Free Web Apps Can Help NonProfits Save Time and Money

Lori Halley 16 January 2008 3 comments

Keep costs down with web-based services instead of purchasing software, urges Bruce Judson, a Senior Faculty Fellow at the Yale School of Management.  His audience is primarily start-up businesses, but the advice is equally applicable to nonprofit organizations. Even more so, perhaps, with accountability tagged as a strong priority for many donors and supporters.

Rather than buy an expensive piece of software you might not use again, why not explore the free and low-cost options? Web-based applications can give you the technology tools you need in the short term — for a specific project, say, or a single campaign — without a long-term investment.  With a web-based service, too, you have the comfort of knowing that you're always working with the latest version of the software. There's no need to worry about maintaining your own software, or purchasing upgrades to keep it current.

Word-of-mouth is often the best way to find the web app you need. Ask your friends and colleagues what applications they are using, and what their experience has been.

But if you can't track down a firsthand review, what then? 

Search Free Apps is a specialized search engine with over 700 enterprise-quality applications, hand-picked  by Bruce Judson, that are free on the web for anyone to use.  Most of the listings are completely free, full-featured applications.  Some are "free trials" of commercial software for a specific period of time. Even there, however, Judson has stringent criteria for inclusion — no strings attached, no limitations in the web app's standard functions, and no further obligations to you when the trial period expires.

Instead of potentially thousands of search results, Search Free Apps  presents you with a select few pre-screened tools and services to assess. From there, a quick look at a web app's FAQ page should give you a good idea if its main features are likely meet your needs and the service is worth a try. 

"If a particular service meets 60% of your needs today," Judson advises, "it is what you should use. It’s good enough. As Web-based services are constantly enhancing their offerings, within a few months it will likely meet 80% of your needs, or even include valuable features that you had not imagined."  That's certainly the case with Wild Apricot, as our release history clearly shows — 17 updates in 2007 alone which brought dozens of new features!

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 12:20 PM

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  • Money » Free Web Apps Can Help NonProfits Save Time and Money said:

    Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 10:41 AM
  • Greg Tallent said:

    Wednesday, 16 January 2008 at 11:47 AM

    Just want to respond to the 'free web apps' part of this post.

    We've created four social websites where people engage on the issues of climate change, working for peace, easing poverty or wildlife conservation.

    The idea is that we match people who have resources with those who do not.

    Greg Tallent

    Senior Lecturer

    London South Bank University

    +44 20 7815 7744

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Thursday, 17 January 2008 at 5:47 AM

    @Greg, thanks for the pointer to your site(s). It's so interesting to see all the creative apps springing from OpenSocial API recently - can't wait to see what might eventually emerge from Six Apart's OpenSocial 'Hackathon' event this week!

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