In this two-part series, you’ll find a variety of tech tools to fit every non-profit’s budget and a wide range of your practical day-to-day needs.
In 100 More Online Tools for Non-Profits – Part 1, we covered a host of time-and-money management tools; online fundraising and donor management software; content sharing and collaboration tools; web conferencing services; multimedia and presentation sharing and creation tools, plus platforms for delivering online training courses; and a few cool resources to help you use these tools effectively. If you missed Part 1, check it out here.
And now, on to Part 2 of our round-up!
Mailing List Management, Email Marketing, Newsletters
In 100 Online Tools for Non-Profits, the first "big list" post that inspired this new 2-part series, we looked at Aweber, BluePogo, Campaigner, Constant Contact, EmailNow, EngageMail, GraphicMail UK, iContact, MailChimp, and Mailman. Some other options for handling your non-profit's mass communications include these tools:
This full-featured UK-based service lets you manage multiple lists and send HTML emails on a pay-as-you-go basis, or email for free by allowing ads on your messages.
Beautiful templates, robust tracking (including social media reactions), plus a user-friendly interface makes ActiveCampaign one of the most popular choices for small business and non-profits as well as some of the Fortune 500 big boys. Loads of guides and resources will help new users learn best practices for email marketing and get up to speed with this service. Pricing starts at $9/month for up to 500 subscribers, or pay as you go with purchased credits. 30-day free trial lets you add 250 subscribers and send up to 1250 emails.
Image and document hosting, templates, WYSIWYG editor, support for non-English languages, available SMS/Text service, and more. Pricing is based on usage, not number of names on your lists, and they offer a special discount to non-profits. Free 1-month trial.
Monthly payment plans are based on volume of email sent, starting at $30/month for 1000 emails. No extra charge for survey and forms at any payment level, no annual contract required. 20% discount for non-profits. Free trial.
Full featured email and mobile marketing services with online chat help, support videos and webinars, competitive prices started at $9.95 for 2000 emails. Free 10,000 emails/month (20%discounts on higher volumes) are offered to 501(c)(3) registered US non-profits; organizations outside the United States may also be eligible: contact the company to apply.
Mad Mimi (www.madmimi.com)
Powerful yet simple email marketing service makes it easy for anyone to create elegant e-newsletters, manage lists, track opens and clicks. Good reputation for customer support. Pricing: $8/month for 500 contacts, $36/month for 10,000 contacts, and up. Free for 100 contacts or less.
NetAtlantic Email Marketing Suite (www.netatlantic.com)
A well-regarded email service with pricing to scale with the size of your mailing list, starting at $10/month and unlimited messages for lists of less than 100 members, with free survey tool and tracking included – but custom email newsletter templates are $425 each, which could be a deal-breaker for many small-org budgets.
More than 700 email templates to choose from, social sharing features, real-time tracking, live chat help and online guides to get you started. Services include direct mail postcards, online surveys, image hosting, and more. Free 30-day trial. Free 10,000 emails/month (and discounts on higher volumes of email and other Vertical Response marketing services) are offered to non-profit organizations with 501(c)(3) status in the US.
Tip: When choosing a mailing service, do ask your friends and colleagues for their recommendations. As well, pay close attention to the email newsletters and mailing lists that you’ve subscribed to, personally. Which messages look best to you, and which are difficult to read? Do the emails from one particular sender seem to get stuck in your spam filters if you don’t actively whitelist them? How easy is the unsubscribe process? And so on...
SMS Text Marketing Tools Church Text Pro (www.churchtextpro.com)
Get unlimited texting to church members and guests, broadcast or two-way, through this feature-rich web-based service. Plans start at $99/month for 500 subscribers with some limitations. Free trial: 2 weeks.
Bulk SMS messaging service starts at $10/month for 200 express or 400 standard messages, or pay-as-you-go rates per message. No charge for incoming messages. Supports all major Canadian cell phone carriers as well as US.
Ruxter lets you quickly create a mobile site and text your links to your contacts who opt in for the site. Your first 100 messages per month are free; SMS packages can be purchased to send additional messages. See the FAQ for details.
