The Nonprofit Tech Gift Guide: The Tools for Everyone on Your Team

At this point in the year, you and your team are probably buried deep in the end-of-year giving bonanza. But what about the year ahead? Chances are, you’re probably becoming acutely aware of the pain points for your current digital tools, whether it’s staying on the same page with social messaging, the limitations of email donation asks, or keeping everyone on your team in step with your side of the screen.

It’s important to remember that no tech tool will solve all of your problems. In an ideal scenario, people account for 50% of your data democracy, your processes account for 30%, and product is just 20%. Your success with any tool, from Facebook to a fully customized CMS, will depend on it being the right fit for the team members using it and the work systems already in place. That being said, here are 8 last-minute “holiday gifts” — that is, 8 tech tools that you can bring into your colleagues’ lives to make their 2019 a little bit more merry and bright.

Your #nptech gift guide, sorted: The tools to invest in to give your team some surprise and delight. Click To Tweet

Got a favorite? Tweet us at @WholeWhale — and let us know if you’re sharing it via a social media management tool!

For Your Marketing Director Who Doubles as Your Editor-in-Chief: Airtable

If you’re using a spreadsheet to map out all of your organization’s website, social, and email content but are finding that the content has become too big for this grasshopper-level nonprofit editorial calendar, then it may be time to upgrade to Airtable. This part-editorial calendar, part-project management tool offers bases (similar to workbooks) where you can host tables (spreadsheets) that cover areas like website content, Facebook posts, and email sends. You can add status updates and use the collaborative environment to stay in the loop with members of your team who run different platforms or are responsible for specific copy.

Airtable offers nonprofit discounts to NGOs that are not a religious organization, hospital or health care provider involved with health insurance or group health plans, or a private grant-making independent, or operating foundation; do not engage in political or legislative activity, attempt to influence public opinion, or promote a particular religious affiliation or doctrine in exchange for services; and do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, political affiliation or beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

For the Communications Officer Who Has SEO Keyword #Goals: Moz

If you aren’t already taking advantage of Moz’s 75% discount for nonprofits, you’re missing out on an SEO speedwagon (#sorrynotsorry). Your marketing officer working to increase organic traffic growth to your site by 20% year-over-year will be able to set up a campaign for your website that allows them to monitor its SEO health with an assist from automated dashboards, crawls, and insights. In tandem with Google Analytics, Moz is an affordable and user-friendly resource that allows you to track changes in indexing keywords, keyword positions on search engine results pages, inbound links, and competitive tracking. It’s also our favorite place to do keyword research to prioritize the next pieces to write for the web (in Campaigns, you can also track your progress on indexing for this keyword).

For the Digital Associate Who’s Become an Accidental Developer: OptinMonster

Email has an ROI of 122% compared to social media and organic traffic, but how do you grow your list? While much maligned in the early 2000s, pop-ups have made a comeback in a big way. Our favorite tool for creating these, OptinMonster boasts a terrific user experience with more than just pop-up functionalities, including in-line forms, special mobile forms, and content lockers that can be added to your website with minimal coding skills. Plus, they offer a 20% discount to nonprofits.

From the marketing director who doubles as your organization's editor-in-chief to the development associate who's become an accidental developer, these are the #nptech tools you can use. Click To Tweet

For the Social Media Manager Who Didn’t Go to Design School: Canva

No Adobe subscription fees. No graphic design courses. Just beautiful images that can be used across social media channels (and even as direct marketing initiatives like postcards). Canva’s drag-and-drop functionality means you can set up templates for recurring images — like impact quotes, fast facts, or story spotlights — that you can make in minutes versus hours. That means more time for getting engagement on those images. Plus, this gift is one that costs nothing: Canva offers its premium version free to registered nonprofits.

For the Fundraising Manager Who Wants to Go Beyond Email: Twilio

We love SMS because it’s a channel that people actually open (in 2018, a 98% open rate) and respond on more than ANY other messaging platform (a 45% response rate in 2018, compared to just 8% for email). This is in large part because it costs money to send bulk SMS/text messages ($.002-$.01 per text depending on your plan) and because the FCC is a lot more strict about SMS spam vs. email spam. If you’re looking to drive more of your users to meaningful action, Twilio is user-friendly, offers a variety of integrations, and offers grants of up to $500 for nonprofits — enough for roughly 80,000 text messages.

For the Email Marketer Who Wants to Know What Users are Doing on Your Site: Lighthouse by Whole Whale

Okay, admittedly we’re slightly biased here as we built this tool, but we also built it around a recurring question we’ve had from our clients over nearly a decade: What pages on our website are actually doing their job? With Lighthouse by Whole Whale, which acts as a handshake between your email marketing tool and your Google Analytics, we can connect email addresses to GA user IDs to see which sections of your site donors, volunteers, and other VIP segments are visiting. From there, you can do more of what works, or perhaps even troubleshoot a page that seems to be causing drop-off. You can even send a personalized email to users who go to your donation page but don’t complete the donation. The choices are endless, and while they’re all a little bit creepy, they’re creepy for good.

For the VP Who Keeps Emailing the Team for Status Updates: Asana

Keeping an eye on the big picture becomes much easier with the right project management tools. We’re partial to Asana for its user-friendliness and the color-coded project categorization options. You can set up one project around paid social advertising, one for organic social postings, one for website maintenance — and even cross-reference with projects set up for sprint numbers if you’re into Agile project management (or months if that’s more your speed). What’s especially great about this is that anyone, from your VP of Operations to your Fundraising Intern, can see who is working on what for these projects, and get a sense of their status. You can also collaborate on tasks by setting due dates or customizing forms to set priority. No more back-and-forths on ETAs clogging up your inboxes — which leaves more time to get the real tasks done. And, yes, they have a nonprofit discount.  

Best part about these #nptech gifts? No batteries required. Click To Tweet

For the Executive Director Who Wants to Get Everyone on the Same Page: Confluence

Asana is great for project management, but what about the agendas and meeting minutes that constitute a lot of your time? Atlassian’s content collaboration software, Confluence, takes your Google doc agendas to the next level. Customizable meeting notes can include action items that are assigned to members of your team, and a decision log for you to keep track of what was decided when. This is especially useful for onboarding new team members or catching up with drumbeat meetings while someone was out. Plus, you can use this as a means of never allowing a meeting to happen without an agenda again. One more reason to love Atlassian: They love nonprofits.

And the best part about all of these tools? No batteries required.