Free (or Almost Free) Stuff for Nonprofits
Halloween was once tied to farming, marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. As we look toward the end of the year, we wanted to update our “Free Stuff for Nonprofits” list to help you finish last-minute projects. Not surprisingly, because nonprofits are so focused on serving clients, many of the projects we set aside focus on operational improvements — like researching donor databases or taking courses to fulfill professional development requirements. At Social Impact Architects, we know devoting time to building a high-performance organization helps nonprofits better serve clients. With that in mind, we wanted to help you check items off your list with these free or discounted resources great corporate citizens have made available for nonprofits:
Software & Applications — TechSoup, Microsoft, and the Salesforce Foundation donate an array of software and applications to nonprofit organizations, including operating systems, office suites, donor management, project management and accounting software. For example, TechSoup Stock helps nonprofits access donated and discounted technology products generously provided by corporate and nonprofit technology partners.
Website Tools — Wix is an easy-to-use website design tool that allows users to create professional-looking websites quickly and inexpensively. They even have a free option. You can also easily compare the top nonprofit website builders at Website Planet.
Professional Development — Nonprofit Technology Network helps you master tech for your nonprofit. They also offer many local clubs.
Image Editing — Software to crop and resize photos can be pricey, but PicMonkey allows you to make changes to images at no cost.
Graphic Design — Create streamlined graphics across your organization for free (or $10/month with a professional account) with Canva.
Human Resources — There always seems to be a shortage of fundraising, financial, marketing and graphic design expertise in the nonprofit world. Nonprofits can post a project (e.g., design a new logo or write a social media plan) on Catchafire and select a professional who applies to complete the project pro bono. Check into local pro-bono professional resources, such as SCORE, Executive Service Corps and Social Venture Partners, as well as your local university for student talent, too.
Advertising — You can spread the word about the great work your organization is doing with up to $10,000/month of free advertising on Google search result pages by applying for Google ad grants.
Photography — Need great-looking photos for your website or a presentation but can’t afford to hire a professional photographer? Check out sites like DepositPhotos or iStock for affordable stock photo options. Plus, you can save even more by enrolling in a subscription plan. Keep an eye out for discounted packages to get the most bang for your buck.
Professional Development — Budgets to invest in our own professional growth can sometimes be wanting, but local libraries through the Foundation Center’s Funding Information Network provide free seminars to nonprofits as well as a wealth of grant-seeking resources.
Online Learning — Whether you’re looking to brush up on a software program, find the best way to design a website or learn bookkeeping sites like LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) and Udemy have you covered with a vast array of online courses where you can learn when it’s convenient for you, starting at just $11.99. Find a list of even more free (or cheap) online courses to boost your skills from The Muse. And don’t forget to check out your public library’s website — many libraries provide free access to online learning with your library card.
Connect — We are a big fan of the Council of Nonprofits and their efforts to mobilize nonprofits to achieve greater collective impact — join their organization at a national or local level to connect with others and advocate.
Hodgepodge — Goods for the Greater Good partners with corporations to bring brand-new, overstocked products like clothing, health and beauty products, electronics, home products, toys and sports equipment available to nonprofits. This service is particularly helpful for agencies filling the basic needs of clients in crisis situations.
Books — Schools and literacy programs can turn to FirstBook for free or highly discounted children’s books.
Office Furniture and Equipment — Corporations make used furniture and equipment available to nonprofit organizations across the U.S. through CSR Eco Solutions. Visit the website to see what donations may be available in your area. TechSoup also partners with leading computer refurbishers to provide environmentally friendly products from top manufacturers like Dell, HP and Lenovo.
We are grateful for the organizations that make serious commitments to the causes and people nonprofits represent, and we hope the resources they make available come in handy for your organization. We hope you will share stories of freebies with us online or through a shout-out on Twitter @socialtrendspot or Facebook @socialimpactarchitects. We will add them to our “Free Stuff for Nonprofits” list.