Pricing ranges from $25/month (300 messages) to $150/month (2000 messages), unlimited groups under one plan. Pay as you go – no contracts. Free 15-day trial.
Bonus Resource: Is your organization new to mobile fundraising and SMS marketing, maybe a bit confused about how it all works and if it’s right for you? See the MobileActive.org article, Texting for Charitable Dollars: The Definitive Guide to Mobile Fundraising, to learn more.
Tip: Whatever email and/or text marketing tools you choose to use, make sure you’ll be able to export your mailing list and take it with you, if you should later decide to change to a different service.
Events Management, Registration, Staff & Volunteer Scheduling
In addition to those event management and scheduling tools covered by our earlier list – Acteva, ASAP, etouches, Eventbrite for NonProfits, Event Wizard, Events-On-Demand, Meetup, RegOnline OnDemand, rsvpBOOK Pro Edition, and ScheduleOnce – Facebook Events might meet your needs, if all of your prospective attendees are among Facebook’s 500+ million users, and if you don’t have a registration fee to be processed. However, if none of these options are quite right for your organization, here are some other events tools to consider:
Online ticket sales, promotion, event registration, with payment processing and attendee management. Integrates into your website. Free for free events. For paid events, fees are $0.99 per attendee plus 5.9% of the ticket price. More than 15 currencies are supported.
Designed for service businesses: job management, customer management, scheduling, mobile dispatch, inventory management, messaging, and reporting. This could be useful for community-based non-profits who need to coordinate field staff and home office operations. Starting at $65/month Admin license, plus $10/month per mobile user. 14-day free trial.
OfficeClip Web Group Calendar (www.officeclip.com)
Part of the OfficeClip suite of business applications, this calendar-planner lets you create and manage private meetings and group events. Features include RSVP, proxies, synchronization with Outlook, access control: publish to your website or share with limited access. Hosted $5 per user/month; installed version $40/user (one-time fee). Free edition available: limit 2 users.
Embed a scheduling widget on your website to show times and services; visitors request an appointment time, and Setster sends confirmation emails to both parties. Integrates with iCal, Google Calendar, Outlook. Prices start at $19.95/month for 1 service provider, 1 location. Preview and 15-day free trial.
People who want to meet with you can schedule themselves via a widget embedded on your website or via your SkedgeMe profile. Automatic reminder emails; iPhone and Android apps; “smarter calendar” syncs with Google, iCal and Outlook calendars. SkedgeMe can handle both individual appointments and group events. Prices start at $29.95/month for 2 staff calendars and 3 resource calendars (to book meeting rooms and equipment). Free 60-day trial.
Web-based human resources software lets you track employee (or volunteer) skills and goals, vacation time, sick days, etc.; create job postings, collect resumes, review and make notes on applicants; set, track and complete goals; much more. Contact the company for pricing information.
Clients can see your availability and request a meeting time via your Tungle.me profile page. Adjusts for time zones, automatically updates your Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, LotusNotes, Windows Live, Yahoo) with new appointments, and connects with your social profiles (Facebook, TripIt, PlanCast, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn. Works with iPhone, Blackberry, and (soon) Android mobiles. Free basic, or $4.99/month to customize with your own logo and colors.
Online meeting scheduler syncs with the major address books and calendars. Automatic reminders and confirmation, agenda, attachments up to 1 MB size, agenda, and more. Free basic version, $4.10/month for larger attachments and additional features.
For more ideas, see also these Wild Apricot Blog posts: 6 Free or Cheap Web Tools to Schedule Volunteers and, more recently, Q&A: Volunteer Scheduling, Time Tracking and Accountability, written in response to our readers’ questions.
