25 free tools for nonprofit communicators and marketers

Don’t let a shoestring budget prevent you from connecting with donors or producing compelling content. Add these useful resources to your messaging arsenal.

The life of a communications pro for a nonprofit organization can be a series of balancing acts.

Perhaps your department is a one-stop shop responsible for the organization’s messaging strategy—or maybe you are the communications department.

Regardless, you probably have a lot on your plate and limited personnel who can take on tasks. Let’s review 25 tools that can streamline your job and make your workday easier, so you can spend more time making the world a better place:

Internal and external communication and collaboration

Zoom

Zoom enables you to have video conferences with anyone around the world. Zoom’s free account affords you unlimited one-on-one video conferencing, with a time limit of 40 minutes for groups. It also includes a screen share function, chat capabilities and a recording feature.

Skype

Similar to Zoom, Skype offers free video conferencing and unlimited audio conferences for groups. Come for the seamless communication; stay for the delightful emoticons.

Join.me

There’s no registration or software download required for join.me, which features excellent screen sharing functionality. Join.me also provides simple video conferencing and unlimited audio.

G Suite for Nonprofits

This resource provides free access to all the benefits of G Suite: business email, shared calendars, shared documents, spreadsheets, presentations and storage.

Project management

Slack

Slack is a sleek chat platform for teams. You can organize conversations, invite certain people to certain channels (such as a channel for volunteers, one for the board, one for everyone working on a certain event) and even search conversations.

Slack is free for up to 10,000 messages; after that it can remain free, but your archive of messages to search remains limited to 10,000 (so it will simply erase the oldest ones as new ones come in).

Wunderlist

Wunderlist is your digital to-do list. You can sort lists by categories and invite people to participate in shared to-dos.

Asana

This user-friendly project management platform is free for up to 15 people, though you can upgrade for just $8.33 per month if you wish.

Visual content

Canva

Even if you lack creative flair, Canva can greatly enhance your graphic design capabilities. This platform is perfect for user-friendly image creation and custom visuals.

The free version offers enough templates, images, fonts, layouts and ideas to make you feel like a visual content pro. You can even share images with team members for editing and collaboration.

Lumen5

Think you need a videographer or expensive video editing software to create compelling videos? Think again.

Lumen5 enables you to enter a piece of content, and it guides you through the creation of a professional-looking video to accompany it.

BeFunky

BeFunky is a fantastic photo editor and collage maker. It’s easy to use, and it has plenty of features to help you create unique visuals that pop off the page.

Pixabay

Pixabay offers an extensive trove of royalty-free images. The platform’s search tool makes it easy to find a specific type of picture, and the mobile app is seamless, too.

Piktochart

Piktochart is an online infographics tool. It features a sleek drag-and-drop builder and loads of graphics and formats to choose from. Piktochart offers a free starter plan, and it also offers a discounted nonprofit rate of $39.99 per year for the premium version.

Digital marketing tools

Grammarly

Even the keenest writers and editors can use some grammatical help and support, and Grammarly makes for a fine in-house editorial assistant.

If you download the Grammarly plug-in, the software will proof and edit your emails before you send them out.

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

You have a split second to catch your audience’s attention online. The CoSchedule Headline Analyzer can help you craft a headline that’s sure to stand out and get clicked.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the most user-friendly email management systems available. The company’s free plan allows for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month.

If your email efforts outgrow the free plan, Mailchimp offers a 15 percent nonprofit discount, as well as a 10 percent discount when you add two-factor authentication to your MailChimp account. The discounts can also be combined.

Hubspot Blog Topic Generator

This is a great tool to come up with fresh ideas for compelling content. When your well of creativity runs dry, check out Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz offers a multitude of helpful tools for every sort of communicator, though its Keyword Explorer can make your SEO skyrocket.

Moz will reveal popular keywords people are searching for, and it can help you determine which keywords you can potentially rank for.

Answer the Public

Answer the Public is another great tool to help you build content around questions people are asking. Just type in a keyword, and you’ll receive data, visualizations and ideas to spark creativity.

Community building and social media

HootSuite

With Hootsuite, you can schedule tweets, monitor keywords and track lists of people. You can customize a dashboard to best suit your needs.

Buffer

Buffer is free for one account. It enables you to schedule social media posts across Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Buffer also provides useful analytics to help you see what’s working and what’s not.

YouTube’s Nonprofit Program

YouTube’s Nonprofit Program offers tools and support to help you create compelling videos, as well as “donation cards” with videos to raise funds.

Discover.ly

Discover.ly enables you to see social media account info of the people you email. This helps you to connect with supporters, influencers and donors across multiple channels in a meaningful, substantive way.

Three more essential tools

Google Analytics

How can you know what’s resonating unless you monitor metrics? Use Google Analytics to set benchmarks, gauge your PR metrics, track page views, and make strategic budget allocation decisions.

Talkwalker Alerts

Talkwalker alerts enable you to monitor the news for your brand name, a client’s name, or any keyword or competitors you want to keep tabs on.

Google Grants

Google Grants awards nonprofits $10,000 in Adwords advertising budget each month.

Which free digital marketing tools would you add? Do you know of other companies that offer nonprofit discounts? Add your suggestions to the comments below.

Laura Petrolino is chief client officer for Arment Dietrich and Spin Sucks. A version of this post first appeared on Shonali Burke’s blog.

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