Centrend, Inc.

Non-profits Deserve the Best Tools – for Free!

If you work for or care about a non-profit organization, make sure they know about Centrend – and these strategies for obtaining the best software for free or nearly free.

Corporations understand that investments in technology can make a huge difference in the success of their non-profit organization. After calculating Return on Investment (ROI) they can afford to wait a year or more for their technology investment to pay off.

Non-profit organizations don’t have that luxury of waiting for a return on investment.   They have to maintain a positive cash flow to be successful. While the ROI can be terrific for businesses adopting new software technology, it’s harder to justify such expenses in the non-profit sector. As a turn-around specialist and business consultant friend of mine tells our clients, “No margin, no mission.”

Fortunately, there are many opportunities to obtain top-notch information systems either free or at a minimum cost. The following list is what I consider the best of the best for Non-Profits. Start here to make sure you are obtaining the most cost-effective technology for your non-profit:

  1. Tech Soup – Tech Soup is the premier platform that lets businesses like Microsoft donate software licensing and subscriptions to non-profits. There is a minimal fee for TechSoup to administer the licensing, but the cost ends up being pennies on the dollar. You can also get recycled/off lease hardware from them very inexpensively though in our experience, the quality of the hardware has been inconsistent.
  2. Gsuite for Non-Profits – Google has a very generous program for Non-Profits that allows you to use the entire Gsuite for up to 49 users, completely free!  You can have 30 gig of storage for each user, plus use team drives for document collaboration. Google can host your entire domain name for free and having their reliability for email gives your non-profit a great advantage at no cost.
  3. SalesForce.com – Salesforce.com’s “Nonprofit Success Pack” provides a set of advanced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools for managing constituents and donors. It’s not free, but the price is significantly reduced and it’s a very robust set of tools.
  4. Donorbox.org – Donorbox.org is an automated, recurring donation management system. You can use the system absolutely free to raise up to $1,000 a month. After that, they charge a nominal fee of 1.5% to pay for the cost of the platform. 
  5. MailChimp and ConstantContact – They offer complete email marketing solutions for keeping in touch with donors and creating brand awareness. Both services are good and offer discounts for non-profits, but MailChimp will ultimately cost less than ConstantContact for nearly the same feature set. 

The list above will be a great place to get started when looking at software options for your non-profit organization. They will require you to show a copy of your 501c3, Federal Tax ID/EIN, and unless you are brand new, a copy of your tax return for the previous year.  

If you have favorite resources for non-profits, please feel free to add them to the comments below.

If you need help getting some of this in place, Centrend may be able to donate consulting services. Please reach out to us and let us know how we can help your mission succeed! 

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