10 Free Resources To Power Your Church Or Nonprofit

10 Free Resources To Power Your Church Or Nonprofit

Don't miss out on these 10 FREE resources (TechSoup, Google for Nonprofits, Ads Grants, Canva for Nonprofits, Free AWS Credits, and more!) to help empower your church's mission through technology.

Starting and managing a nonprofit is no easy task. You've got an amazing mission that inspires those in your community and has the potential to transform many lives, but you're often pulled in so many directions. Casting vision, engaging with your community, recruiting volunteers, and raising funds is just an average day. There's hardly any time left to focus on the technology side of things.

The good news is that there are FREE tools and resources available to church and nonprofits like yours to help power your mission. All it takes is a little bit of time to set them up, and you'll be well on your way to leverage technology and work smarter.

1. Google for Nonprofits Progams

Google for Nonprofits Program is free to sign up for and provides some incredible resources to quickly get your church or nonprofit rganization up and running. Be more collaborative with your team, reach more donors online, engage your supporters with youtube video, and much more.

There are a few steps required to sign up for Google for Nonprofits, but value of what you'll gain is certainly worth it. To enroll in the Google for Nonprofits program, you must meet their elligibility requirements, along with the full eligibility requirements in your country.

Your organization must:

  • Be a nonprofit charitable organization in good standing.
  • Not be a governmental entity or organization.
  • Not be a hospital or healthcare organization.
  • Not be a school, academic institution, or university.

Registration with TechSoup is straightforward, but make sure you have your 501c3 letter handy, since you'll need verify your tax exempt status throughout the process. The most tedious part is registering with TechSoup, but this portion is what Google uses to verify that you're a registered nonprofit organization. TechSoup registration also comes with additional benefits, which we'll dive into later on!

Steps to Apply

  1. Register with TechSoup
  2. Complete the Google for Nonprofits Application
  3. Once verified, enroll in individual products

We'll go in depth with a few of the Google for Nonprofit offerings below, but here's an overview of what you'll be able to enroll in once your organization is verified:

  • G Suite for Nonprofits
  • Google Ad Grants
  • YouTube Nonprofit Program
  • Google Earth & Maps Credit
  • Google Donation Tools

Get Started with Google for Nonprofits, and good luck on your approval!

2. TechSoup Registration + Benefits

TechSoup equips changemakers with transformative technology solutions and skills they need to improve lives globally and locally. More than simply offering discounts on tools, they work with generous donor partners to build a technology product philanthropy program that truly serves nonprofits, libraries, and foundations across the country, and around the world.

Not only does registering with TechSoup give you access to Google for Nonprofits, it also provides you with exclusive discounts from TechSoup partners like Microsoft, Adobe, Dell, Cisco, and more. By signing up, you also get access to partner services like Managed IT, Help Desk support, a network of verified consultants, expert lead e-learning courses, and fundraising opportunities. Checkout their full partner product catalog to see if there's something that will meet a technology need for your nonprofit.

How to Register

  1. Check your eligibilty
  2. Join TechSoup
  3. Get a validation token

Validation tokens are used to confirm with third-party organizations that you're registered with TechSoup.

We hope that your TechSoup registration serves you well and provides lower cost products and services to help you on your mission!

3. G Suite for Nonprofits

Every organization, nonprofit, church, or otherwise, needs a core set of online tools like email, calendar, and document editing in order to collaborate and run your business successfully. G Suite for Nonprofits provides a free, all inclusive platform to help you collaborate more effectively with smart, secure apps so you can focus on what matters most.

G Suite for Nonprofits provides access to G Suite Basic, using your existing domain name, at no charge. It includes the following business apps:

  • Gmail
  • Docs
  • Calendar
  • Drive
  • Hangouts Meet

Getting free access to G Suite Basic for Nonprofits requires you to enroll and be verified in Google for Nonprofits, so use the link above to get started. For a in depth look at features, learn more at the G Suite for Nonprofits website.

4. Google Adwords Monthly Grant

You've got tremendous passion and a mission that will change your community, but there's one significant problem: Nobody knows about you. In order for people to connect with your organization and its mission, you need to get your name in front of the right people at the right time. The good news is that as a nonprofit, there is a free tool to help you do just that!