Membership Management, Contact Management (CRM)
Avectra netFORUM, BatchBook, Convio Common Ground CRM, FreshDex, Memberize, NiceFit, SageCRM, Salesforce, SignMeUp, and TimeLog Project were discussed in our earlier list, 100 Online Tools for Non-Profits. Here are a few other possibilities (and if there’s another CRM you’re especially keen on, please share your recommendation in the comments, below):
Organize your contacts, manage leads, follow-up, tasks and activities with this simple CRM. It’s designed for small business, not just a downscaled version of enterprise-level software, so may be a good fit for many smaller non-profits as well. Basic Edition $10/month; Professional and Campaign Manager Editions ($30/month and $50/month) add task assignment, plugins, address capture, and other marketing tools. 14-day free trial.
A popular, easy-to-use, yet powerful web-based CRM from 37signals. Track your contacts and conversations, capture notes, get reminders, organize tasks, integrate with your bulk email service, and much more. Works with your iPhone. Price plans start at $24/month Basic for small groups (6 users) up to Premium (40 users) $99/month. They also offer a Solo plan (1 user, 5 GB files, 20,000 contacts) for $29/month, and a free plan (2 users, no files, 250 contacts). Free 30-day trial.
OfficeClip Web Contact Manager (www.officeclip.com)
Part of the OfficeClip suite of business applications. Hosted $8/month; installed $64 per user/month. A limited 2-user free edition is also available. Free trial.
“Collaborative CRM meets Project Management” in Norada’s Solve’360, with a Web 2.0 workgroup approach, Google Apps integration, mobile access, easy task delegation and tracking, free updates, automatic data backups twice a day, and much more. Pricing starts at $39/month (for 3 users and 10,000 active contacts), scales up to $69 and $149/month for larger organizations. Free 14-day trial.
Easy-to-configure online CRM offers templates, shared web-based calendar, custom reports, import/export Excel data and other formats, and lets you send emails and SMS directly from the software. Automatic updates and automatic backup.14-day free trial; pricing starts at $25 per user/month for the essentials (2 user minimum). Optional modules (website integration, sync with Outlook, time sheets) can be added for an additional cost.
Zoho CRM (www.zoho.com/crm)
Free for 3 users with basic features – tasks, call log, calendar, reports, etc. – as well as Sales Force Automation, Marketing Automation, Customer Support, Web Forms, File Storage, Data Administration. Prices for more users and more features go to $12 and $25 per user/month; additional features, plugins and integrations available for $3 or $5 per user/month depending on the package selected.
Discussion Forums, Online Communities
In addition to BulletinBoards, Crowdvine for Groups, Gong Project, Ning, ProBoards, QuickTopic, Re:Subj, Wetpaint, World Crossing, and Yuku, which have been noted already, here are a couple more tools to help you create or strengthen your online community and help supporters to more easily engage with your cause:
Create a free private social network for your organization; from Salesforce.com.
Text messaging for groups.
Free forum hosting with 2 GB storage, automatic spam detection, theme customization, rich media support, sidebar widgets, community voting, and more.
Free forum and other fully customizable apps include mailing list, photo gallery, news and blog you can embed on your own website.
Ninja Post (www.ninjapost.com)
One-click setup for a message board with social integrations.
Create a free private social network for your organization.
Full-featured, customizable free forum hosting. No limit on posts or members.
Zoho Discussions (discussions.zoho.com)
Create a private or public online community; various prices, including a free option.
On a related note, these 3 fairly new social networks have been getting a bit of buzz in the non-profit space, lately, if you want to check them out:
- Flapon (www.flapon.com) Topic-based social network.
- Gowalla (gowalla.com) Location-based social network.
- Jumo (www.jumo.com) Social network for “individuals and organizations working to change the world.”
Website Builders, Blogs, Content Management (CMS)
If your organization has the tech skills and resources to host your own website, the software options are many and varied. Self-hosted Wordpress seems to be the top choice for blogs; and I like the lightweight open-source CMS called GetSimple for quick creation of smaller websites, also self-hosted.
