March 19, 2020 – Boris Kievsky
As I write this, New York City is preparing for a shelter-in-place state of emergency, my kids are sitting at their school-issued laptops, unsure when they can go back to school or meet up with their friends again (they’re only upset about one of those two conditions), and my newsfeed and inbox are flooded with alerts and updates on how everyone is handling the current crisis.
As the pandemic grips the world with personal and financial hardship, people need the help of nonprofits more than ever, even as you’re having to cancel events and fundraisers that would help you do just that.
I like to think I’m good at a lot of things, but I’m terrible at feeling helpless. So I’m volunteering time to nonprofits to help you make a difference through this time of uncertainty. I’ve also put together a quick list of free tools (below) that I recommend if you’re still unsure of how to navigate this situation.
Ways I’m offering (volunteering) my time:
- Helping organizations share their COVID-19 responses and resources
- Creating popups or alert bars on websites
- Newsletters for constituents
- Strategies for remote co-working
- Strategies for furthering your cause and programs digitally
Need help? Book a time slot right now. If there are no convenient slots available, email me. I’ll do my best to help.
Tools I recommend right now
Many for-profits are stepping up to help you and your beneficiaries through this crisis. Here are a few that I recommend. They’re all completely free (at least temporarily).
- Zoom – The leader in this space with good reason. The free version is enough for most organizations, and techsoup offers a 50% discount for the paid plans.
- Google Hangouts and Hangouts Meet. Whether you’re already a Google Grants recipient or just in the Google ecosystem, Hangouts is a good video conferencing alternative. COVID-19 response: Through July 1, 2020, all G Suite customers can use advanced Hangouts Meet features, like larger meetings (up to 250 participants), live streaming, and recording.
- Slack – Again, the free tier is more than enough for most, but if you need more, it’s free or incredibly discounted for nonprofits. Bonus: Slack has video-calling built in, and the “paid” version allows screen sharing and more.
- Microsoft Teams – Microsoft is working hard to compete with Slack. COVID-19 response: They offer free 6-month trials, completely free for educational usage, and other freemium deals.
Distance Learning – Taking your programming virtual
- Teachable – After trying many Learning Management Systems, I put all of dotOrgStrategy’s courses on Teachable. COVID-19 response: Right now, they’re offering the platform free of charge to those governmental and healthcare organizations working to keep people safe, and to educational institutions who are navigating remote ongoing education due to building closures.
- YouTube Live – This might be the easiest way to live-stream your events and programs. And it’s free.
- Calendly – The free tier should be fine for most organizations to schedule simple bookings and accept basic information.
- Book Like a Boss – This is my favorite appointment booking system and they just announced that it’ll be free for schools and nonprofits during this time. Allows you to set up multiple appointment types and products (free or paid), so people can pick a slot, pay if necessary, and get a confirmation. Bonus: It integrates with Zoom, so you can automatically create a zoom room and share it in the appointment information.
COVID-19 response from the founder: “If anyone knows of a school or non-profit organization that can use our software during these trying times, please have them contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide them with our software for free for as long as they need it.”(You can see it in action if you click my booking link in my “need help” section above.)
- Asana – There are a LOT of project management solutions out there. Some might be better for your needs than others, but I have yet to find one that can do everything as well as Asana can. Create teams, projects within each team, sections within each project, tasks and sub-tasks dependent on other tasks. Upload photos directly to each task, or even create a task by sending an email. Free for nonprofits (with a decent free tier for everyone else, too).
Thank you for the work you do to make a better world for all of us, whether in response to a pandemic or to the thousands of crises happening every day.
We’ve got this.
Chief Storyteller and Nerd