The digital tools charities are using in 2018

The digital tools that charities are using in 2018

At the ever excellent NFP BarCamp 2018 unconference organised by Laila Takeh and her crew, I ran a session looking at the tools which not for profits are using and loving.

We also discussed the tools at the other end of the spectrum, which people have to use rather than choose to. The idea was to try and discover tools which we’d never heard of but would be useful to our organisations.

This is the 3rd year we’ve run the session (see last year’s notes), so are starting to see some tools come in and out of fashion. Of particular note is the number of team and collaboration tools which people are using these days — although overall, there are far fewer tools than we’ve seen previously. Perhaps this could be showing a ‘maturing’ of the digital toolset which charities are using…

I’ve included notes where we got to discussing the tools (thanks to James Higgott for much of these) and they’re broadly listed in order of popularity…


  • Drupal — not seen as very user friendly with a steep learning curve
  • Craft — a more editor friendly way to manage content, with features such as live Preview whilst editing pages
  • Wordpress

Project / Task Management

  • Trello — as simple as post-its if you want it to be, or can be scaled up to run as a full project management and planning system, such as the NCVO use it.
  • Jira — designed to be a hugely powerful, development focussed system, which means it’s hard to engage with many. Less negativity than in previous years.
  • Meister Task
  • Basecamp
  • Teamwork


  • Slack — broadly well liked, although some teams commented that it can get too busy to be useful, in the same way that email often does. Other teams have fully committed though with many ditching internal email altogether in favour of Slack.
  • Microsoft Teams — almost all the benefits of Slack, but with a system that integrates with existing IT user management.
  • WhatsApp — used in teams which need to collect information and collaborate out in the real world at events, services, conferences etc
  • Confluence
  • Google Docs
  • Workplace by Facebook
  • Makerble
  • Sharepoint
  • Yammer

User feedback

  • Kobo toolbox — an online and offline survey tool that’s built to work in the most difficult of environments (for free!)
  • HotJar


  • Bear — a super simple, but powerful text editor with features such as hashtag filing systems built in.
  • Hemingway app — a tool to help analyse text for readability. Some concerns about the model which it uses to assess text against…
  • Evernote
  • Onenote
  • Simplenote


  • Lastpass — password management that just works, helping to get rid of insecure spreadsheets filled with log in details…
  • 1Password

Social Media

  • Hootsuite — strong all rounder for social media management
  • Sprout Social — liked for its easy to use interface which is simple to pick up, no matter the user’s digital experience
  • Buffer
  • Tweetdeck — overall most used for scheduling, keeping of lists, post management etc
  • TalkWalker

Design & Prototyping

  • Adobe XD — powerful adobe based prototyping tool which integrates into the rest of the creative suite
  • Canva — simple, broader graphic design package that can be used for everything from prototyping to social media graphics
  • Marvel — focussed on creating clickable prototypes for user testing
  • Balsamiq

Code Editing

Data & Analytics

Digital Fundraising / Marketing