Tools of the Do Good Trade
Ever wondered which tools super-productive and uber-organised people use to get things done?
I am lucky to be surrounded by tech start-ups in the shared office space I work in at the Bizdojo where words like Slack, Trello boards and Zaps get bandied around. I asked a few charity friends (Pat and Reuben from the One Percent Collective and Guy from Inspiring Stories Trust) for their input on the apps and tools they use to help them get on with completing the big juicy missions they have to change the world.
I combined their thoughts with the tools I use at Do Good Jobs, and with my other work hats on, that have helped streamline, beautify and make life easier (or just give more time for bigger thinking and coffee breaks!)
Here are ten of our favourite tools:
Every wanted to create a quick image for social media, a new brochure or new logo? Canva.com allows everyone to create beautiful designs. There is no need to buy design programs or contract designers – it offers stunning templates, nice fonts, icons, and allows me to upload my images.
Even though I have design experience and the right computer programmes on my computer, I find Canva my go-to to whip up nice graphics for Facebook, and even the blog header on this article! What I love about the Canva model is that it’s about empowering anyone in the world with a web browser to design (and not needing Adobe Suite to do it!).
Cost: Free. There are certain elements, like stock photos, that you can buy from $1.
I remember days in previous jobs when the work server would hit a glitch and everyone would have to take a coffee break until it could be rebooted by the IT crew. Today, dropbox and other cloud-based hard drives have become core productivity tools for entrepreneurs, virtual teams and I think should be a key tool for charities too.
All your documents become cloud-based, which allows you to store your files online, sync them across different computers, and share them with team members or even across your own computers and phones. They can easily be shared with anyone you want outside the organisation, simply by sharing a URL or sending an invitation. I have Dropbox synced to my computer – it works just like any other file and sits on my desktop for access.
Dropbox also allows you to back-up your files and access them remotely via a web browser from anywhere, even if you leave your computer behind or are working from your smartphone or tablet.
Cost: Free (with limited uploads) or $99USD per year/user.
Did you know that Google have a non-profits programme giving free access to a number of Google’s paid products, tools and nonprofit services.
Ad Grants provides a USD $10,000 per month grant for any approved charity to raise awareness and target new audiences online through Google advertising.
Their free Google Apps also provide a range of enterprise tools — from email (using the Gmail platform) to Google Docs — that reduce technology costs and encourage collaboration. While I use Dropbox for all my files, Pat and Guy both prefer the free Google Drive option and love the ability to enable real-time collaboration on documents that lets you see everyone’s changes as they make them.
This also gives free access to Gmail email accounts – you can create emails that use your own domain name. I use Gmail for all Do Good Jobs emails (like firstname.lastname@example.org), and at The Gift Trust. It has a host of additional features, with plenty of great add-ons and integrations.
Guy also recommends Streak which enables mass mail merges from your Gmail account. Inspiring Stories use this to customise their event invites (and avoids emails getting sent to the promotions tab in Gmail too). Streak is free for 200 tracked emails per month and then charges USD $39 a month.
Cost: Free! TechSoup New Zealand validate New Zealand charities for Google. If you haven’t heard of Techsoup and the free or heavily discounted software and hardware perks they offer, visit their website pronto!
Always forgetting your passwords? Sick of clicking “forgot my password”? It’s really not safe to use the same password everywhere, and many systems have different password requirements, which makes it impractical to try to remember them all.
I’ve been using the Lastpass browser plugin for the last 6-months. It’s been invaluable. I work on a number of different projects – to the point where I have three Mailchimp and three Xero account logins. Lastpass has enabled me to save passwords and create folders for the different organisations I work with.
I can share key folders of logins, or individual logins with collaborators too. I can give them access to login as me. Lastpass auto fills in the login form, without them seeing my password. I can also revoke and reset these passwords at any time. It’s great for staff handovers – no lost passwords or lock-outs of important logins (huge thanks to The Suitcase Entrepreneur for telling be about this one!).
Cost: Free for individuals. Enterprise accounts available too, and they offer a 30% discount for non-profits.
You may have reached this blog via my Mailchimp post. I use it to send out my weekly newsletter updates and more. It’s simple to use, offers beautiful templates, and tells me how things are performing.
The paid version also lets you set up automated emails. One Percent Collective use this to send all their new donors a series of welcome emails describing more about their model and story.
Cost: If you have less than 2,000 subscribers, it’s free to use. You can also easily integrate a sign-up form on your website. They offer a 15% discount to charities.
Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams track their work. I love using Asana for my to-do lists in a calendar, list or board view and I can assign tasks to the right people too. I use Asana from everything from strategic plans to content calendars. Plus, you can turn on a cute message that gives you high-fives as you tick off your tasks too!
Cost: Free to use for teams of up to fifteen people. It offers a discount to small teams of less than forty people.
A Kiwi-made finance package that’s so easy to use. From filing an expense claim on the go from my iphone, to reconciling my accounts on the bus, I love the Xero phone app too.
Chances are you are stuck using a more old school package and may well not be able to change. But, if you are part of a small charity you should definitely give it a look.
It integrates really well with a whole bunch of other applications. It also has some great templates for the new charities reporting standards that your accountant can help you with too.
Cost: $55 a month. There is a 25% discount for charities.
Their site says: “think of Squarespace as your very own IT department, with free, unlimited hosting, top-of-the-line security, an enterprise-grade infrastructure, and around-the-clock support”. It seamlessly integrates with social media, mailchimp and if you want something custom to add to your site, I also recommend checking out Squareplugins too.
I’ve made three sites on Squarespace now. It has an easy to use drag and drop editor. There are some great functions for collecting donations too, and with Stripe payments now being collected in New Zealand it’s an easy way to accept donation dollars (without the need for spendy onsite payment gateways).
Cost: USD $12 to $40 per month depending on your needs and e-commerce requirements (remember this includes your hosting costs too, so there is no need to pay an external host for this). If you already have a domain, you can connect this relatively easily too with their step-by-step instructions
Slack’s motto is to ‘be less busy’. It offers real-time messaging and topic channels. It’s designed with team chat in mind, and as a result it often replaces internal emails, which leads to less cluttered emails! You can share documents and ideas with each other in Slack too, it’s the perfect place to collaborate and get feedback.
Inspiring Stories make use of this to communicate between their teams which are spread across Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland and have theme specific channels for different team members to join.
Cost: Free to charities to use for as many people as you need.
Zapier is a nifty little tool that lets you easily integrate the apps that you use. It’s a tool primarily for non-technical users to connect web apps together – apps like many of the ones listed here including Xero, Gmail, Asana, Mailchimp, CRMs like Insightly and Capsule and more.
You can, for example, tell Zapier that when you receive an email to a certain account it can create a new contact in your CRM or add a task in Asana. These connections are called Zaps, and I’ve used them for various things at Do Good Jobs to automate tasks I might otherwise have to do manually. The benefit of all of this is that you don’t have to have technological knowledge or wait on third-party developers to get the integrations you need.
Cost: You get 5 free zaps and then if you’re a charity, there is a 15% discount on their pricing.
That’s it from me for now. Got any other great tech tools to add? Let me know in the comments – I am always looking for new tools to give a go!!
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