Top free tools all campaigns and non-profits should use

Campaign Startup
June 13, 2017

Superheroes have their tools and you need some too!

Oliver Queen has his Arrows; Thor his hammer; and Wonder Woman her Lasso of Truth. Here are FundHero’s favorite (mostly) free tools that all non-profits and political campaigns should use.

Graphic Design

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, make sure your social media and online campaigns say more than “I am groot.” Since we all can’t have full-blown ad agencies working for us, Canva and Adobe Spark are must use tools for any small campaign or non-profit.

  • Canva: A free tool, with hundreds of basic templates you can use for anything from a social media post to an event flyer or website header.
  • Adobe Spark: Similar to Canva, Adobe Spark will help you create everything from a basic image to a storyboard website. We like it because it’s a little more modern and has a slightly better interface than Canva, but it requires you to share from the platform to remove the watermark. It also has less general templates, but still a great tool.
  • Pablo by Buffer: Pably by buffer is a simple tool where you can search for images and add simple text to them. It’s a straightforward and simple tool that gets the job done.

Credit Card Processing

Be wary of crowdfunding platforms that charge as much as 8% – 10% to process credit cards for your newly founded campaign or nonprofit (looking at you GoFundMe). Here are our recommendations for easy to use, affordable credit card processing options that don’t require a merchant account.

  • Stripe: Super fast, incredibly simple, and easy setup makes Stripe one of our favorite credit card processing tools on the web (that’s probably why it’s what FundHero uses). The cost is low and it seamlessly integrates with other great products.
  • Click & Pledge: Click & Pledge is a simple processor for non-profits. Their fees are reasonable (around 3.75%+$0.30/transaction) and they can be set up to deposit into your bank account or mail you a check.
  • FundHero: We might be a little biased towards this product. If all you are searching for is a credit card processor, FundHero is a great tool. Quickly connect to your bank account and begin immediately receiving donations. Plus, it has a few other neat features.

Event Tracking Systems

One of our founders always tells the story of the very first fundraiser he ever planned.

He checked all the boxes: had the space reserved, bought the food and drinks, had, the program outlined… but not a single person showed up. Don’t let this happen to you! Track your RSVP list closely, or better yet, set up a digital tool to do it for you.

  • EventBrite: EventBrite is a preferred tool for veteran event organizers. Set up your event, email and track attendees, and sell tickets and sponsorships through the system without a merchant account.
  • Evite: Although it lacks many of the features of EventBrite, Evite is an easy to use and recognizable service for organizing and event. The biggest downside are  the ads that appear in your emails when using a free account.

Website

Although you may be getting inundated with offers to make you a website, trust us, you don’t need to pay hundreds or thousands to get one done. Here are two tools for start-up campaigns and nonprofits that are easy to use and can make you a professional, polished website without breaking the bank.

  • SquareSpace: Squarespace is growing faster than a speeding bullet, and there is a reason. The platform is simple to use and integrates with other great products (like Stripe and MailChimp) without any programming required. Although there is a small monthly fee to make your site live, the platform is definitely worth a look at if you’re in need of a website.
  • Wix: Like Squarespace, Wix has easy to use templates and ties into other services. While the platform is more flexible than Squarespace, the sites are not necessarily mobile friendly. Unlike Squarespace though, there is a free website option.

Email Systems

Every Jedi needs a lightsaber and you need an email marketing system to communicate with your donors, supporters, stakeholders. Our recommendation is MailChimp.

  • MailChimp: MailChimp is by far the easiest and quickest free email service out there. Drag and drop templates, seamless uploading and form creation, and the ability to segment and target your list make MailChimp a great tool for small to mid-sized organizations. The best part?  It grows as you do, so no need to worry about an expiring free trial.
Matt Lyon
Matt’s experience includes overseeing up to fourteen staff members, administering budgets exceeding $1.1 million annually, directing million dollar paid media programs, raising over $5 million for various causes and organizations, and developing and implementing communications strategies that led to dozens of stories in local and national outlets, including the New York Times and Washington Post.

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