Switch up your digital with these free or discounted online platforms for charities

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Lockdown or not, the work of a charity doesn’t stop. Time, funds and resources are tight, but your beneficiaries still need you. Now more than ever, arguably.

Suddenly, there’s a whole lot of extra ‘to do’.

You want to carry on banging the drum for your cause, of course. But in a world where social distancing and remote working are the new norm, how do you make sure your message is hitting home?

This is where a new generation of feature-rich online platforms come into play, helping organisations stay on top of their social media, marketing e-mails and SEO (among other things). And the really good news is that most are available free to charities and non-profits, or at a discount. That’s welcome relief for your bank balance; you can direct funds where they’re really needed instead.

Narrowing down which ones to opt for isn’t easy, so here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Photo credit: Mirasbek Nurseit Unsplash


Good for: social media management

Hootsuite allows you to monitor all your social media from just one platform. It’s a smart tool that uses analytics to track and measure your performance, so you can see which posts are getting the most engagement (and when).

Everything works from one dashboard, which you can use to schedule posts, save content and search for specific topics and trends. You can even set up a ‘stream’ that tracks all mentions of your charity’s name across social media, so you don’t miss out on prime opportunities to engage with your followers.

What’s the damage?

The HootGiving programme gives members up to 50% off Hootsuite’s social media packages. Without a discount, these start at £25/month per user, or £99/month for up to three team members.


Moz Pro

Good for: SEO

Search engine optimisation is a tricky beast to master. Your options are to tighten your belt and hire an SEO expert (expensive), or use Moz Pro to boost your google rankings yourself. The Keyword Explorer tool lets you research relevant keywords and choose the best ones to target in your content. You can then track their performance and fix any problems.

Another nifty feature is the Moz Site Crawler, which scans your website and suggests ways to improve it. You can also analyse the links driving traffic to your site, so you get an idea of which ones work best for you.

What’s the damage?

Non-profits get a whacking 75% discount on their Moz Pro subscription, with the full-price basic package starting from £75/month (or £60/month when you pay annually).



Good for: e-mail marketing

Mailchimp helps you draft and design professional-looking e-mails using a simple-but-genius drag-and-drop interface. You can design ads, landing pages, postcards… or build your own marketing campaign from scratch.

Later, you can check back on performance and schedule new e-mails to send out. Or set up an automated campaign that works without you having to do anything.

There’s even a nifty calendar feature that keeps track of which e-mails are going out and when. You can make sure you’re engaging your subscribers the right amount, and not blasting them with e-mail overload.

What’s the damage?

Mailchimp allows you to send up to 12,000 emails a month for free, to a maximum of 2000 e-mail subscribers. If you need more, you can apply for 15% off one of their packages, which start at £7.79/month.



Good for: design

If you’re not much of a design guru, Canva is your friend. It comes with a huge image and video library plus templates for creating anything from mobile-friendly videos to infographics.

Your team can see what you’re working on and comment, getting rid of the need for endless back-and-forth over e-mail. You also have tonnes of cloud storage for your designs, so you’re not clogging up your laptop with numerous files and folders.

Top tip: you can pre-set your charity’s favourite colours, fonts and logos, so they automatically pop up whenever you use Canva to design something.

What’s the damage?

Canva For Non-Profits is free to use for up to ten member of your team, and includes the pro version.


Salesforce For Nonprofits

Good for: CRM

What doesn’t this cloud-based customer relationship management platform do? Think relationship management, fundraising, marketing and tonnes of programmes, all under one roof.

Salesforce uses open-source technology to get a bird’s eye view of all the people involved in your charity, from your supporters and donors to your fundraisers and volunteers. Plus, useful details like how much people have donated and which other charities they support.

You can keep records of who donates and when, track your income and see what your fundraisers are up to, eliminating the need for a spread sheet. (And we all know what can go wrong with those…)

What’s the damage?

Signing up to Salesforce gives you a discount on ten different programmes, plus access to a bundle of other services. Prices start from £25/month (instead of £115 full price).