By Matt Reese, Digital Strategist

The digital landscape is murky – each day we hear in equal parts about tomorrow’s hot new social platform and how yesterday’s has already failed; we hear about ad technology and ad blocking technology; and each day more and more Unicorns are springing up. If even top tech and venture capital funded companies aren’t able to adequately navigate the digital space, how can a nonprofit without a full-fledged digital team do it? As business writer Tom Peters, echoing Pablo Picasso, says, “Swipe from the best, then adapt.” Below you’ll find a few tools that have a proven track record in the for-profit digital space. These tools are easy to use – most are free, the rest are inexpensive and some even have nonprofit rates.

  • Optimizely – Performing email A/B tests is a given, but do you A/B test your donation page? After installing a snippet of code, you can easily set up tests on whatever page you like. Increase your donation rates or any other key performance indicator with this tool. They even have nonprofit rates and a nonprofit blog.
  • CrazyEgg – Do you use Google Analytics but still feel like you don’t quite know how people are interacting with your site? This is where CrazyEgg comes in. Touting itself as a “pair of x-ray glasses,” CrazyEgg will show you exactly what your users are reading, where they are clicking and how far they scroll down on the site.
  • Canva – Don’t have a design department? Are your communications looking like they were created for Angelfire (remember that?!)? Canva is a great product that uses drag-and-drop usability to create incredibly sharp and professional looking designs and documents. They have a nonprofit program, too. Use Canva in conjunction with Google Fonts and you’ll have a virtual design studio right on your computer.
  • Google offers an abundance of free and incredibly powerful tools: along with Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools and PageSpeed will give you invaluable insight on how to better your site on a technical level, from compressing images to adjusting font size. Google Trends can help you potentially reach new audiences. For instance, do you see that a story about Prison reform is trending? Then write a blog post about that Prison Reformation White Paper you loved writing so much and blast it on social media.
  • Moz – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ever-evolving field that is hard to get a firm grasp on unless you devote your waking hours to mastering it. Since essentially no one would want to do that, Moz is there for you. Download a simple Chrome plug-in and you’ll get insights on how to better your own Search Engine Marketing (use metatags!) and how other sites are thriving in SEO.
  • SEMrush – If you are doing Search Engine Marketing (SEM) (which we recommend, but more on that in a later blog post), then SEMrush is a must-have. It offers comparative benchmarks on how your SEM endeavors stack up against competitors. Though it is expensive, the free version is still very useful.
  • Blogs, blogs, blogs – Subscribe to as many tech/marketing blogs and newsletters as you can. While not everything will be relevant, there will always be some insights you can apply to your nonprofit. Among many others, we recommend Gartner Research, Digiday, HubSpot, Google Think, and Buffer.

With these free and low cost tools, your nonprofit will be able to function like an innovative Silicon Valley tech firm. Now get fundraising!

Watch this blog for more updates into the power search engine marketing, tips for making the perfect video and more, and contact us for quotes!

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