Summary: Become more efficient and effective with my top five productivity tools to increase your reach and grow your social business or nonprofit online. The productivity tools featured in this article are Flodesk, Metricool, Trello, Calendly, and Descript.
Become Both an Efficient and Effective Social Entrepreneur
Productivity hacking is only for the savvy social entrepreneur. You will need to maximize your time and energy, which means you need to understand how you currently work and come up with an even better game plan.
That might sound impossible, but that’s why technology is our friend.
Imagine if you could reach two times more people with half the effort and time?
Now imagine if all of those people were the people who you need to buy a product or service from you or donate to your organization.
When you’re trying to increase your productivity, you don’t want to choose efficiency over effectiveness. You want to have both.
Growing a sustainable venture will give you plenty of opportunities to try to figure out how to be as efficient as possible with the highest level of effectiveness.
Social Impact Organizations Need to Embrace Tech Solutions
When I started my career in the nonprofit sector in 2000, technology was a huge server, and a dude named Philip who managed the whole thing. That was “cutting edge” back then. We had a website, a donor management system (Raiser’s Edge), and online event registration.
Imagine how normal those things are for nonprofits today. Servers are cloud subscriptions, client management systems can be found online for free, and you can contact your own Philip on Fiverr.
So what’s the difference between social enterprise and the business sector? Many social enterprises struggle to leverage marketing, social media, and technology to maximize their impact and funds.
The types of education that social entrepreneurs get from (social work to teaching) typically don’t emphasize marketing or online solutions. That means “helpers” can find new ways to leverage technology and online platforms to do work that previously you needed to hire someone for. Or to scale using freeware and online learning portals.
The opportunities are endless, however, we first need to understand what tools exist and how to use them to grow your reach online.
Grow Your Nonprofit’s Reach Online
If you have a nonprofit organization, you’re most likely looking to connect with three types of people- clients, donors, and volunteers. Each of these groups presents an opportunity to develop a strategy that is both efficient and effective at reaching and serving these audiences.
When you are looking for volunteers, focus on places where people can demonstrate they have an interest in what you do. LinkedIn is a great place to look for prospective board members and volunteers. People can add their interest in finding a volunteer opportunity right on their profile. That means this platform is a great place for nonprofits to build a presence and demonstrate their work. Many small nonprofits skip LinkedIn thinking it is for recruitment or job seekers. There are vibrant nonprofit groups on Linkedin that offer connections to consultants, peers, and experts.
If you are looking for donors, you’ll want to maximize your reach online and drive them to a place where they will engage with your content and donate. Think of this as your sales process. That means your efficiency strategy should include a clean and clear website that makes it compelling and easy for people to donate. Recently, I helped one of my clients re-strategize her website to improve the donor experience. She found someone to re-do the layout and greatly improve the navigation for only $100 on Fiverr.
Most importantly, when you are connecting with the people you serve you want to eliminate as many barriers as possible. That includes creating easy ways for people to sign up for services, register for events, ask questions, and seek help. Increasing your reach for your clients means providing accurate and up-to-date information in ways that are easy for them to understand in places where they can easily find and share the information. That sounds like a lot but you’ll see how the tools below can help you do this. For small nonprofits, this will take some time and effort to figure out but making your help accessible is something that will help you grow and sustain your work over time.
Grow Your Social Business Online Using Productivity Tools
As the online world continues to grow and change, businesses have the opportunity to do more than making a profit. Consumers are increasing their expectations that the brands they consume help others and contribute to society.
If your business has a social impact mission, you can leverage online tools and spaces to showcase your impact-driven work. There are a lot of platforms where people are interested in consuming products from small businesses that are using eco-friendly products that are sustainably sourced. Tapping into these spaces and contributing your special sauce is one way to grow your reach with the right kind of consumers.
That might include joining Facebook groups of similar and aligned interests to share your work. On a recent discovery call with a client that builds businesses that align to your chakras, we talked about this topic. I reminded her that she could drop into any one of her Facebook groups where women sell and trade crystals and likely find clients who want chakra-aligned businesses.
For social entrepreneurs, the opportunities to connect with your clients and target audiences are endless online. Make sure you are doing this in an efficient manner because you can’t be everywhere doing all the things.
