3 Tech Tools Nonprofits Can't Live Without

Nonprofits, Technology

Here are 3 tools that are FREE that nonprofits need to start using if not already.  There are many technology tools out there helping nonprofits however these are 3 easy ones that you can get started with today, they are that easy.  All you need is an e-mail address to sign up.

Your organization will start seeing a Return on Investment immediately.


No prior graphic design experience required!  With the user friendly drag and drop features anyone in your nonprofit can create digital marketing materials in minutes…literally. Canva has more than one million images you can use in addition to having the ability to uploading your own. Forget about having to figure out what size things should be, canva has the specs already laid out. 

What types of things would you use canva for:

Social media- facebook cover for you agency, facebook pictures to go with your post, twitter header, etc. Dress up all your social medias within 5 minutes of using canva.  

Save the dates- create a post card save the date to send out to your contact list before a fundraising event.

Infographic- create an inforgraphic to use for your annual report.  Communicate to donors and volunteers statistics that are important for your organization through data visualization.

Flyer-create flyers for events, sign up forms for volunteers, and e-mail newsletter sign ups.

Thank you cards-create your own thank you cards for campaigns and events. Make it personal instead of store bought cards. 

You can save the images in different ways depending on what your need is:

Save options

Here’s an example of a social media post that I created within 1 minute:


No more e-mail distribution lists!  Many e-mail marketing tools are free up to a certain amount of contacts.  For mailchimp it is free for the first 2000 contacts and then you will start paying $20/month depending on number of contacts.

Mailchimp is considered an e-mail marketing tool. What does that mean?  An e-mail marketing tool let’s you specialize your e-mail campaign by creating lists of people by preference and behavior.  For instance, you might have volunteers that need a reminder about an event coming up, board members that want an update on a struggling program, and donors who want to know the impact of the previous years giving.  This segmentation into groups and lists gives your agency the ability to talk specifically to people.  Also it gives you newsletter templates so you don’t have to hire a marketing firm/consultant to design that for you.  With drag and drop features any person in your organization has the ability to create a newsletter.  Same with the lists, you can create separate newsletter for the different stakeholders that are a part of your organization.

Mailchimp also has the ability to make your transition from distribution list to e-mail marketing tool seamless by using the import tool. They also have many other integration capabilities such as keeping up with your donors using your donor management system (dependent on what system your organization uses). You can create, edit, and manage events with Eventbrite integration, or you can easily survey your constituents with SurveyMonkey integration. Additionally, you can share your email campaigns with a click of button on Facebook or Twitter and allow your subscribers to do the same.

Lastly, mailchimp has a robust reporting and dashboard tool so you can see how all your subscribers are reacting to your e-mails and newsletter.  You can tell who opened your e-mail and who did not.  Also you will be able to see what they clicked on in your e-mail or newsletter if you provide links to other sites and such.  This is just a few examples of what you can review in the reporting dashboard feature.

Here is an example of a newsletter created in Mailchimp within minutes:

Google Apps

Google apps

E-mail- Create unlimited email accounts for your staff on your own branded domain ie. msmith@helping.com

Drive- Store files in the cloud: 30GB of storage space per account across Gmail and Google Drive. When stored in Drive you can access your documents from any device anywhere.

Docs, Sheets, Slides- Collaborate in real time with colleagues on grant proposals, meeting agendas, and more through Google Docs . Track answers on a Google form by connecting it to a Google sheet which automatically tracks responses in an excel type spreadsheet.

Forms- Conduct surveys, training assessments and event sign ups through Google Forms

Calendar-Manage appointments and schedules in Google Calendar.  Everyone in the organization can use the same google calendar to coordinate scheduling.  

Groups- Monitor group discussions and distribution lists through Google Groups

Hangouts- Hold video conference calls for up to 15 participants at a time on your desktop or mobile device; audio and screen sharing tools included.

In addition to all these features and more they also provide 24/7 support by chat (my preference), phone and e-mail. As long as you have access to a modern browser then you have access to anything you need in google apps.  There is no hardware needed aside from the hardware that you are using to access the browser (phone, tablet, etc.) and updates occur automatically with not extra work. Lastly, you can securely access your data from mobile devices.

Once again all of these are free for nonprofits.  There are premium versions available in which you can pay but I would suggest using the free versions of everything first and then move on to the premium once you have the lay of the land with the freemiums.

About the Author
McKenzie Smith
McKenzie Smith
Founder, Consultant

McKenzie Smith is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 15 years of experience in the social services. She is committed to bringing all technology solutions and information into 1 centralized and synthesized hub for the sector. She is very passionate about social services and nonprofits using metrics and technology to increase effectiveness and impact on large scales. When she is not moving the social service system forward you will find her chasing after her son Nash, running her daughter Irie to activities or going to a Pilates class.