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The Best Tools Helping Charities And Not For Profits Increase Online Engagement

Jay Whitelock

The philosophy behind operating nonprofits isn’t complicated: every dollar matters. You want to do anything you can to raise awareness for your cause, and fortunately, there are numerous tools available to help you.

Remember the ice bucket challenge? The ALS Association managed to raise more than $100 million in less than a month as people all over the world soaked themselves with frigid water and challenged their friends to do the same. This challenge is a perfect example of the ripple effect nonprofits can achieve by taking advantage of social media. It’s essential to understand these options because driving awareness and fundraising are the heart and soul of a nonprofit’s success. Just like all other organisations, nonprofits are becoming more and more knowledgeable about using technology to make an impact.

What Challenges Do Charities Face Online?

Nonprofits have some unique problems that can be tricky to solve. A few of these issues include:

  • Donor retention: Many people donate once and then not again. One of the reasons for this is that nonprofits don’t communicate in ways that are effective for donor engagement. It’s essential to reach out to donors to show them the impact made using their contribution.
  • Limited funds: Nonprofit organisations deal with continual challenges in fundraising. The cost of their organisational activities may be more than the sources of funds they do have because funds raised via foundations are restricted and grants can be competitive. To access more unrestricted funds takes community involvement, and this is a significant challenge. Grant programs such as Google Ad Grants can be an absolute lifesaver for a tight bottom here.
  • Sustainability: A nonprofit may have a great vision, but that doesn’t mean the organisation will have staying power. It’s important to recognize that everyone involved in a nonprofit is responsible for sales, so you must attract and retain the people who truly represent the organisation’s values.
  • Limited technological skills and resources: Nonprofits often have trouble performing activities not directly related to their cause. For instance, a not for profit that focuses on Poverty Alleviation may not have the knowledge they need to use lead generation tools such as CRM. Furthermore, hiring a professional to cover these tasks may be prohibitively expensive.

Goals of Nonprofits

Nonprofits have a mission and vision. For instance, a nonprofit may have the vision of eliminating hunger and poverty from the area; their mission may be taking steps to do the same in a smaller local suburb or city in the next three years. Nonprofits set objectives with their mission and vision in mind, such as raising awareness about the cause and fundraising to facilitate their planned initiatives.

Using Digital Tools to Solve Real Problems

Given the considerable challenges nonprofits face, it’s not surprising that most of them will need assistance from the right software to reach their goals. The issue is that tools for nonprofits must typically be both affordable and easy to use. Below are some of the tools nonprofits can use to help them create the digital presence they need.

Content Creation Tools

  • Canva: Canva is a great tool that allows you to design posters and banners with pre-designed templates that you can edit easily and convert into the powerful signs you need. Everything you need is in the browser and making beautiful looking images is a breeze.
  • Piktochart: Infographics are a highly effective way to raise awareness about your cause. You can use Piktochart to create infographics that people can easily understand at a glance. Infographics are quick and easy to consume, and they get the point across, which is why they've become so important to charities and not-for-ptofits where you only have the donors attention for half a minute before they're looking somewhere else. Piktochart gives you a choice of templates you can use to create meaningful infographics that help you garner support.
  • Rocketium: Video is rapidly gaining popularity and becoming the most-shared content on the web. Rocketium makes it easy for you to create good videos without a lot of technical knowledge and a many thousand dollar camera.

Website Building Tools

  • WordPress: A free, open-source CMS, WordPress allows you to build responsive websites for your nonprofit. The user-friendly interface and editable pre-designed themes make it simple even for users without a lot of technical knowledge.
  • Squarespace: Squarespace is a fantastic platform for nonprofits because it offers various templates and tools that can help you achieve your organisational objectives. Beautiful, user-friendly blogs plus a built-in donation function makes this an affordable and effective solution.
  • Wix: Like WordPress, Wix is a CMS platform with increasing popularity. Wix includes a simple drag-and-drop interface that’s easy to use for website designing. Wix offers hundreds of design templates and handles currency conversion for you, making it a good option for just about anyone, even when they lack experience building websites.
  • Weebly: Weebly has tens of millions of users around the world. With easy drag-and-drop features and design templates you can edit, Weebly allows you to communicate with your audience better for a low monthly fee. You’ll also enjoy a custom domain and unlimited storage.

Social Media

Social media is an extremely powerful tool for getting your content shared with as many people as possible. You can post visual content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more to communicate with your audience quickly and efficiently, increasing awareness of your cause and encouraging donations.

  • Buffer: This is a great tool that is used worldwide by not only marketing professionals in not for profit businesses but industry wide to schedule, plan and post content across multiple social networks. This turns what can be quite a chaotic process of posting the same thing on different channels (specially with the different image formatting requirements of each!) into a breeze.

Email Marketing

Email marketing can be an effective tool for nonprofit campaigns. Using email marketing can help your organisation build its volunteer base and raise funds. You can use tools such as MailChimp, SendGrid, and GetResponse to assist you in designing, scheduling, and distributing professional emails to your contact list.

Payment Processing Tools

The ability to contribute to nonprofits online means that more people choose this route for its ease and convenience. Online donations are constantly growing because it saves time and effort for the contributor. Adding a “donate” button on every page of your website allows people to send their contribution when and how they like. Make sure to secure the transaction and streamline the checkout process. Three helpful tools are RazorPay, Authorize.net, and PayUMoney. All these solutions accept major credit and debit cards and are secure and user-friendly.

In today’s digital world, having an online presence is a critical way for nonprofits to reach out to the community. No one single tool can help your organisation do everything, as nonprofits have a unique set of problems. Identifying of not only the problem, but also the solution can take you closer to achieving your objectives.


Psst! Have you heard of Google's Ad Grant Program?

Have you heard of Google's Ad Grant Program? Essentially, Google is supporting qualifying charity and not for profit organisations with a $10,000 USD (~$16,000 AUD!) monthly budget for their Google AdWords platform. Enabling smaller organisations who would normally struggle to be heard a chance to kickstart their online marketing and increase brand awareness, donor engagement and volunteer numbers without spending a cent!

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