Communication Tools and Skills

Small charities often have limited resources, so it’s essential to leverage cost-effective and efficient communication tools. When starting a new project it might be useful to devise a communications plan – we will post a template here in due course.

Printed local newspapers are sadly reducing in number so communications channels are no longer as simple as writing a press release for your local paper.   Local media, including community radio, should still be a part of the mix but it is definitely worth using the best that social media has to offer.

Listed below are basic tools to help bring your plan to life and reach potential audiences but do think carefully about who uses each communications tool – some are more popular than others depending on the age range you are seeking to appeal to!  Also consider whether your communication plan is for internal or external audiences and whether your target group is a more closed group and requires a more bespoke communications approach.

Email Marketing Platforms:

  • Mailchimp: Offers a free plan for small organisations with basic email marketing needs.
  • Sendinblue: Provides affordable email marketing services with additional features like SMS marketing.

Social Media Platforms:

  • Facebook: Create a Facebook page to share updates, events, and engage with supporters.  Argyll and Bute has some excellent local Facebook groups that, despite recent increases in advertising posts on the platform, are still used widely. 
  • X (formerly Twitter): Share real-time updates, connect with followers, and leverage hashtags to increase visibility.
  • Instagram: Visual platform for sharing impactful images and stories related to your cause.

As you become more confident you could engage with others online and ask them to reshare your content.

Video Conferencing and Collaboration:

  • Zoom: Facilitates virtual meetings, webinars, and collaboration. Free plans are available.
  • Microsoft Teams: Useful for internal communication, collaboration, and virtual meetings.

Project Management:

  • Trello: Helps manage projects and tasks collaboratively, ensuring everyone stays on the same page.
  • Asana: Provides a user-friendly platform for task management and project collaboration.

Collaborative Document Editing:

  • Google Workspace (formerly G Suite): Allows for real-time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Donation Platforms:

  • PayPal: Enables easy online donations. Many donors are familiar with it, making it a convenient option.
  • Donorbox: Offers a simple and customizable donation platform with affordable pricing.

Website and Blogging:

  • WordPress: A widely-used platform for creating and managing websites or blogs. Numerous plugins and themes are available.
  • Wix: A user-friendly website builder with drag-and-drop features, suitable for those with limited technical skills.

Internal Communication:

  • Slack: Facilitates team communication and collaboration, enhancing internal coordination.

Survey and Feedback:

  • SurveyMonkey: Useful for collecting feedback, conducting surveys, and understanding stakeholder opinions.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM):

  • HubSpot CRM: Provides a free CRM solution for managing contacts, tracking interactions, and organizing donor information.
  • Salesforce: Offers a cloud-based solution for up to ten users for free and can help you keep track of your donors, supporters and members.   The TSI uses a version to power our own community directory

Analytics and Reporting:

  • Google Analytics: Helps track website traffic and user behaviour, providing valuable insights for optimization.

When selecting tools, it’s important to consider the specific needs and goals of your organisation. Additionally, explore whether the tools offer discounts or special plans for nonprofit organisations.