Nonprofit Tools & Technology - April

This month we’re featuring tools for developing Facebook pages and performance tracking.  As always, our featured tools will cover a broad range of uses - from managing social media campaigns to collecting online donations.  Many were not developed exclusively for nonprofits, but all are selected based on their usefulness, ease of use and cost (most, if not all, will have a free version...).

Shortstack

 
 
 
 
ShortStack – Add functionality to Facebook page tabs

Overview: ShortStack is a tool for creating custom Facebook apps on fan pages.  The tool makes the design/development process significantly easier using templates and widgets, many of which integrate directly with a wide variety of other web services (e.g., YouTube, Twitter, MailChimp, FourSquare).  Many nonprofits are using Facebook pages as their primary website because of the ease of updating/managing, as well as the high traffic levels.  ShortStack lets nonprofits take full advantage of this web presence to engage fans, advocates, volunteers and donors.  While most of the service is fairly intuitive, it will likely still require some development experience to create/customize each Facebook application.  Even if your organization lacks these skills, it is still good to know of this tool as projects can be easily sourced to any web developer.   ShortStack also has a tremendous amount of support resources, including videos that will walk you through every step (e.g., Create a Refer-A-Friend app).  The best way to understand the potential of this tool is to check out the Example page and/or simply sign up for a free account to get first-hand experience using it.

Cost: Basic plan (allowing up to 2,000 Facebook fans) is free, and advanced plans begin at $30 per month.

Potential Uses: Facebook contests, sweepstakes, e-mail sign up, online voting, online “friendraisers”

iRunRun

 
 
 
IRUNURUN – Help individuals and organizations achieve real goals

Overview: IRUNURUN is a performance tracking app (web and iPhone) designed to help individuals/organizations achieve their goals through simple effective actions. It’s a VERY cool tool with MANY applications, including several very interesting uses in the nonprofit sector.  It is essential that an organization’s goals or mission be broken down into simple actions that an individual can do.  The IRUNURUN app lets users define these weekly actions, assign weights and frequencies, and then easily update his or her progress along the way.  Individuals can then track their weekly score (out of 100 points) on a simple dashboard as well as follow the progress of other individuals.   When an organization asks for support, they want people to do something very specific. That action might be to call a politician, e-mail friends or family, eat one more serving of vegetables every day, or share an announcement on Facebook.  Organizations must equip supporters with tools (like IRUNURUN) to empower them to actually make a difference.

Cost: Basic (though fairly robust) plan is free, and advanced plans start at $4.99 per month.

Potential Uses:  Supporter/staff challenges, advocacy weeks/months, grassroots mobilization

- Jeffrey Ader, YNPN Atlanta Marketing Committee Member