We recently came across author Heather Mansfield's blog post: 33 Fun, Useful and Totally Random Resources for Nonprofits. This superb list of online tools got us thinking about our own "go-to" resources that merge creativity and efficiency in a cheap and cheerful way. We tip our hat to Heather and offer up these additions to what's looking like an excellent collection of online resources for your non-profit toolbox.
Maybe it's too obvious or doesn't quite fit into the genre of "cheap and cheerful" tools for non-profits, but we still think Hootsuite is one of the best tools out there for organizations. For next to nothing, you can decentralize, organize and schedule tweets, Facebook posts, LinkedIn updates and your Wordpress blog from one dashboard. Hootsuite even offers tutorials in the form of "Hootsuite University" if you're overwhelmed with the idea of adding a new social media dashboard to the mix.
Screencast is a screen capture tool that captures, among other things, online video and safely stores it online. It won't compress the video file, which means you keep what you capture. If you're looking for ways to tell a story using online videos and images, we highly recommend this gem of a tool.
We know that Storify is pretty new on the scene because we signed up as beta users and had some fun with it. Storify allows you to collect content from your different online channels, group it in one place and share the end result with your online communities. It's a great idea for organizations looking for better ways to collect online community content from multiple channels and present it as one, cohesive story. We look forward to seeing how this tool develops as more users climb on board.
Earlier this year, we attended Mobile for Social Change, a two-day training session that's part of the Toronto-based conference, My Charity Connects. You can read more about that experience, here. We learned about the latest crisis mapping tools organizations are using to mobile disaster volunteers around the world and Ushahidi was number one on the presenter's radar. Ushahidi means "testimony” in Swahili and is an open-source mapping tool (which means it’s free) that allows users to contribute reports and content via the web and mobile phones. It launched in 2008 and was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout. Its roots are in Africa and it's a beautiful example of citizens mobilizing information and news to inform how government's make nation-wide decisions. You can host the Ushahidi Platform yourself or have Ushahidi host it for you using its new Crowd Map tool.
Wordle is still our go-to tool when it comes to producing a fun graphic or word cloud for our social media channels. It helps you narrow in on themes if you're following an online discussion or reading an article. All you need to do is copy and paste the content and Wordle generates a simple and creative word cloud. If you visit or blog homepage, you'll see the Wordle we created using the content from this blog post.
This is one resource we’ve borrowed from Heather's post. It was just too interesting not to repeat. Using a few specific sources, Worldometers generates numbers that inform, among other things, the rate at which humans are consuming resources and energy, making babies, and dying. Worldometers provides a "quick facts" drop down menu and lists its sources. Averages are adjusted based on the data source. The site, for the most part, is automated and several of the meters reset every 24 hours. For example, there's a running meter that tracks how much governments around the world are spending on public healthcare on a daily basis. One look at global energy stats or population growth is enough to throw you into a cold sweat. Despite the anxiety this website may bring on, it’s an excellent source if you’re looking to compare numbers, output and global statistics for a specific research project, article or campaign.