The Best Way for Your Nonprofit or Business to Grow with Productivity Tools
Focus your energy on the places and spaces that contribute the most to your growth. That might mean you need to do an audit to figure out what platforms you should focus on.
You might also need to look at your content’s video, image, and copy so you can determine what your audience is looking for and how to best serve them. The best way to grow your nonprofit or social business online is to demonstrate your impact and avoid being “the best-kept secret”.
Let’s assume you’re already on multiple platforms with thousands of followers, that’s great! What more can you do?
- See what else you can automate
- Continue growing your email list
- Reach more people via social audio
- Align your content creation with your keyword strategy
- Invest in search engine optimization for your website
There are loads of ways to help your impact and profit mission grow. You have to decide what tools are the best monetary and time investments so you can leverage tech like a pro.
Top 5 Productivity Tools for Social Impact Businesses and Nonprofit Organizations
As promised, here is the list of the top 5 productivity tools you need right now to hack your social business or nonprofit organization’s reach.
These tools are some of my favorite platforms that I use daily, so this is an honest review of each of them. Although, full disclosure- these may be affiliate links. (Gotta get those 7 streams of income y’all!)
#1- Trello- Productivity Powerhouse
Trello is a God-send of an app. I’ve used Trello to organize my entire life since I discovered it in 2015. I organize the recipes I want to cook, my dog’s health, and my business with Trello.
Trello is a board-based organization and productivity tool that allows you to keep track of details on “cards”. A card can include notes, attachments, links, due dates, and other features they call “boosts”.
As a social entrepreneur, you can use Trello to organize your entire strategy for your business or nonprofit. I teach my clients how to use Trello to stay on task with 12-week planning based on the Brian Moran book. This system helps them complete all the basic tasks a social entrepreneur needs to do to grow.
Bottom Line- If you are disorganized, have a ton of post-its everywhere, or you frequently lose things… this is the tool for you. Start with a template or blank board. Either way, you can develop your own system to stay organized and on task.
Why You Want this: Trello is team-based. You can invite your business partners, staff, or others to your board to keep them on task too.
This Will Cost You: Trello is FREE! You can get the pro version for one of your workspaces, it will cost you $120 per year.
I subscribe to pro because it gives me the ability to share cool templates like this one with you guys.
#2- Metricool- Social Media Super Dash
Metricool is my latest subscription and I’m glad I made the investment. Features are being added to the platform and app continuously making it a great replacement for your current social media scheduler.
Metricool will let you plan and schedule posts to most of the major social media platforms, including Google My Business. That’s how many options there are. It allows you to see a day, week, or month’s worth of scheduled posts. You can duplicate posts and share them on other social media platforms easily. You can also schedule an RSS feed or upload a .CSV file of multiple posts to schedule in a batch.
The thing that sets Metricool apart from other scheduling platforms is their analytics dashboard. You can track all your analytics from your social media platforms and your website on one dashboard. It’s pretty accurate but there is a drawback. You can’t track an individual LinkedIn account, only a business page. Which makes no sense but maybe they’ll change that in the future.
Bottom Line- Metricool will help you 10X your reach by scheduling regular social media posts so you can worry about engagement and other more important things. It will also help you make data-informed decisions about where to spend your time and advertising money.
Why You Want this: The investment in Metricool is worth the money. For all the features you need in one place this powerful tool is worth the pro version.
This Will Cost You: Metricool has a free version with 1 account linked to most major platforms. The paid accounts you can link between 5 – 50 accounts. This is great if you manage social media for other people or multiple teams/brands. You’ll invest about $144 per year for Metricool’s pro subscription.
#3- Calendly- Autobot for Your Calendar
You might already be using Calendly, but I’m here to tell you that you’re probably not taking full advantage of the tool’s offerings. Calendly can make you a follow-up automated machine.
Calendly allows you to completely brand your organization’s page and set details for individual events. You can create calendars specific for a program or client or a reoccurring group meeting. There is also a polling feature where you can find the best time for a group to meet.
There are two features in Calendly you might not be familiar with but they add mad juice to your follow-up game. The first is called __. This allows you to give a set of questions to your contacts and book on a specific calendar depending on how they answer the questions. This is fantastic for volunteers or partners that you want to collaborate with but have two different options for when you want to connect with whom.
