Nonprofits are always looking for products that will give them an advantage to reach their audience and accomplish their missions the best way possible. However, those tools cost money – money that cash-strapped nonprofit might not have.
This is particularly true in the digital world. There are tons of digital tools out there with tons of different features that nonprofits need. However, the costs are often prohibitively high for them.
But the great news is there are several tools out there offered free of charge to nonprofits. Here are three that every nonprofit needs.
The first one that you may not know about, and one of the largest offers out there, is Google for Nonprofits. Now, yes, that is the Google you’re familiar with. But Google for Nonprofits is a program that Google gives to nonprofits absolutely free of charge.
In this program, Google offers its G Suite program. G Suite is pretty much Gmail for corporations. This not only includes a custom email address, (i.e. [YourName]@[YourNonprofit].org.) It also includes everything else that comes with signing up for a new Gmail account, such as Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and additional Basic-level G Suite features.
This is an amazing benefit. Because with that, you, your organization and all your organization’s employees can have a custom email address with all these benefits and 30 gigabytes of Google Drive storage. This alone is a cost savings of around six bucks per person per month.
Now, in addition to this, Google also has the Google Ad Grant. Before I dive into those details, I’m sure you have seen Google Search Ads whenever you’re Googling information about a place for dinner, a new movie or practically anything. These are the ads that appear at the top or bottom of the results, that are labeled ‘Ad‘. Normally you have to pay for those. But with a Google Ad Grant, qualified nonprofits can get those ad positions for free.
In fact, Google will give your nonprofit up to $10,000 per month in in-kind advertising. This means that your nonprofit won’t likely have to pay for Google search ads since, unless you’re a large nonprofit, this will be more than you’ll ever need. So this grant combined with the G Suite offer and some other tools means that Google for Nonprofits is an amazing free service that your nonprofit should sign up for today.
Savings: $6/person/month for G Suite (Basic Plan) and up to $10,000/month in ads
Another free tool would be Slack. You may have heard Slack or seen some commercials about Slack as a communications tool. Think of it as a chat room for your workplace. In it, you can set up different groups, give different permissions, determine who can take part in particular conversations. Overall, this allows your team, your office and your nonprofit to communicate throughout the workday without having to send emails back and forth, schedule conference calls or take part in spontaneous “Do you have a moment…” interruptions that extend on for far too long.
It seems like most times, all you need is a quick yes or no answer and Slack will let you get that.
The good news is, like Google, it has a program that allows your nonprofit to be able to get its service for free. They do have a limitation and if you have more than 250 employees, you might have to apply to get a different level and that wouldn’t be completely free. However, most small to medium nonprofits are not going to get anywhere close to that 250 mark.
Savings: $8/person/month (Standard Plan)
Now, lastly, another major player is Facebook with some free offerings for nonprofits. Regretfully, unlike Google, Facebook isn’t offering free advertisements. However, Facebook has a product called Facebook Workplace. This is a great tool if you have a large or medium-sized organization or even just a small organization with 10 to 20 different employees. What it does is allows you to instantly create an intranet for your employees that everyone can log in, post information about your nonprofit, share what’s new, and any other information that you want to keep out of the general public, but still want to make sure you build a community within your team.
Since it’s built on the Facebook interface, your employees can like, react, and comment as if they were on their personal Facebook.com account. To get a peak at all the features you get, check out the “Advanced” column here.
Savings: $4/person/month (Advanced Plan)
So, in summary, these three tools are absolutely free to any qualified 501(c)3 nonprofit. If your nonprofit isn’t taking advantage of these or doesn’t think you need this right now, I would recommend you still sign up as soon as possible. Even if you don’t use them now, there’s always a chance that Google, Facebook and/or Slack will change their policies and not have these offerings in the future. Most times when they do this, they will grandfather in whoever has already signed up for the product.
My mentality (and my recommendation) is always better to have it now and not use it, then not be able to sign up for it later. So, check out these links. Sign up now. And take advantage of these free tools. They’ll help you grow your nonprofit without hurting your budget.