Investing in training for yourself and your team is often very worthwhile. Learning how to use time effectively and how to collaborate in a way that is constructive and not distracting is something we have found very valuable at White Fuse.
Thankfully there are plenty of really good free web applications out there to help organisations manage their work and increase efficiency, so time can be invested where it really matters. Here's our pick of some of the best. If you are after charity apps focused on communications and social media check out our other post listing our top 5 charity mobile apps.
1. Google Apps (G-Suite) for nonprofits
In our dedicated Google Apps explained and reviewed post we talked about why Google Apps is such a powerful tool for charity productivity. It can save lots of money and time maintaining a complex IT infrastructure and will encourage you and your team to work in lightweight and agile ways. Sharing documents in the cloud prevents countless duplicates being emailed around and the relatively limited editing tools help to stop you wasting time formatting your documents which can often be of little value.
Google Apps is also free for charities.
Trello is a lightweight project management tool. It draws its inspiration from the Japanese 'Kanban' (literally signboard or billboard in Japanese) method of production line management. This was famously applied by Toyota to great effect.
Whether or not you are inspired by the principles of Kanban, you are likely to find Trello an addictive and helpful tool for managing pretty much anything.
We use it for everything, from planning blog posts to projects - it gives a beautifully visual approach to tracking progress and managing workflow.
Helpscout offers a group of customer support tools that turns customer questions into answers in no time. Share email responses within the team and assign notes and status. It also includes an app that helps you build a knowledge base your customers can refer to 24/7 for all those FAQs you keep answering tirelessly.
We’ve been using Mailchimp for all our large scale emailing for a long time, and it’s amazingly reliable. And, depending on the size of your email lists and the number of people you email every month, it’s completely free.
The data captured on responses, opens and clicks is invaluable. Also, you can easily integrate a sign up form on your website.
Buffer integrates all your social media posts in one place. With ease. You can schedule regular posting times, queue up posts and gather analytics to see what works well and when. The tool integrates with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. It has a nifty tool to help you create an image to post along side your text, or you can upload your own images or the app easily pulls them from the link you attach.
There is lots to keep up with and if like most professionals these days you are trying to get control of your email and spend less time there, then you need a tool like Feedly. Feedly is a feed reader with a really simple and easy to read interface. It provides supporting apps on most devices.
Feedly uses RSS feeds to pull in regular information on all those things you need to know - sector news, legal updates, funding tips, the White Fuse blog. You then have them all in one place to read them at the right time, when you're in the right zone (not when you're ploughing through your inbox!), and sharing for social media can be done with one click.
Xero is one of the new breed of finance packages. Chances are you are using a more old school package (Sage or Quickbooks) and you may well not be able to change. It may also have nothing to do with your job function! But if you are part of a small charity you should definitely give it a look. It integrates really well with a whole bunch of other applications including those related to the communication function in your charity.
If you found this list useful and are interested in charity apps focused on communications and social media check out our other post listing our top 5 charity mobile apps.