What's on The Nonprofit Cloud?

Decreasing governmental support means some nonprofits have to work twice as hard to achieve the same result. For others, the removal of funding and resources could mean having to shut down altogether. With an unstable financial climate, nonprofits have had to learn to be extremely creative in raising funding, almost as if making gold from dust.

Additionally, technology is seen as expensive or complicated, and nonprofits oftentimes hire people with limited technological education or experience to create their site or to manage their online campaigns (in order to save costs of hiring a professional).

With the ever growing hi-tech shift into the cloud, a multitude of applications and services have arisen that could greatly reduce the difficulties that nonprofits face daily. The three main components of their struggle are funding and resource management, security and information management, and outreach.

Here we look at each of the three aspects and suggest some cloud apps and services that  nonprofits can use to help them thrive.

Funding and resource management

In order to stay in the black, nonprofits have to be meticulous about every penny spent and earned. Google Apps for Nonprofits is Google’s specialized service to help nonprofits run. It contains all the same apps available in Google apps for business like Gmail, Calendar and Drive, and it is only $50. There are also a number of other collaboration services that create a centralized bank of information so data can be easily tracked and stored.

There are also customer relations manager (CRM) tools that can be immensely helpful with fundraising. Service providers such as trailblazer or SalesForce’s cloud for good services are specially designed to help you manage your money as well as your campaigns. If you use Salesforce CRM and Google Apps, then you should consider support apps like Cirrus Insight.  This app puts essential Salesforce data on a side panel in your Gmail, and offers a 50% discount for nonprofits.

There are also amazing services specifically geared around project management like Basecamp or Huddle.

Web conferencing is often a large part of the fundraising process and there are some great services such as Citrix Online’s GoToWebinar, or even Office 365.

Cloud storage is now an essential part of every company and many give unlimited storage with great pricing so make sure to look around before signing up to any brand.

Having Paypal options for donations can help donors feel more comfortable donating to your site.

Security and information management

Many nonprofits hold highly sensitive information that needs to be handled with discretion whether it relates to donor, employee and volunteer, or client information. Many cloud storage providers offer military grade encryption ensuring data stored there is completely safe.  Additionally, services like Cloudlock ensure an extra level of security for all of your sensitive information.

There are also office and data management software’s that allow for more effective fundraising and office management, such as Alfresco and other providers that allow for online editing and group collaboration.


One of the first aspects of having a charity is having a good website to send people to about who you are and what you do. Many web hosting providers have made web hosting management mobile. So managing your site has become totally hassle free. Also, a number of web hosting providers offer free hosting to charities as long as you give accreditation at the bottom of the site.

Once you have a site you need to spread the word and get your name ‘out there.’ Social media is great for this in raising awareness and increasing engagement. For those who prefer the traditional email outreach method, there are services such as Vertical Response who work with Salesforce CRM to help you track the strength of your campaign and give you comprehensive reports so you can see how many people opened you email etc. Vertical Response gives 10,000 emails free per month and is also connected to social media including both Twitter and Facebook.

Another way of getting your name out there is Google AdWords. This ensures you are seen by the right people by only targeting the audience who is looking for services related to yours. Google actually has an AdWords for Nonprofits program called Google grants. They gives $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords™ advertising on Google search result pages.

There are also service providers like npcloud that will help nonprofits migrate to the cloud. They support you from migration through maintenance and upgrades for long term cloud management, so cost is kept to a minimum.

The cloud has done amazing things for businesses worldwide and once adopted in the nonprofit sector, we can expect it to have as much of an impact in the long run.