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  1. 1. FREE and LOW COST SOFTWARE and SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATIONS Mark Holmgren Whether you are a small or large non profit organization or a group of people just working together to ``do good`` in your community, you face resource challenges. Software is expensive, but it doesn’t need to be in many cases. In fact, you can do some amazing things with free software you download to your computer or that you access online. Mark Holmgren Consulting Edmonton, Alberta 780.244.8686 1/1/2009
  2. 2. FREE and LOW COST SOFTWARE and SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATIONS  For more info: Mark Holmgren 780 244 8686 Email: FREE and LOW COST SOFTWARE and SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATIONS Also: Learning links for social media and free software training resources Whether you are a small or large non profit organization If you are an organization looking to reduce your or a group of people just working together to ``do good`` technology and internet expenses, you might want to in your community, you face resource challenges. consider using a variety of Google products to do just that. Software is expensive, but it doesn’t need to be in many cases. In fact, you can do some amazing things with free Below, is a description of what you can use for free, plus software you download to your computer or that you links to more information from Google. access online. If you want to use these products you need a Google Some of the software I mention here might involve some account, which basically means you need to open a Gmail cost if you need more than they provide for free. For account. example, you can host 200 photographs on line for free at but if you want to host more than that, it costs Gmail: Gmail has some unique features, like organizing $19.95 per year, so pretty cheap anyway. your emails into conversations so you can easily see the chain of emails related to a particular topic. It has great On these pages I list some social media applications like search capabilities and you can tag incoming emails with Facebook, Twitter, and others. While they are free and you labels so that you can find groupings of emails that fit that have likely heard of them, I recommend you truly label. Integrates with Google Calendar and Google Docs. understand your strategy in using them before you do anything. So I have provided some links later on to help Google Docs: Create, store, and share documents, you learn about them. presentations, and spreadsheets online. You can collaborate with others on your documents as well – no There are thousands of free software applications out more emailing them back and forth. Google Docs is there to use. I am highlighting just a few of them and have compatible with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. tried to select those that might benefit smaller Some of the more complex things you might do in Excel organizations and informal groups. can’t be done in Google’s spreadsheet, but you can do a lot. Watch this helpful video (not produced by Google) to Please understand I can`t guarantee any of them will meet learn more. your needs, but I use quite a few of them myself (I have Google Calendar: Not only can you do just about anything starred them) and am quite satisfied with how they you can do in Outlook’s calendar, you can share your perform. Google Calendar with others on the Internet. You can also The list is at the end of this document if you want to skip create more than one, so you can have your personal this narrative. If you want to search the Internet for more calendar, an event calendar or an organizational calendar. free software, do a Google search for “Freeware.” Here’s an instructional video. By the way, people who use Outlook can send you a meeting notice that works just like it does in Outlook. Google’s Free Products for Your Organization The trend in the world of software development is to do Google Sites: Google Sites offers you the ability to create everything online. Google is currently working on a a website, an intranet, and a collaborative website. You computer that is built solely for the Internet, meaning you can integrate, Google Calendar and Google Docs into your will do everything online using that system which will be Google Site. They are fairly easy to build and you can also based on their new browser, Google Chrome. Edmonton, Alberta Page 2
  3. 3. FREE and LOW COST SOFTWARE and SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATIONS assign your own domain to them. You can also embed a learn more about all of this. Here are some of the more Google Map in your site. Find out more. well known social media sites/applications and some links to resources to help you understand them. They are listed Picasa: If you need a way to organize your photos on your in no particular order. computer plus create web galleries which can be integrated with Google Sites and other websites, Google’s Picasa is a pretty good tool. Read more about it. Social Networks The popular ones are Facebook and Twitter and if you Blogger: This is Google’s blog building platform and it is want to build your own stand alone social network, pretty good and you can integrate other Google products seems to be the favored platform. You might into it. It is not as good in my opinion as Wordpress, but if want to read my article, `The So What about Social you are going to deploy the other Google products, Networking` which might help you get a sense of what a Blogger may be the way to go. Watch this video. social network can do for