Free Nonprofit Software: 15 Helpful Tools

Free software helps a nonprofit save money and be efficient. You can use these free tools to do tasks like sending more emails, organize donors, build a website, and manage events. This does not include online fundraising platforms.

1. Wave: Free Accounting Software

Wave is an accounting, invoicing, and receipt tracking software. Its free plan includes bank and credit card connections, unlimited income and expense tracking, and unlimited receipt scanning with Android and iOS apps. Wave’s invoices have professional templates you can customize based on your nonprofit needs. The accounting software is cloud-based, so you can access it on any device with internet access.

With its free software, Wave is missing payroll abilities. For an additional monthly cost, you can do employee tasks like manage vacation time, benefit calculations, and pay your employees.

2. Square: Free Point-of-sale Software for Small Nonprofits

Square is a free point-of-sales software (POS). You can use square as a nonprofit to process payments and collect donor information. When you sign up for a new Square account you receive a free magstripe reader. Included with the Square software is analytics and reporting, inventory management, and a basic customer relationship (CRM) system. You can collect and track your donations and view the payment details by visiting Transactions in your Square Dashboard.

The cost for Square comes when you process a payment. For every swipe, Square charges 2.75%. So, for every $100 paid from customers, you have $97.25 deposited in your bank account. The 2.75% rate is competitive with other payment processors.

3. Mailchimp: Free Email Marketing Software

Mailchimp is a web-based email marketing software. You need email marketing software, in addition to using an email provider like Gmail, so you can send an email out to hundreds or thousands of donors, volunteers, and clients at once. Additionally, you can use Mailchimp to tag subscribers based on certain behaviors like those who donate and send emails to targeted lists. This is helpful when you want to send a specific message to a designated group.

For example, if you operate a youth center, you can tag subscribers as parents. This will allow you to send a targeted email reminding them about a specific program or event. As a general marketing rule, the more targeted an email is, the more likely a recipient will open and respond to it.

Mailchimp is free for up to 2,000 contacts and 12,000 emails per month. As your mailing list and fundraising revenue grow, they offer a nonprofit discount of 15% on their paid subscription.

4. Zoom: Free Video Conferencing Software

Zoom is a cloud-based platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. Its free software provides unlimited one-to-one meetings. Group video conferences are limited to 40 minutes and 100 participants, and all video calls are fully secured with SSL and AES 256-bit encryption.

During the pandemic, Zoom is an important tool for one-to-one meetings with donors or potential donors. Nonprofits can upgrade to Zoom Pro for $65 through techsoup.org.

5. Homebase: Free Employee Scheduling Software

Homebase is a software that helps you manage appointments or shift scheduling for your nonprofit. The free version of Homebase is for one location and an unlimited number of employees. It includes features like scheduling, timesheets, a time clock, reporting, and the mobile app.

What the free version is missing mobile GPS clock-in. If you have off-site employees, and you want to use the GPS clock-in to confirm their location, you need to pay an additional cost.

6. Canva Pro: Free Graphic Design Software

Canva is a free tool that helps you design graphic images such as logos, posters, flyers, and social media photos. Canva has preset sizes for social media images like the Facebook banner and YouTube thumbnail. One great part of Canva is its free educational tools. You can enroll in its free online design school to watch tutorials on color palettes, creating animated GIFs, and designing Instagram Highlights.

Canva Pro is free for nonprofits. This allows nonprofits access to over 400,000 free photos, templates, and illustrations; nonprofits can also use branding features with the ability to upload custom fonts and color palettes; and access to downloadable designs with transparent backgrounds.

7. Google Docs: Free Document and File Storage

Google Docs is part of a suite of free cloud-based tools provided by Google. With Google Docs, you can create word processing documents and share them with team members. The team members can edit the documents at the same time. All the writing and edits are saved in real-time. Google Docs is a great free alternative to Microsoft Word. A downside of the free version of Google Doc is its storage is capped at 15GB.

Many nonprofits struggle with figuring out how to share documents, photos, and videos with co-workers or remote workers. Something unique about Google Docs is the ability to upload photos and share a link with whoever needs to download the photos. This saves time because you don’t have to share the photos from a physical device like a USB flash drive. Additionally, your nonprofit documents, photos, and videos will never get lost or misplaced because they are stored in the cloud.

Nonprofits can also apply for G Suite for Nonprofits which will give them unlimited Gmail accounts that end in @yourdomain.com, vs @gmail.com, and 30GB of space (up from 15 in personal accounts) for Drive documents and email hosting.

8. Microsoft: Free Operating System & Software License

Microsoft offers discounted and free offers for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 which include services like Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneDrive, and Teams for nonprofits. Smaller organizations get Office 365 Business Essentials or Microsoft 365 Business. Microsoft 365 Business is now available for free for nonprofits. Larger organizations get Office 365 E1.