The second feature is in the __ menu and it allows you to set a series of automated follow-up emails that will be sent before or after your meeting. You can set a tailored welcome or reminder email before your meeting or a thank you and follow-up sequence after. This feature helps you dominate your follow-up goals because you can set it and forget it. This means you can maximize your efficiency and your effectiveness, yes! Finally!
Bottom Line- Calendly will deduplicate your appointments on your Google calendar while booking new appointments for your clients, donors, volunteers, or staff. You can keep all your calendars in one place and connect your Zoom account so recipients get the info directly from you booking page.
Why You Want this: This is one of the more cost-effective tools considering this is how your leads will find you. This is a direct money-making client-serving tool that every social entrepreneur should invest in. Plus you look more professional when you’re trying to scale.
This Will Cost You: Calendly Professional is worth the investment currently at $112/year.
#4- Flodesk- Good Lookin’ Emails
People ask me all the time what email service I use. I tried several and have looked at many over the years. I chose Flodesk because of how easy to use their interface is. They are continually updating their platform and the investment is reasonable for the features.
I do wish they had a better way to keep your segments organized, individualized confirmation pages for lead magnet delivery, and more flexibility within their templates. But they do make some great-looking emails.
If you’re just starting out building your email list, Flodesk is easy to use and you can import your existing list directly to the platform using a .CSV file. Their landing pages, forms, and workflows are easy to set-up. That makes this platform extremely beginner-friendly.
Bottom Line- Whether you’re growing an existing list or starting out, Flodesk will help you connect to your audience regularly. Online social media, you own your email list and you can reach out to them whenever you need to. Having a good email management system is important to grow your reach and stay consistent with your communications efforts.
Why You Want this: Flodesk charges you a flat rate, no matter how large your email list grows. If you get a referral link from an awesome affiliate (like me!) you’ll get xx off your subscription. (Here’s your link BTW, you’re welcome)
This Will Cost You: I locked in Flodesk at $209 per year at a 50% off discount during the beta. With this coupon, you can lock in this amazing online gem at the same rate- 50% off.
#5- DeScript- Content Creation Level DEFCON 5
This is the big daddy of online productivity tools that rocked my world in the past year. I thought I didn’t need it. I tried buying a modestly-priced video editing software. Then I tried DeScript and I haven’t looked back.
DeScript is more than a video and audio editing software. It turns your video or audio into a transcript that you can use to edit the video or audio. You can also add overlays and visuals to your file.
This sounds simple, but I promise the opportunities are endless to increase your reach with less effort and much more badass content. Here are a few ways I use DeScript:
- Turn my Clubhouse room audio into a podcast episode
- Turn my podcast episode into a blog post
- Turn my Clubhouse room audio into short videos with Canva graphics
- Turn my classes and workshops into short videos for Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok
Ok that’s just a few ways that I use DeScript but there are a ton more. This is where you go from novice to super duper pro status. You can turn virtually any content you create into a video and export a portion or all of your project into video, audio, or a text file.
That means, you could even turn your live videos that you use to reach your audience into content that you can use on at least 5 other platforms. How cool is that? I mean really, that’s why this is DEFCON 5 level tip… you need this I promise.
Bottom Line- DeScript saves you a ton of time and effort to get your message to more audiences on more platforms leveraging audio, video, and text formats. You can also assign speakers and share your project to the web so others can access it via a direct URL.
Why You Want this: DeScript is a big investment. It will save you time and makes video editing easy for any beginner to pick up. Given more content on social media is video-based you will need to have video as part of your strategy. Bonus, if you’re leveraging social audio to increase your reach, you can use the same editor for both formats. It also has a screen record and a video capture feature that work really well so you can record course lessons and videos for your community.
This Will Cost You: DeScript’s pro subscription currently costs $288 per year.
There you have it, my top 5 productivity tools you need right now to grow your social business or nonprofit organization.
Savvy social entrepreneurs can invest just under $700 per year on all of these tools and have a complete productivity suite with a video/audio editor, calendar, project management, social media, analytics, and email marketing suite. That’s pretty cool in my book.
Keep Growing Your Reach Online
Good luck increasing your reach, and if you want help, check out this course on how to increase your impact and reach via social media and your website.
To track your monthly growth, download my free Impact and Reach tracker. This tool allows you to track and analyze your reach on social media and your website each month. The tool can guide your keyword strategy and help you identify the ideal social media platform.