your organization or group. There are other Google products like YouTube, Google Groups, and Google Talk, and Google even has its own free 411 service. Social Media Learning Resources If you are thinking of becoming more engaged with clients, volunteers, and/or donors on the Internet or you are Click the image above to watch a fun but helpful video on hoping to create better communication channels with your social networking from stakeholders, or just get the word out about your cause, using social media might be just the thing to help. Note, I Facebook said “might be.” According to Facebook: Founded in February 2004, Facebook is a social utility that helps people communicate If you don’t know why you are doing social media and how more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers. to use it well, you will just waste your time and energy and The company develops technologies that facilitate the likely some money (though social media is not nearly as sharing of information through the social graph, the digital costly as other media like television, radio, etc.). mapping of people's real-world social connections. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they What is “social media?” know in a trusted environment. Here are some definitions: It`s a bit of a gobble-de-gooky description (the social “Social media is media designed to be disseminated graph?) but hopefully you get the gist. There are 300 through social interaction, created using highly accessible million users and half of them are online on any given day. and scalable publishing techniques. Social media uses Internet and web-based technologies to transform You can build your personal page on Facebook and you broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social can build your organization`s Facebook page. If you want media dialogues (many to many). It supports the to know more, here are some links to check out. democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content Non Profits on Facebook: ``This Page is a resource for non- producers” ( profits and other organizations for social good. We built it Okay, that’s a little too jargony. How about this: to help you harness the power of Facebook and bring positive change to the world.`` Social media are online communities where people come together to interact, share information and ideas, learn as Get Started on Facebook for NonProfit Organizations: well as be entertained, and develop relationships or at ``This is a help file originally written for Children's least a shared affinity for a purpose or cause. Such Museums in metropolitan areas that lists how to get communities are typically self-run and participants are started on Facebook. If you can read between the both authors and recipients of content. Social media examples, most of this can be used for any organization software is typically free and fairly easy to use. Social that has a need for a presence on Facebook.`` media is often associated with the term, “social networking. So you want a Facebook Fan Page for Your Nonprofit? Here's the Scoop! This good piece is from Beth's Blog: If you are interested in better understanding social media How Nonprofits Can Use Social Media. and what social media applications might be appropriate for your organization or cause, do some investigation and Edmonton, Alberta Page 3
  4. 4. FREE and LOW COST SOFTWARE and SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATIONS Using Facebook in Your NonProfit: A good piece from The interests, discover new passions, and meet new people Bamboo Project. around shared pursuits. A Beginner`s Guide to Facebook (from TechSoup) Features of Ning Some Existing Non Profit Facebook Pages Nonprofits Using Ning: An Interview with Community World Wild Life Fund Media Workshop and Best Practices American Red Cross United Way Some Non Profit Ning Pages Canadian Cancer Leaders for Communities Live United Twitter CharityOneTV According to Twitter: Simplicity has played an important role in Twitter's success. People are eager to connect with other people and Twitter makes that simple. Twitter asks Software Training one question, "What's happening?" Answers must be If you are a user of Microsoft Office, there are a lot of free under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile training tutorials and presentations you can access online texting, instant message, or the web. from Microsoft Office. No Nonsense Twitter Tutorial via YouTube. Twitter in Plain English – from Commoncraft. 26 Charities and NonProfits on Twitter: Groups like American Cancer and American Red Cross and more. Image from Microsoft`s website: click HERE TO GO THERE. Twitter for NonProfits: How to use the tool for Other Free Training Resources fundraising. Education Online for Computers Blogger Help Another Twitter for NonProfits How to use Google Docs (from eHow) Currently about 12 million people use Twitter. How to make the most out of Google Search How to use Google Sites Some Existing Non Profit Twitter Pages Gmail Tips – the complete collection (okay, not nonprofit, but an example of how a politician uses it). What says about itself: Ning is the social platform for the world’s interests and passions online. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Ning offers an easy-to-use service that allows people to join and create Ning Networks. With more than 1.8 million Ning Networks created and 37 million registered users, millions of people every day are coming together across Ning to explore and express their Edmonton, Alberta Page 4
