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30 online tools for effective remote working (and fundraising too)

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By now, we've all got pretty comfortable with working remotely. Workout wear (or pajama bottoms, if you prefer) have become our new work wear. We're even a bit more confident for coworkers to see us without makeup or with a few weeks worth of facial hair growth. It makes you wonder what returning to the office will feel like as and when we're able to step back into 'normal' work mode.

Regardless of if we step back into the office anytime soon, there are lots of excellent (and sometimes free) tools that can be used to make online and remote working effective for the nonprofit fundraising sector. At Hubbub, we've been flirting with the whole remote working culture for a few years so we have a bit of experience in experimenting with different tools and choosing those that help us to collaborate, communicate and to get the job done.

In this blog, we've pulled together some of the best tools out there that can help you, and your teams, to do the same. Whether they help you to fundraise more effectively or help you to tackle your to-do list, creating the llama farm or your dreams (that WILL make sense if you keep reading 😉 ).

Online tools can also help fundraisers to save a lot of time when coordinating a whole host of fundraising and engagement campaigns. They can even just be handy for making sure that projects run on time and that teams are able to communicate in away that helps everyone stay informed and connected.

Before we set you loose on our list, it’s also worth considering:

  • the ways in which these tools can help with producing successful campaigns and teamwork
  • the time it will require for you to start using it and if any training is required for teams to use tools effectively
  • the potential cost that might be required for additional features 

Right, here we go - 30 online tools for effective remote working*

*disclaimer: Zoom has not been included in our list... we're pretty sure that one's obvious by now. 😊

Internal communications

When you're not all in one place, seeing each other in the office kitchen or passing each other in the corridor between meetings, communications between colleagues can suffer. These tools help you to get that feeling of 'togetherness' back - ensuring that communications between team members remain strong (and fun).

Slack – Slack is an instant messaging platform which enhances internal communication and is especially useful for remote teams. What's different about Slack is that It allows for the creation of custom discussion channels for different purposes. For example, if you want to create a channel just for the major gifts team, you can do that. And additional apps are available as add ons that can help to make team communications even more efficient.

Whereby – As an alternative to Zoom, Whereby is a meeting platform that allows you to choose your own personalised URL that enables you to quickly meet with small groups of peers, donors or team members. It also has all the same features you'd expect from a remote meeting including, screen sharing, chat and the ability to record meetings.

Google Hangouts – For those with G-suite accounts (or just avid fans of the Google Chrome browser) Google Hangouts is another alternative for quick group video conferencing. If you're already a G-suite or G-Mail user, you might prefer it for setting up direct video calls through your calendar invites (we do!). 

Productivity and project management

One of the useful things about being physically in an office environment is that work-related 'things' are contained and maintained in one place - including your team's documents and files. But when everyone is working from home, online document management can quickly become a potential nightmare. Here are few tools that can help you quickly retain your online documentation feng shui.

Dropbox – Dropbox can be used to store and share materials with your team. It also allows you to synchronise your work across all devices.

Google Drive – Similarly, Google Drive can be useful if you want to share and store files with the rest of your team. It's real value comes with the ability to edit and comment on shared documents without having to create multiple versions.

Monday – Monday can help you to organise and manage a variety of tasks and projects. It works by using boards that can be used and organised for anything from simple a to-do list or more complex projects that carry on for an undefined period of time and involve several team members. Monday also allows for the efficient assignment of tasks to specific team members, giving a clear overview of everyone’s responsibilities. AND if you become a Monday taskmaster, you can even choose to be rewarded with your own llama farm - something the Monday team describes as 'something you never knew you needed but won't be able to live without'. And we agree!

If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, Trello is very similar - just without all the bells and whistles (and llamas).

Asana –  Asana is another cloud-based platform that enables teams to organise their projects. The dashboard provides an overview of pending tasks and the team members assigned to them, while conversations and calendars can help you organise what’s coming up.

Wrike – Wrike is a collaboration and project management programme that helps you to centralise communication with external collaborators to streamline the workflow of a particular project. It's really useful for repeated projects as it has templates that make project set up a breeze. We use Wrike here at Hubbub when working with clients - ensuring that our communications on projects remain consistent and that giving platforms are launched on time.

IFTTT – IFTTT is an efficient way of automating a number of communication and project management tasks. Each automated activity is called a “recipe” and it is triggered to save you the time of doing it manually. For example, you can automatically add new Twitter contacts in a spreadsheet, or you can cross-post your content from Facebook to Instagram. The fact that it offers thousands of “recipes” makes it a big time-saver.

If you want to kick things up a notch with the automation of tasks, Zapier is a good alternative.

