10 Services Your Nonprofit* Should Be Utilizing (alternatively, over $100,000 in free nonprofit services per year)

Lawrence Ham
Jun 29, 2016 · 5 min read

*in most cases, a recognized U.S. 501(c)(3)

After about a decade of startups + probono work advising and launching dozens of nonprofits, this is all I have for you. Underwhelming. Well, enjoy.

Nonprofits are startups or SMBs, and as such, should prioritize utilizing services that save or maximize money, resources + productivity alongside some serious program ROI.

For journalizing in-kind contributions, see here.

  1. Subsidized Web-hosting (annual savings: $100+)

I hope you’re not paying for your domain + hosting, whether you’re bootstrapping or donor-funded. DreamHost provides one shared hosting account as well as one free domain. I’d list a few others, but I just can’t stand them considering the road to hell is already abundantly paved with good intentions and services.

2. Email, Google Voice, Apps, Azure, AdWords, et al

If you’re on GoDaddy or your hosting email, there’s a chance that your IT ‘professional’ is your Craigslist date from last week and your toes aren’t sticking out of a lazy shallow grave. Both Google and Microsoft provide FAR MORE than just email hosting, btw (that’s ‘by the way,’ in case you’ve been under a rock for the last 20 years and use Yahoo Mail). Google has an epic AdWords Grant that comes out to over $100,000 in free advertising per year and Microsoft has essentially your full suite of Microsoft goodies that you probably pay retail for.

3. CRM

Donors are customers. Donors are customers. Donors are customers. Donors are customers.

Get the point? Donors are customers, except the only thing your customers get is a warm fuzzy feeling and a lousy tax deduction. That probably means you should be far more diligent about managing your customer relations than most others, logically speaking. Not to mention, you may have clients on the program or service provisioning front. Don’t forget that they’re your customers as well.

4. Storage

Alright, it’s 2016. If you’re not stressing about HIPAA, you should be telecommuting on Fridays (and other days that end in ‘y’) — especially if you’re the Federal Association of Responsible Telecommuting (FART) or the Foundation for the Advancement of Reducing Traffic (FART) — with all of your documents and files accessible from a succulent decked coffee shop table of choice via nearest internet connection. Need a laptop and 4G hotspot? See #6. Refer to #5 for 24/7 connectivity with your cadre of social entrepreneurs from said coffee shop via aforementioned laptop + 4G hotspot. For alternatives, complements, or supplements, there’s Google Drive, Dropbox, and a few others.

5. Communication

Companies with engaged employees can outperform those without by up to 3x. 300%! 200% increase! How else can I get you excited?!?

A survey from the Computing Technology Industry Association indicated poor communication by 28% of respondents as the primary cause of failing to deliver a project on time.

Companies with highly effective communication practices have yielded 47% higher returns.

[insert your own impact of communication on productivity statistic here]

6. Software + Hardware

TechSoup receives hundreds of donated products and services from various companies including Adobe, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Mobile Beacon, Quickbooks, Sage, Symantec, and Western Digital, so you could probably be saving hundreds if not thousands in software, cloud, and hardware.

7. Email Blasts

Email still boasts a 4400% ROI so you should probably be on that like flies on poop. Witty content and email lists not included.

8. PM

In the delusional words of Walt Disney, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal.” Or in the words of Cornelius Fitchner, “Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal.”

Project management is the key to planning + execution and Asana is definitely one of the most powerful, given the extent of features and integrations (incl Slack — see #5). Clarity and perspective are on you as a la Peter Drucker: “Nothing is less productive than to make efficient what should not be done at all.”

9. Social Media Conversion

Maybe you couldn’t afford a CMO or a VP of Marketing or you bribe your Director of Social Media and Digital, who entirely by coincidence happens to be your 10 year-old niece, with GoldieBlox toys and Skittles. Well, prepare to up your call-to-action game with Sniply.

Sniply allows you to place custom calls to action (CTA) over most webpages. What this means is that you can go grabbing relevant articles and content (or even your own content) — rather than spending the money to create them — and create custom links that generate your little blurb over the bottom.

If eyes are the windows to the soul, CTAs are the doors to customer or donor conversion. Welcome to the content marketing game, by a hair.

10. Social Media Management

So you created all your links using Sniply. You should have a digital strategy in which all these are coordinated across various (social media) channels. Queue all of your content up for the next year with Buffer or Hootsuite and go on vacation while pretending to be at a coffee shop.

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