  5. 5. FREE and LOW COST SOFTWARE and SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATIONS Name Comments Free Mind  Mind Mapping – scroll down the page for the links DimDim Host web conferences for up to 20 people for free GoogleSites  Create your own Intranet or collaborative site for free. This is also called a wiki site. You need a Gmail account but you should have one by now. Free Malicious Software If you think your computer may be infected with malicious software, this tool might Removal Tool  help. Free Bulk Mailer Programs For your email blasts. Many to consider MailChimp  Develop your own online newsletter CutePDF  Free alternative to Adobe’s version. This is an excellent FREE pdf maker. Once you load it, it becomes a printer choice in Word. You print to it and voila, a PDF is made. Photoshop Lite  If you need to use a photo editor but just can’t justify expense of buying Photoshop, use this free online version. It doesn’t have all the features of the purchased version but it seems to have enough and you can store your images online too. Google Analytics  This is Google’s free web stats package and it is among the best you can find. It’s not too complicated really, though you likely need someone who is somewhat web savvy to use it – just like you would with other stats packages. GOOG-411 This is Google’s free 411 service. Why pay up to $1.50 for this service when you don’t have to? BlogSpot and WordPress These are the two premier free blogging platforms. The content manager and the  hosting are free. If you have never blogged you might need some training (Contact us. We do that). Google Docs  This is a free online competitor to Microsoft Office. You can do word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets – and all are compatible with Microsoft Office. Also you can build forms and automatically store the data in a spreadsheet. What is even better is you can collaborate with others in preparing or presenting. Great alternative for small organizations. It`s pretty easy to use, but if you need help we provide training in Google Docs. By the way non-profits can gain a free license to use the enterprise version of Google Docs and Gmail and other Google applications. AVG Anti-Virus  While not for a network, if you have stand alone computers in need of good protection, this free anti-virus software will do the trick. Open Office Want a robust alternative to Microsoft Office and know your files can be opened by Microsoft users? This is a longstanding free productivity suite. More powerful that Google Docs. Picassa  Also by Google is a free photo organizer, which automatically organizes your image files into its own library of images. All this is stored on your computer. You can edit photos too and create web albums. Flickr  (by Yahoo) and These are two more storage sites for photos, but these are online applications. You can  link your photos to your websites or blogs rather easily. I like Flickr the best. Blueberry PDF Form Filler Blueberry's PDF Form Filler is a free program that enables you to fill in and print PDF forms - even those that can't be filled in using Adobe Reader Express Accounts Accounting Express Accounts is a professional accounting application for Windows and Mac that Simplicity allows you to track and report on incoming and outgoing cash flow including sales, receipts, payments and purchases for a single or multiple companies. AdminSoft Accounting With Adminsoft Freeware you can record all your customer details, print sales invoices, Software keep track of who owes you money, record all your supplier details and keep track of who you owe money to, and so much more. File Amigo  Design databases and reports without technical skills! Use FileAmigo for customers, prospect lists, projects, membership, defect tracking, trouble tickets, maintenance schedules, event planning, and much more... Employee Database Employee Database stores data relevant to extensive human resources management Edmonton, Alberta Page 5
  6. 6. FREE and LOW COST SOFTWARE and SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATIONS Name Comments requirements. This is a self-contained database that includes searchable fields, supports importing and exporting and allows you to print the entire database or selected records. Stickies  Sticky Notes for Your Desktop Microsoft Office Templates For Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Access – all by Microsoft.   This is a free online tool that helps you set up meetings or events with people. Facebook  You can set up your organization with a Facebook page for free. I recommend you have a strategy in mind before doing that. See the learning section of this document for more info. Here`s what my facebook page looks like Twitter  Twitter is an in effect a mini blog and might take a little bit to understand how it can help your organization. See the learning section of this document for more info. Here is what my twitter page looks like. Ning  Build your own social network. Use it as an Intranet, a collaborative space, a place for donors or volunteers or members. There is a free version (which has some advertising like Facebook does), but you can get rid of it for $19.95 per month. Here is an example.  This is a pretty good free photo editor. You need to know how to use one to take full advantage of the Internet.  = applications I have used. For more information about the services provided to non profits by Mark Holmgren Consulting, visit our website at . Our site is also a blog and we post articles and resources there regularly that may be of help to your organization. You can sign up for our e-news letter, Anticipate!, there and also hook up with us on Twitter and Facebook. Edmonton, Alberta Page 6