools, they have 3 paid tiers ranging from $9.99/mo - $49.99/mo. www.signupgenius.com
5. Quickbooks Online Plus & Premier Desktop
Intuit offers a limited number of nonprofit licenses through the TechSoup website. Currently you can purchase an annual subscription to Quickbooks Online for $50.00/year. Premier desktop licenses are also available at a discounted price. I specialize in the Quickbooks platform and find it to be a great accounting tool for many nonprofits. http://www.techsoup.org/intuit
Technology is always changing and making decisions about what application is best for your organization can be overwhelming. Test driving a platform first is always preferable. Fortunately for consumers, the competitive environment that these tech companies have to operate in usually results in free trials or even basic versions of their products being offered at little to no cost. Many of these companies want to also do some good in the world, so ask about a non profit discount if you don't see it in their pricing.