Tools of the Do Good Trade
Over the years I have stumbled across some amazing online tools that help make my work so much easier! Working out of a coworking space at the Bizdojo for many years, words like Slack, Trello boards and Zaps got bandied around, a LOT!
So what are some apps and tools you can use to help you get on with completing the big juicy mission you have to change the world? Here are my thoughts, updated in the light of COVID-19 and increasing remote work requirements, and with a few new resources I am loving right now!
These tools have helped streamline, beautify and make life easier (or just give me more time for bigger thinking and coffee breaks!)
Here are ten of my fave 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 – and do things FAST>
Even though I have design experience, 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 an expensive Adobe Suite to do it!).
Cost: Free. There are certain elements, like stock photos that you can buy from $1 or you can upgrade to their pro plan.
I can’t say how much this has revolutionised my work life! Loom is a screen recorder app you can add to your computer and quick and easily make videos for clients or teammates to work them through how to do something. I am all about the idea of teaching something once and never having to teach it again! In the past I used Quicktime to record my screen, but it took for eeeeeever for the video to compress – it was just laborious, but not now!
Loom helps you capture, and INSTANTLY share videos to communicate faster. You record and send a link to someone to watch. It’s free (for 25 of your latest videos at least, and you can also download these and store them. Or, for US$99 a year (they are offering 50% off during COVID-19 too) you can have unlimited videos.
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. In the past I used Dropbox, but migrated to Google Drive as love the ability to enable real-time collaboration on documents – and their Google doc and sheets save you having to buy Microsoft Office.
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 [email protected]). It has a host of additional features, with plenty of great add-ons and integrations.
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 a few years. It’s been invaluable. I work on a number of different projects – to the point where I have four Mailchimp and three Xero 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 ever 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 me 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 e.g this is really useful in setting up a series of welcome emails to new donors etc.
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. Mailchimp 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-five unicorns 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.
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 NZ 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 five websites sites on Squarespace now. It has an easy to use drag and drop editor. There are some great functions for collecting donations too such as through Stripe and Paypal (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 – win!! You can share documents and ideas with each other in Slack too across specific channels e.g Fundraising, Admin, Strategy, Random-stuff etc. It’s the perfect place to collaborate and get feedback when working remote or in the office!
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.
If you do need tech support, I highly recommend reaching out to the gurus at Optimi.co.nz. They live and breath zaps!
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!!