Once enrolled and approved in the Google for Nonprofits program, you'll gain access to apply for the Google Adwords Monthly Grant. This grant provides access to $10,000 each month (yes you read that right!) for free ad campaigns to raise awareness for your mission, recruit volunteers, and connect with like minded people through in-kind advertising on Google Search.

  • Raise awareness for your organization
  • Drive more website views and activity
  • Track your nonprofit marketing efforts
  • Reach people who need your help

How It Works

You’ll receive $10,000 USD of in-kind advertising from Google each month to create text-based ads, and get access to tools to help you build effective campaigns that can display on Google Search when people look for information related to your nonprofit.

Adwords Express vs Adwords

Through the program you can leverage Google Adwords Express to allow the system to automatically determine the best keywords for your content and manage your campaigns. This is great if you are short on time and want to quickly get up and running. You'll sacrifice some control, but will still benefit from people finding your nonprofit.

Using a standard Google Ads account is also available. This opens up a full set of tool to manage your search campaigns from start to finish, including control over keywords, where your ads show up, fine tuned location controls, reporting, and a host of others resources. If you or someone on your team has the time and dedication, you can really take you ad campaigns to the next level through this option.

Adwords Policy Compliance Requirements

Google requires that you actively monitor your Adwords account and are taking steps to continually improve your campaigns and keywords. Each month, you'll receive a compliance report to help you track this activity.

Here are some of the requirements (Full List w/details):

  • No single-word keywords permitted
  • No overly generic keywords permitted
  • No keywords with a quality score of 1 or 2 permitted
  • Must maintain a 5% click-through rate (CTR) each month
  • Must have valid conversion tracking, if applicable
  • Must have at least 2 ads per ad group
  • Must have at least 2 ad groups per campaign
  • Must have at least 2 sitelink ad extensions
  • Must respond to program survey

While there are many requirements, we've found they are in place to help you craft meaningful campaigns that connect with your potential audience in a way that results in action on your website. Learn more about Google Adwords Grants or visit the Adwords Help Center for more details on how you can start raising awareness for your nonprofit!

5. Google Maps Credit

With the Google Maps Credit, you can develop compelling data visualizations to track and share your organization’s impact. Plus, use Google Maps Platform to help people locate community programs and resources closest to you.

Google for Nonprofits provides Google Maps Platform credits to nonprofits. This credit gives you $250 each month to jumpstart your usage. Build visualizations, create maps, and more using the Maps & Places API or integrate into your existing website or app.

Learn more about the Google Maps Credit.

6. AWS Credit Program for Nonprofits

AWS, short for Amazon Web Services is a developer platform that provides dozens of services like cloud server infrastructure, identity management, cloud based file storage (S3), managed databases, media services, machine learning tools, and lots more so that you can focus on building innovative products and services.

If you're trying to host your own app or website, build a custom application for your nonprofit, or make your infrastructure more scalable in the cloud, then the AWS Nonprofit credit will most likely appeal to you.

The AWS Credit Program for Nonprofits provides access to $2,000 in AWS promotional credits, enabling your nonprofit to implement cloud-based solutions and meet your mission goals without upfront investment in physical infrastructure. Once approved, you can apply it to any services you use or integrate with your AWS account.

There are additional programs that may apply to your nonprofit:

  • AWS Imagine Grant Program. This is a public grant opportunity open to registered 501(c) nonprofit organizations in the United States who are using technology to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.
  • AWS Cloud Credit for Research. This program supports organizations that seek to accelerate their research outcomes through high-performance computing, allowing them to focus on science - not servers.

Visit Amazon's Program for Nonprofits page to learn more and see if your organization qualifies.

7. Microsoft Azure Credits for Nonprofits

Through this program, you can leverage $3,500 of donated Azure services credits per year and access the complete portfolio of Azure cloud solutions and services for your database management, website hosting, data backup and more. Additionally, this nonprofit Azure offer includes up to $1,500 of Azure Active Directory Premium available via donated Enterprise Mobility + Security E3 subscriptions (up to 50 seats).

