Free and discounted resources for charities
We know that charities do important work but often on shoe-string budgets. If charities are doing some of the most important work in society, then surely they should have access to the best technology and resources for free or an affordable price? We’ve scoured the internet to find you the best, free or discounted resources to help you succeed. If we’ve missed any, please tweet us @Lightful so we can add them to the list!
Salesforce – Salesforce for nonprofits is a CRM that offers 10 free subscriptions to charities as well as discounts on additional subscriptions, products, and services from Salesforce.
WordPress – if your charity is really small and can’t afford a website, then build one yourself with WordPress. Whilst it’s completely free, we do suggest that you pay for a domain name. Note that WordPress.com is free but if you think you may need more functionality as some stage, then we suggest going with WordPress.org which is self-hosted. It does mean having to pay a hosting company but this can cost less than £5 per month.
We recommend reading this 5 Minute Guide to WordPress for Charities & Nonprofits by Irish Charity Lab to help get you started.
Alternatively, you can use WordPress as a blog for your charity. Does your charity really need a blog? This article will help you decide.
MMailChimp- easily design and create professional, mobile optimised emails for your organisation, for free, through MailChimp. You can send up to 12,000 emails per month and have a maximum of 2,000 email subscribers to qualify for the free version. If you need more than this, apply for a nonprofit discount.
Google Grants – did you know that Google offers free ad grants to nonprofits to help you reach more people and drive traffic to your website? Well ,they do and here’s where to apply. There are terms and conditions so be sure to read this post from Platypus Digital to ensure you comply with the new Google Grants changes.
Google G-Suite – charities can get access to G-Suite for free. What is G-Suite? It’s a host of tools such as creating a calendar that everyone in your organisation can access, meeting or webinar functionality via Hangouts, the ability to create forms using Form Builder and more.
Slack – a digital workspace where you can create public and private channels, collaborate and upload images and files to get work done. It’s a very versatile tool and there’s an App for your phone so you can use it on the move. Slack is free to use up to a certain amount of users but Slack for Nonprofits offers charities a huge discount if you’re too big for the free version.
Trello – Trello is a really easy to use project management tool that allows you to create boards, manage tasks and assign tasks to team members. It’s free to use but if your nonprofit needs to upgrade to the Business Class pricing plan, you can request a charity discount through their customer support.
Workplace by Facebook – described as ‘more than a collaboration tool’, Workplace by Facebook is free for charities and nonprofits. It’s similar to Facebook in look, usability and even features but it’s for organisations to use to brainstorm, create teams to work on projects, share relevant news and much more.
Facebook for Nonprofits – want to learn how to use Facebook effectively for your charity? Facebook for Nonprofits has a whole host of information, tips and resources.
Lightful – we truly believe that nonprofits do the most important work so should have access to the best technology, that’s why we will always have a free plan. We’re a social media management tool where you can plan campaigns through Storybuilder, plan your content using our calendar, access hundreds of thousands of free images to add to your posts, analyse your efforts through our analytics feature and more. And Lightful is designed specifically for charities, nonprofits and social enterprises so that you can reach more people and raise more money for your cause.
YouTube Nonprofit Programme – if your charity creates videos then you’ll want to sign up to YouTube’s Nonprofit programme. By enrolling, you’ll be able to add donation cards to your videos, link directly to your website from your videos, optimise your content and much more.
Facebook groups – there are a number of sector-related Facebook groups. Here are some that we recommend:
Canva – Canva is a free design tool that’s easy to use and comes with an in-built image library. They also have preset templates for everything from Facebook cover images to flyers. Charities can apply for Canva for Nonprofits which gives them free access to Canva for Work – a paid version. Having this version allows you to upload your logo, save your brand colours and fonts so that every time you create a design, it’ll be on-brand.
Whilst it’s always best to use your own, authentic images we know it’s not always possible. If you’re using Canva, they have a whole host of free images and illustrations for you to use or some that cost only $1. Below are some image websites we recommend as they have high-quality images that you can use as you wish and you don’t need to credit the photographer. And if you’re a Lightful user, we have hundreds of thousands of free images that you can use in your social media posts.
BRIDGE by Lightful – A comprehensive and collaborative 12-month programme to equip charities with the digital skills and capabilities they need to become more resilient organisations with more impact.
Code Academy – want to learn how to code and build widgets or other cools things for your website? Or perhaps something on your website keeps breaking? Learn to code with Code Academy, online, for free.
Media Trust – need to find skilled volunteers to help you with PR, media or any other communications? Find them through Media Trust, which is a charity itself.
Did we miss any free resources or discounted ones that you use and find valuable? Tweet us @Lightful and we’ll be sure to add them.
We talked to Chakara Wheeler from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint to find out more about her work and her experience being part of the BRIDGE programme.
We talked to the Hope and Dreams Initiative, an organisation with a mission to educate, empower and enable young people from under-served communities in Nigeria to find out more about their work and how they benefit from our BRIDGE programme.
One of the primary goals of Lightful's BRIDGE programme is to help small and grassroots nonprofits raise more funds through digital channels. Thanks to the tools and support we provide, participants' confidence in their digital skills grows dramatically. We also help them practice their new-found skills by running campaigns around key milestones, like Giving Tuesday, which provide real-world opportunities to test, learn and improve further.
Nonprofits had to adjust during COVID-19 in the way they deliver services, communicate with their stakeholders and their own teams.
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