9. Bloomerang: Free Donor Management Software

Bloomerang donor management software system helps nonprofits track and manage their relationships with donors, volunteers, staff, board members, sponsors, prospects, and any other groups of constituents that are important to your organization. Bloomerang is a cloud-based system and allows for unlimited users. Bloomerang also integrates with Mailchimp so there’s no need for your “email person” to learn a new system. Plus, Bloomerang will keep track of emails sent to your donors via Mailchimp!

Bloomerang Lite is free for nonprofits. This includes accounts for up to 250 records, up to $100k in annual revenue, unlimited users, free email/chat support, free access to Bloomerang Academy, and unlimited online giving pages/forms.

10. Hootsuite: Free Social Media Management

Hootsuite is a social media management platform, which is where you can plan social media content in advance of posting. Manage posts and interact with comments from social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Hootsuite’s free plan is limited to one user, three social media profiles, and 30 scheduled posts. However, that is plenty of in-advance content for the average nonprofit. Once you see results, you can upgrade to the professional plan with unlimited scheduling. They offer a nonprofit discount of up to 50% through Hootgiving.

Something unique about Hootsuite is its mobile app. If you’re away from your computer, you can still schedule social media posts in advance through your phone. You can also reply to comments on any social platform and assign inbound messages to team members. People are becoming more and more comfortable asking questions through social media instead of a website, so you need to be prepared to answer questions quickly from social channels.

11. WordPress.com: Free Website & Blog Builder

WordPress.com is a free website builder and content management system. This is different from WordPress.org, which is a more complicated (and robust) website platform. WordPress.com is a great free option for nonprofits on a budget. If you start on the website builder, you can eventually transition your content to WordPress.org. With its free option, WordPress.com offers 3 gigabytes (GB) of storage, which is more than enough for the average nonprofit.

Free hosting (space on a server where your website information is stored) is included with WordPress.com. The only required cost is purchasing a domain name, which is the www.(yournonprofitname).com or your web address, and costs around $12 a year. You also have to pay for hosting which costs around $3.95/month.

12. Trello: Free Visual Project Management Software

Trello is a Kanban-style project management solution, which focuses on a balance of workload. You can use it to organize several aspects of your nonprofit such as projects and to-do lists. You’re able to add due dates to Trello’s individual cards to keep on top of deadlines. The software can be used on the computer, Apple, and Android devices. Nonprofits can upgrade to Trello Business Class and Enterprise and get a 75% discount!

13. Hunter: Free Email Address Finder

Hunter is a software that searches for emails listed on a particular website. This tool saves you time by not having to search the website looking for available email addresses, which are sometimes hidden. When searching for emails, you can filter by the type of email, for example, “contact@ …”

Additionally, you can search by a person’s name, which can be a huge time saver if thousands of emails are available on the company’s website. Hunter’s features benefit anyone in public relations or resource development who needs to get in contact with a specific person.

Something unique Hunter provides is the most common email structure the company uses. This helps you accurately guess an email address that isn’t publicly available. For example, Hunter will say “{first}@company.com” to indicate most emails at this company are simply the person’s first name. When Hunter does provide an email address, it indicates if the email is verified with a green check badge so you can email the recipient with confidence.

14. SurveyMonkey: Free Online Surveys

Before rolling out a new program, service, or feature, it’s common for nonprofit to survey their donors, volunteers, and recipients to get feedback. SurveyMonkey provides free online surveys that you can customize and send to stakeholders. Its free plan is limited to 10 questions or elements per survey and is limited to 100 responses. This is still a great option for a startup to get feedback from early donors, volunteers, and recipients on their experience using its services or soliciting advice. Nonprofits can get 25% off the price of a subscription if they choose to upgrade.

Surveys on SurveyMonkey come fully customizable. You can also choose from templated surveys like customer satisfaction, event surveys, job satisfaction, and employee engagement.

15. Pingboard: Free Org Chart Software

Pingboard is an interactive cloud-based organizational chart. What separates it from Visio, PowerPoint, or a PDF org chart is that the Pingboard org chart is updated live. The free version is for one user and up to 50 employees can be added. They also have a nonprofit template available. Pingboard’s free version allows you to print your org chart, create images for presentations, and embed it on your website. They also offer a 20% discount for all nonprofits and a 100% discount for US-based nonprofits whose primary focus is working toward social justice or equality for underrepresented groups.

Free software is a great way to save money and be more productive in your nonprofit. WordPress.com is a no-cost option to create a website. Wave can be used to do basic accounting for free. You can use Mailchimp to send emails to hundreds of donors at no-cost. The above free tools are a low-risk test for your nonprofit. If you like them, keep them and possibly expand their features with a paid version. If you don’t like them, stop using the software with no-added costs to your nonprofit.

I hope this helps. Comments are welcomed. Sharing is Caring.

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