Managing teams and projects is hard – especially on a tight budget. Fortunately, there are lots of free tech tools for charities which can help boost productivity, save time, and allow charities to focus on the mission.
Whether you’re communicating with teams working across multiple locations, organising the next charity fundraiser, or trying to find a date for the next board meeting, trialling some of the latest efficiency tools for charities can help, especially when they’re entirely free or offer free basic options.
Slack is an essential productivity tool to help charities of all sizes streamline their communication with staff, volunteers, and external teams. The messaging app allows teams to communicate in a quick, informal manner.
Slack delivers a service tailored for the business environment. Conversations can be direct or arranged around teams or projects, documents can be shared, and users can be tagged on items.
Slack also integrates with a number of other tools, such as Google Calendar, Outlook, and Trello. Slack offers a free plan and two paid plans that are more feature-rich and offer bigger storage size. Slack for Nonprofits offers free or discounted subscription upgrades for eligible organisations.
Helping charities project manage, Trello enables teams to organise projects in a simple, easy-to-use platform. Charity projects are organised on to ‘Boards’, which show their current in a post-it note format.
Teams can filter and prioritise tasks on each board and it can be used in endless different ways – the Trello blog offers lots of interesting ideas. Trello also allows users to add checklists within tasks, assign ownership, set deadlines and attach relevant documents.
Owners can tag team members to tasks so they can track progress and add comments when relevant, helping keep content logged in a single place relevant to that task.
Trello is mainly free, but there are paid plans. Charities could be eligible for a 75% discount on Trello Business Class and Enterprise.
Like Trello, Asana allows users to set-up and manage projects and tasks. Slightly more complex than Trello, Asana has several different view options such as lists and calendar view, and also provides better reporting features. Projects management for charities can be mapped into a Timeline (similar to a traditional Gannt Chart) to help visualise how projects fit together and track progress over time.
Common processes can be set-up as templates so projects can be repeated in a consistent way each time, making the management of multiple projects more efficient. The free version of Asana is available for organisations of up to 15 people. For larger organisatons, eligible nonprofits can receive a 50% discount on Asana Premium or Asana Business.
Doodle is a free scheduling app (with a paid ad-free option) that allows charities to coordinate with team members to find the best date and time to meet-up, removing the need to scroll through endless email chains and juggle multiple agendas in order to find a slot that works for all.
Organising the next charity meeting with Doodle is simple. The organiser can select the dates/times that work and then send the link to invitees. Importantly for recipients, there is no need to download anything in order to respond. Doodle records everyone’s availability, helping to choose the best date for the meeting.
Docusign is a web-based service that allows users to send documents for electronic signature. It sends links to signers, who can then add signatures from almot any Internet-enabled device. Users can upload Word, PDF, and other types of documents, either from your computer or from file-sharing sites like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.
Charities can use the service for grant applications, membership renewels, corporate sponsorship contracts, and much more. It can also be used for the purposes of human resources, volunteer management, procurement, and finance.
Docusign offers a free trial and Charity Digital offers discounted options.