10 Free (or almost free) Technology Tools To Communicate, Build Your Brand And Gather Data

Nonprofit technology budgets are shrinking but the need for robust technologies is growing. Organizations with both small and large budgets can benefit from these 10 tools that can help collect data, improve communications and provide additional capacity. (free)– This is an app that was created for text messaging but now has a powerful group discussion feature. Think of it as the Twitter (TWTR) approach (140 characters or less) for our mobile members who primarily use their smart phones and tablets for quick, succinct and targeted group communications. (free with limited functionality, monthly subscription starts at $19 per month)– SMS text polling whether you are at an event and want to poll your audience through a simple web interface on the fly. This means you can present a topic and type questions for immediate feedback during your presentation. Audience members then can either respond through a custom URL in a mobile app or they can text their answer to you. (free)– We all know Twitter and the ability to tweet out 140 characters of news or information about your organization. Did you also know that you could conduct polls by adding it into your tweet? This is a great way to send a poll to your followers for a “flash” survey and get a pulse on a trending issue. It also underscores the need to build your social media base in order to effectively leverage their opinions. ($5 for basic, tiered pricing for additional service)– has become a great service and tool for start up companies and nonprofits. You can find freelancers that will develop a logo, a PowerPoint template, videos, a Website page, conduct research and more starting at just $5. Their customers rate the freelancers who work through so you can find the right professional who does great work. (free)– It is so hard to stay on top of key technologies today and our Boards expect it. Product Hunt is an excellent resource for trending new technologies for business and startups that has great applicability to nonprofit organizations. A daily email is sent on new and trending tech and business tools found by other users and the team. Each new item on is then “up voted” by visitors to the site to bring the best of the best tech to the top. Think of it as crowdsourced business tools where they are very fresh each day. (free)– Great Website that has technology resources for startup businesses to increase their Web or social media traffic. If you think about nonprofit organizations with small budgets, a lot of these tools and resources are very useful to increase awareness in the social media and web space. Their resources are varied but categorized from design to marketing to social tools to newsletters. There is a category for almost anything and a site worthy a visit if you are looking for new and innovative tools or resources to guide your organization’s way. (subscription, starts at $9.99 per month, nonprofit discount available)  – Are you managing all of your social media accounts from different platforms? With you can manage and schedule them all from the online portal or a fully featured app for your mobile device or tablet. There is a great feature that suggests articles that match your keyword criteria that may be on interest to your members. All you do is put in three keywords that may interest your members and then provides a list of key articles that you can select and schedule to send via all of your social media accounts.

Adobe Spark Video, Spark.Adobe.Com (free)– A storytelling app that easily allows you to create voice over presentations or Webpages professionally from your mobile device. I used it to create a seven-minute presentation in less than 30-minutes and was able to share it in less than 30 seconds. It provides the ability to use a photo library, custom fonts and music as well so that you never have to leave the app. The greatest thing is that it is free and owned by Adobe (ADBE), a worldwide brand. (free)– Created by to allow you to stream live video to all of your followers. Imagine interviewing a keynote speaker after your conference and streaming it out live to all of your Twitter followers? Periscope is an android and IOS app that instantly allows your organization to start a live video feed at anytime during an event where your Twitter followers will be able to view it, comment on it and also share it with friends. This is a great way to grow your social media base while providing a valuable service. (starting at $4.92/month)– Prezi allows anyone to build a presentation online and then present it online via a Web interface. It offers some great animations that can make your presentation stand out. It also allows your organization to share the presentations with the public if desired to reach an audience that may not be your current membership base.

There always have been a lot of tools to use and this number has grown exponentially in the past couple of years as the use of smart phones and tablets for business increases thus increasing the need for new apps and other online tools. Tools are only as good as the ability to understand them and use them effectively. The key is to build a communication and data gathering strategy that includes these tools. Build the strategy today with these and other key tools and they will pay great dividends in the future. Feel free to comment and add tools that have been an outstanding addition to your overall communication and data gathering strategies. We can crowdsource this together!