Google for Nonprofits – Google provides a set of tools to help nonprofits manage their campaigns. Youtube’s nonprofit programme helps organisations connect with supporters, volunteers and donors, and makes donations easier through donations cards that show up on the videos. Google Ad Grants offers the equivalent of $10,000 in advertising each month to help nonprofit organisations raise awareness for their campaigns. And Google One Today provides help to find new donors and make an impact through easier campaign management. 

Design and external communications

While they're not so much useful for remote working, online tools that make design, outreach, managing social media and marketing more accessible will be appreciated all the same by those managing mass engagement activities. Especially those managing digital campaigns. These tools will not only make managing mass engagement campaigns more accessible but cost effective as well.

Canva – Canva assists in the creation of visual content for social media and marketing materials. It offers thousands of templates, making it quick and easy to create appealing graphics. Its premium version, Canva Pro, offers even more tools to try out and helps to create branding consistency among campaigns. During the pandemic, Canva made many of their premium images and assets free for all users - they're a bunch of good eggs.

Pablo by Buffer – Pablo is an online tool that helps you create social media graphics. It gives access to more than 50,000 images, allowing you to find the best ones for your campaign, and they can be easily resized to fit on different social platforms.

Adobe Spark – Adobe Spark offers a series of tools to create pages, videos or posts as fast as possible, allowing your organisation to produce new campaign materials that look both appealing and professional. Our favourite tool of the three is Spark Video, which offers an excellent way to create animated videos. All you need to do is speak your story and pick the theme and images, and the tool will create a video for you. 

Pixlr Express – Pixlr Express offers a quick online solution to photo editing. It could be useful whether you want to crop, resize, or add filters to your images.

Giphy GIF Maker – GIFs, or animated images, have become very popular in online campaigns, as they can be extremely engaging. Giphy is the most popular online library of GIFs, and the Maker allows you to create your own from video files and Youtube links. For example, if you’ve just uploaded a Youtube video to promote your campaign, you can also create a GIF as new content for your promotion. 

WeVideo – WeVideo is an online video editor that allows you to capture, create, view and share your movies at up to 4K resolution. Its free version offers a publish time of 5 minutes per month and 1GB of cloud storage.

Facebook for Nonprofits – Facebook for Nonprofits can help you use Facebook to raise awareness of your campaigns, reach a new audience, raise funds and access resources.

Twenrich – Twenrich allows you to analyse your Twitter followers through keywords and discover the most influential ones. By entering a keyword, you’ll get a detailed analysis showing which of your followers are best placed to help spread the word and generate interest for your campaign.

Brand Mentions – Brand Mentions offers real-time social media search and analysis to help you find what people are saying about your brand across the web.

Google Alerts – Google Alerts can send you notifications about particular topics or keywords that are relevant to your campaign.

Buffer – Buffer is a social media management platform that simplifies scheduling of your social posts. It’s an easy-to-use platform and it also offers analytics to measure the performance of your posts.

Tweetdeck – Tweetdeck is Twitter’s management platform and it facilitates the scheduling and monitoring of your tweets. It can be useful both in terms of scheduling your campaign’s Twitter posts and for keeping track of your followers, their tweets, or particular hashtags.

Hootsuite – Hootsuite is one of the most popular options in social media management. It’s a powerful platform that offers scheduling, monitoring and measurement of your social accounts. The free version allows you to add three social channels, which makes it ideal for a small organisation.

bit.ly – Bit.ly allows you to shorten, measure and optimise links that are part of your campaign. For example, if you want to create two different links for your campaign’s page to track which one is more effective, you can use bit.ly both to shorten your actual links, and also to measure their performance.

MailChimp – MailChimp allows you to create good looking, professional email campaigns for 2,000 or fewer recipients. You can use their range of standard templates or create your own, set up automatic welcome emails, and get recommendations based on analytics from previous campaigns. 

Boomerang for Gmail – Gmail’s Boomerang is an extension that lets you organise your emails to become more productive. You can schedule an email to be sent later, set email reminders, and get real-time tips about how to improve your emails to have the impact you want.  

Send In Blue - This is another email platform but where it really kicks in is being able to send a series of emails to a list of subscribers that can help to increase their engagement with your charity. If you are keen to get into lead generation engagement, this is one for you.

Email Subject Line Open Rate Predictor – This tool can be useful if you want to predict how well your email will perform. Enter a potential subject line for your next email and it will be graded (0-100) based on its chances of motivating recipients to open the email.

Phew - we worked up quite a sweat getting that list together 😓 . If you have tools that you think we could add, let us know! And, as always, if you are looking to increase your activities within digital giving and engagement, please reach out to our team via hello@hubbub.net.

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