If you're already running on the Azure cloud or considering a switch, you'll benefit from the savings. Since Rock RMS is a .NET based platform, if you're planning a move to Rock RMS, definitely sign up for the Azure Credit for Nonprofits. Depending on your ministry size, you may be able to completely over the annual costs involved in running your Rock server!

Expore the Azure for Nonprofits program, and apply for the credit.

8. AmazonSmile for Nonprofits

Raising funds is no easy task, but when you partner with Amazon Smile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of elligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.

How can I apply for AmazonSmile?

  • Search for your charitable organization by name or EIN number.
  • Create an organization administrator account.
  • Verify your email address.
  • Submit your organization’s bank account information. (Where funds will be deposited.)
  • Upload a copy of a voided check or bank statement.

It's important to note that in order to be elligible, your nonprofit must be listed with GuideStar and meet the eligibility criteria.

Additionally, even if your organization is a 501(c)(3), it must be a public charity and may not be a supporting organization, unless identified specifically as a Type I, Type II, or functionally integrated Type III supporting organization. You can check your organization's status on the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Search to see if you qualify before applying for AmazonSmile.

9. Rock RMS: Open Source CRM & CMS

Every organizations needs a way to capture information about their donors, volunteers, and people interested in their organization in order to effectively connect with them on a regular basis. There are many existing tools, but sometimes the cost can be prohibitive or they simply don't allow customization to how your church or ministry actually functions. Enter Rock RMS.

Rock RMS is a church management system (ChMS) that puts people right where they should be—at the center of your organization. The basic building blocks for Rock are individuals and their relationships. That is why it's called an RMS—it means Relationship Management System.

From their site: Rock RMS is crafted to make you a ministry superhero with a balance of simplicity and power. Oh, and it's community supported (that means you can afford it).

It's unique in that it's a completely open source platform that you can manage on your own. Rock RMS has a large community available both online and offline for support, tips & tricks, and advice to help you succeed. Rock is run by a nonprofit called Spark Development Network which relies on the generosity of supporters to fund ongoing development.

Rock RMS Features

  • Completely Open Source
  • Developer API
  • Calendar & Event Registration
  • Connections Module
  • Works on Mobile Devices
  • Integrated Content Management System
  • Kids + Volunteer Checkin
  • Group Management
  • People / Family Management
  • Contributions
  • Email / Text Communication
  • Rock Shop Plugins

While it does work best if you have someone on staff or funds to hire one of their partners to help with the setup, Rock RMS is an incredibly powerful tool to help centralize how you manage and communicate with your people, power your website, and provides an enterprise level foundation that can scale with you as your organization grows.

Rock RMS also seamlessly integrates with My Well Ministry to help you reduce your costs for online giving and easily run reports and analysis on your donors.

10. Canva for Nonprofits

As a church, you've got to steward your budget well, ensuring your dollars are going as far as possible. Social Media marketing has become a necessity in our culture, making a must have service. But how can you justify spending money on social media when you need to put more money into your mission?

Canva for Nonprofits empowers your graphic design team to create high-impact social media graphics, designs, and marketing materials. You can even leverage Canva to design print materials and save as a pdf file! Canva offers its premium version free to registered nonprofits.

Easily design high quality graphics for print and social media, using their collection of free and paid templates and imagery. Have a brand style guide that you want your graphic design team to leverage? They provide a customizeable brand kit so your design team can easily use your logo and colors, as they create custom imagery for social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and more.

Here's what the application process looks like:

  • Check if you are eligible. Read the eligibility requirements to see if your organization qualifies for Canva’s Nonprofit Program.
  • Submit application form. Fill out and submit the application form below with all necessary information and the required documentation that verifies your organization’s eligibility.
  • Wait for feedback. The team will review the application and reach out via the email provided in the form with feedback and status of the application.
  • Enjoy Canva for Work, free! Eligible nonprofit organizations are approved and granted nonprofit status that will let you utilize Canva for Work features free for up to 10 members.

If your nonprofit qualifies, Get Started with Canva today so your graphic design team has the best tools to improve your image!

We hope this list made you aware of some of the amazing free tools & resources available to nonprofits to help your ministry succeed while also saving money. 🎉 If you found this article helpful, checkout part 2: 5 Free Resources For Your Church Or Nonprofit To Improve Your Web Presence And Measure Results.

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