Accessible Learning: 6 Inexpensive Media Training Tools for Nonprofits

We live in a multimedia age, one in which a variety of content like video, graphics, photography and even podcasts can help you grow your brand and send a message. But, do you need an art degree to create engaging content? Of course not. There are dozens of inexpensive and easy-to-use content creation tools out there, at every price point. Here are our six favorite media training tools that can turn any employee into a polished content creator:

1. Canva 

 

Canva is a popular graphic design tool (even for nonprofits!) that’s perfect for creating posters, infographics, newsletters and more. And better yet? It’s free and easy to use.

Canva provides an array of tutorials as part of their “Design School,” which is a great way to learn the platform and optimize the way you use it. 

Canva’s Design School tutorial, Designing, goes even further. This 33-part series only takes an hour or two to complete, but breaks down aesthetic choices from “choosing the right front” to “color relationships.” In this way, Canva and the Canva Design School can elevate your graphics as well as your creative eye.

Price: FREE

 

2. Powerpoint 

 

Okay, hear us out: We love Microsoft Powerpoint

Most of us are familiar with creating slide presentations, whether we use Google Slides, Keynote, or Powerpoint itself. 

What sets Microsoft Powerpoint apart, however, is the media training opportunity offered via the lesser-known Design Ideas feature. Accessible via Design > Design Ideas, this tool analyzes the contents of your slide and suggests new ways to format it, transforming your mess of photos and text into a clean, professional-looking slide with the click of a button. 

Price: $8.25/month (for a Microsoft Office 365 Business subscription)

 

3. Powtoon 

 

Powtoon is an inexpensive online tool for creating animated explainer videos and presentations. It’s perfect for turning your listicle into a 2-minute movie or visually breaking down an important topic for your audience (you can check out how we use it for our own Whole Whale TV channel). 

Powtoon offers media training in the form of nine tutorials, part of the Powtoon Quickstart Guide. The entire platform is explained in under 6 minutes, meaning even the most novice animator can Powtoon.

The three-part “How To” series is especially impressive. These videos go beyond the Powtoon platform to instruct on best scriptwriting practices and ways to record a voice-over for your animated video.

Price: $19/month (and up)

 

4. WeVideo

 

WeVideo is a basic video-editing tool that doesn’t require years of experience and hours of media training to understand. Use it to edit footage (your own or WeVideo’s royalty-free stock options), add music/sound effects, and play with lower thirds and motion titles. Quickly change the format to accommodate an Instagram Story, and create templates that your team can use in the future. 

WeVideo does offer WeVideo Academy, but we’d recommend checking out YouTuber Justin Brown’s Step-by-Step WeVideo Tutorial instead, which better breaks down everything you need to know about the platform in under 30 minutes.

Price: $5/month (and up)

NOTE: Justin Brown also offers a great tutorial on Filming with [the] iPhone. He guides you through all equipment and considerations one needs to produce a professional-looking video without professional equipment. Check it out!

 

5. Audacity 

 

Looking to elevate the quality of your voice-over, or even start your own podcast? Audacity lets you do it…without an audio engineering degree. 

Audacity is a free tool that lets you record audio right into the platform, cut it up, add music and even reduce the background noise. This tool is slightly more sophisticated, and thus complex. However, given a little time and a little patience, it’s an incredibly accessible and powerful piece of software. 

There are tons of Audacity tutorials online, primarily on YouTube, but we like Kyle Stedman’s Audacity Basics media training tutorial the most. Although it was made in 2015, it breaks down everything from recording audio to adjusting levels to exporting the track…in 13 minutes flat.

Price: FREE

 

6. LinkedIn Learning

 

Previously known as Lynda.com, Linkedin Learning is available to anyone with a Linkedin Premium account. With a subscription, you’re able to find days-worth of media training materials alongside professional development resources on just about any topic in the business, creative, and technology arenas.

Here are some multimedia courses we’ve found helpful: 

Producing Podcasts (1h 42m): Learn everything from podcast planning, to editing with Audacity, to podcast distribution. 

Online Video with iPhone (1h 35m): Break down the best practices for shooting and editing on your iPhone (who needs fancy camera gear!).

Creativity (3h 28m): Learn how to tap into your creative potential. 

Adobe Lightroom 101 (4h 42m): Edit still photographs like a pro. 

 

You can find extensive training on all Adobe Creative Cloud software, from Adobe Photoshop to Adobe Premiere, on Linkedin Learning.  

Price: $30/month

 

Media Training You Can Manage

Content creation is for everyone. Media training does not need to cost a fortune. Check out Whole Whale TV and the Whole Whale Podcast to see how we utilize the tools above in our own media endeavors. And start creating!