As a start-up news venture, it’s crucial to have a good toolbox for managing your business as it grows.
There are several digital tools nowadays to help with managing your contacts, facilitating collaboration between your employees, storing and retrieving digital files, and managing the money. Several of these tools are available for free or at a discounted rate for the nonprofit organization.
The Hub has some suggested tools to get you started:
Collaboration and Project Management: Basecamp
Whether you have a small or large-size organization, having a good project management structure and system is a must. Basecamp is project management software that allows you to manage a variety of projects across several departments in your organization and have a virtual location by which to access the information about the project. If you are not sure about the software, they offer a 30-day free trial. They have three different plans depending on the number of projects you want to manage, the storage you need, and the number of users you will require to use the system.
Accounting: Fund E-Z
An important tool for the nonprofit news organization is budgeting and managing the books. Accounting software and tools can be expensive. Fund E-Z is a software tool made for nonprofits that can help with fund accounting and fund raising. It can be customized to your liking and provides options for the nonprofit such as ways to manage donors, donations, pledges, and more. They do provide a 30-day free trial.
Document Sharing: Google Docs
In any organization, documents of all kinds need to be shared with the appropriate individuals depending on the project. Often these files can be lost or deleted in an email inbox or on a desktop computer. Google Docs provides the virtual option where you can share the document via the Google platform with the appropriate individuals without the risk of losing the file. Google Docs can hold word documents, presentations, spreadsheets, drawings, and much more.
There may be times in your organization when you will need to hold a conference call with your funders, donors, management, employees or other individuals. Conference call systems can be an expensive service to purchase for the nonprofit news organization. Freeconference.com is a conferencing call company that provides free conference calls for businesses, organizations and individuals. They have three different levels of services depending on your needs – if you want the call recorded, the number of people you want dialing into the call, personalized greetings, transcription of the call, etc. The free account gives you up 150 callers that can dial in, a three-hour limit for the call, access anytime, and much more.
Storage and Retrieval: Dropbox
Often in a news organization, there are many files that are created, revised and shared with multiple individuals in the organization. In some cases, these files can be fairly large which can make emailing them a hassle. There are options for storing and retrieving your files through a company like Dropbox. A free account provides up to 2GB of space. For the nonprofit organization, they have Dropbox for Teams which offers unlimited space at $795 per year for five users and $125 per an additional user.
Forms and Surveys: Formstack & SurveyMonkey
As the start-up news venture, you may be embarking on ways to measure your effectiveness and engagement with the community. This may be achieved through hosting events in your community or surveying your readership on specific issues. Formstack provides several kinds of forms ranging from invitation forms to event planning forms. Formstack offers a 14-day free trial and has a variety of plans for purchase ranging from $30 to $160 monthly. For nonprofits, they offer a 25% discount. Surveymonkey is a survey management tool that easily allows you to create surveys on the fly and implement them in minutes. They have a variety of accounts you can sign up for. A free account includes 10 questions per a survey and it can accept up to 100 responses. They have Select ($17), Gold ($25) and Platinum ($65) monthly options depending on the kind of features you are looking for. If you are a nonprofit, they offer a 25% discount for organizations who sign up with the Gold or Platinum plan.
Contact Management: Plaxo
Managing lists of subscribers, funders, donors or other important individuals can be a daunting task. A start-up news venture should invest in a contact management system to make this process easier. Plaxo is one tool of many out there that can manage your contacts for your organization virtually and digitally for you. The system can synchronize your contact entries from various platforms – social networks, phone and email. They offer several plans depending on the number of contacts you need to manage and the level of automation you seek.
These are just a few of the digital tools available that can help you run your news business efficiently so you can keep track and manage it effectively.