I recently did a talk for Charity Comms on free and good value online tools that are useful to have in any digital toolbox. Really nice event with some interesting people. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of dedication and graft that people put into charities.

The main points that I tried to convey were:

  1. Doing things manually is good (if time consuming) to start with,  as when you reach your pain point you know exactly what you want from a tool.
  2. In the charity world it’s as important to think about the bottom line – money, or at the very least what it is that you want from your conversion process and why people should do it.
  3. Measure everything (well nearly everything).

The five tools that I put forward are not particularly new, I just wanted to stress certain areas.

  • Timely – A great way to automate the sending of tweets. Once you’ve understood your manual process for “organisational tweeting”  Timely becomes very useful. Great stats, easy to use and free…
  • Google Analytics – We’re all familiar with Google’s analytics by now. I just wanted to touch on the “Visitor Flow” page and the psychological mind shift of measuring in pounds and pence, and not page views and visits.
  • Mailchimp – One of the best if not the best broadcast email tool with a nice free option. One of the most under used areas are the Auto responders. Done properly auto responders are a huge asset.
  • Google Docs – The form builder is really very useful, it puts all responses directly into a spreadsheet and allows very useful graph based reports at the touch of a button. Perfect for market research.
  • Rusic – One of Simpleweb’s products. I put this in (shamelessly) as it is one of the best ways to create communities around specific topics or run social competitions at a very low cost.

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