But here we’ll concentrate, as before, on hosted website solutions, where the service provider will handle any tech problems for you as well as routine software updates. (Hosted solutions are very often the most practical option for very small nonprofits with limited resources.) CFSites, Doodlekit, Grassroots.org, Manila, Nonprofitsite123, Non-Profit Soapbox, Squarespace, Yola, Weebly, and Wordpress.com were covered by the original 100 Online Tools for Non-Profits list. Here are a few more options, and Google Search will turn up lots more:
350 Pages (www.350.com)
Free version of this drag-and-drop website builder is advertising supported. Paid plans run from $4.49/month to $33.99/month, with limited storage and bandwidth.
UK-based hosted CMS with WYSIWYG editor, drag and drop, automatic picture resizing, blog, and more. Starts at £20 per user/month for 10 web pages. Free trial.
Point-and-click, drag-and-drop website builder for non-techy users. Customizable templates, site stats, 5 web pages. 30-day free trial; $4.49/month thereafter.
Easy website builder with online store option. Pro plan (with domain name and email account) CDN $5/month; Business level CDN $15/month. Free limited plan.
Magix Website Maker (www.magix-online.com)
Create dynamic Flash homepages, hosting included. Free limited version and two paid levels: partly limited “easy” plan $1.99/month or full “deluxe” $4.99/month.
A free account allows 5 pages and 16 images, and provides web statistics, but you’ll have to go with a paid account for larger sites, customized themes, or to use your own domain name. Prices range from 5.95€ to 29.25€ per month.
Blogs "Lite": Posterous vs Tumblr
Popular free blogging tool (with followers/groups) lets you import existing blogs, autopost, post by email or mobile, choose from a collection of themes or customize your own, and point your own domain name at your Posterous site. Quick and easy, and you can set up multiple blogs under one login – useful for different campaigns, perhaps.
However, do take a good look at Tumblr (www.tumblr.com) while you’re at it.
The Posterous vs Tumblr battle has been a bit like the Mac/PC rivalry with keen fans on both sides – they are both claimed to be “the easiest way to blog,” although there are some fairly significant differences between the two platforms. Both are free.
And one more, just for the Techies...
Drop Pages (droppages.com)
“By simply creating a Dropbox folder that you then share with Droppages you can quickly throw together a working website using just text files and folders,” explains Paul Boag, and you can easily update your DropPages site by mobile, because Dropbox itself is so widely integrated with many applications. See Boag’s video on how to Create a Website Using DropBox and a Text Editor to get a sense of whether this might be the right website-building approach for your organization.
All-In-One Solutions for Non-Profits
In the original 100 Online Tools for Non-Profits list, we looked at Action Potential Networks, ActiveCommunities, BlackbaudNow, CitySoft, Convio Online, Democracy in Action/Salsa, DonorDrive, MemberClicks, Tendenci, and YourMembership, as well as Wild Apricot’s own all-in-one software for small non-profits and associations. Here are a few more options to consider:
3 Minute Charity (www.3minutecharity.com)
This Joomla-based software-as-a-service gives you a hosted website, online donations and event registrations, membership directory, online store, and more. Free 7-day trial, then pay-as-you-go prices start at $9/month for 20MB disk space and one email account, up to $99/month for the Enterprise package.
A full line of web applications developed for synagogues and Jewish non-profits: calendar, online donations, announcements, content and media archive, image gallery, and (coming soon) e-newsletter modules plug into your existing website. Modules are $18 -$36 per month each, and you choose only the modules you need. Demo available online.
Web Simplify (websimplify.biz/all-in-one)
All-in-one business website solution features include web hosting, e-commerce, CMS (content management system), CRM (customer relationship management), site analytics and reports, blogs, and email marketing tools. Free trial. Contact the company for prices.
Of course, we can’t finish this list without a little reminder...
Wild Apricot.com (www.wildapricot.com)
Wild Apricot all-in-one web software helps small associations and non-profits to automate the 'boring stuff': managing contact records, automating membership applications and renewals, handling website updates, tracking event registrations, and sending out receipts and reminders. Wild Apricot starts at $25/month with free upgrades and support, no long-term contracts, and no setup or processing fees. Free 30-day trial.
What online tools do you suggest to help small non-profits be more efficient and effective? Drop a comment, please, and share your favorites!