One is that the demands on a nonprofit professional have increased dramatically. Years ago you didn’t need a social media presence, or an online component to your membership and events, plus it was much easier to find volunteers and raise money.
The second thing is that nonprofit professionals who are able to get it all done (and still have a life) have embraced technology to help them manage their organization. I’ve been astounded at what a single person can accomplish with the help of tech tools.
In this post, I’ll cover six tech tools that do a great job of helping to attract, engage, and retain members. Each of these tools has many alternatives, but these are the ones I’m most familiar with. Plus, most of these tools are either free or inexpensive and are easy to pick up.
- Graphic Design Tool
It’s well known that the most engaging marketing campaigns have compelling graphics. But if you’re like most small nonprofits, you may not be able to afford the services of a graphic designer.
Luckily there are many graphic design tools perfect for nonprofits with limited budgets and design skills. Canva is the one I’ve seen used most often—plus it’s free.
Canva also has a library of great templates for nonprofits to create brochures, newsletters, social media posts, and more.
They even have a free online school for those looking to learn professional design.
2) Meet Edgar
- Social Media Queue Generator
Any tool that claims to double website traffic and save eight hours a week is worth looking into—in fact, I know one association executive that uses Meet Edgar to do just that.
What he did was write about 50 social media posts for his Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages all at once. Then he dropped them all into Meet Edgar. Meet Edgar created a queue that shares his posts on a regular schedule. When it gets to the end of the queue, it starts sharing them all over again, automatically.
The increase in social engagement has more than doubled his organization’s website traffic, which ended up converting more new members. The best part—since setting everything up, he hasn’t touched his queue since.
- Video Editing Tool
- Pro version is $9.99/month
I know one nonprofit that creates amazing promo videos for all their events. These videos are now the biggest contributor to attracting new people to attend.
The funny thing is that the admin who creates the videos has no experience with video editing software, or even filming.
People thought she hired a marketing company, but the truth is she uses Ripl, an app that creates beautiful videos for any purpose. All she has to do is type out the text, then choose the videos and images that match. Riple then adds in transitions and music, and her video promo is done.
I’ve used Ripl myself, and this is one tool that really impressed me with how easy it was to use, and how much value it created. It took me minutes to create a video that otherwise would have taken me a couple of hours.
- Popup Tool
- Paid version starts at $29/month
Lately, I’ve seen a lot of small nonprofit websites use popups to ask website visitors to sign up for their newsletters.
While popups can be annoying, there’s a good reason they’re using them. When done right, they can increase the rate at which your website visitors become subscribers by nearly 10%.
And the more newsletter subscribers you have, the more people hear about your events, membership benefits, and donation campaigns.
If you’re wondering if popups will have an impact on your website, I encourage you to give them a try. One popular tool that makes it easy to test popups is Sumo. They also provide full analytics so you can see how many people are viewing and clicking your popups.
- Live Q&A Polls for Meetings and Events
- Free basic plan
- Paid plans start at $199/event
Have you ever brought in a speaker to your event only to hear crickets from the audience during the Q&A period?
The problem may not be with your speaker, but in the shyness of your audience.
I know a few nonprofits that use Sli.do to dramatically boost audience participation at their events and meetings.
Sli.do creates a way for people to anonymously ask questions or participate in live polls from their phones. They can also browse unanswered questions and vote on the ones they want answered the most. You can either project the questions onto a screen for the speaker to hear, or have the speaker read the questions from her own phone.
- Survey Tool
- Free basic plan
- Paid plans start at $24/month
From what I’ve seen, a lot of organizations don’t do a good job of evolving with their membership. They don’t track how their member needs evolve over time, and don’t adapt. Eventually they become irrelevant and die off. Sadly, I’ve seen this happen too many times. And there’s an easy solution here—regularly survey your members.
SurveyMonkey is an easy-to-use tool to conduct regular surveys. They offer a free basic plan and full analytics when you’re collecting your results. If you want a tip on what to include in your survey, here’s one of the most powerful surveys I’ve seen. It’s simple. It’s 3 questions:
- What should we start doing?
- What should we stop doing?
- What should we continue doing?
Collecting the answers to these questions can help you track changes and adapt quickly to offering the right value to your members.
One More Thing to Double Your Membership
The most productive nonprofit professionals I know usually have a toolset of at least five really great tech tools they use on a daily basis.
The key is to take a look at your daily tasks and search for an easy-to-use, inexpensive tech tool that can help you do something in half an hour that usually takes an hour or more. Over the course of a month you could be saving 10 hours or more, so it’s worth investing the time to research and experiment with various tools.
Terry Ibele is content manager at Wild Apricot, a leading provider of Membership Management Software. When he’s not writing blogs, articles, filming videos, or launching email campaigns, Terry can be found writing science fiction and fantasy for fun.