Some say that money makes the world go round. Freegans , the Beatles, and I beg to differ… I’m with the Fab Four: all you need is love.
Ok, so most people still need some money.
This need for basic funds is especially apparent than when one is starting a community initiative or social change project – while rich in passion and dreams of making a difference, many of us are simply short of cash (at least in the beginning).
Fret no more, cash-strapped idealists. For I hereby present you with links to 23 free online tools to help you get your social venture started:
If you need help to collect the clutter of ideas and thoughts about your project in one place and want to organise it into useable information that can be accessed wherever you are, check out Evernote. A basic account is free.
Once you’re ready to kick off your project, you need to be professional about it. Unfortunately, business software tends to be expensive. Luckily there are a multitude of free software options available online:
- Google Analytics provides free basic reporting on your website traffic
- Google Reader, Omea Reader, and Twitter help you keep in-the-loop about what’s happening in the world and who is talking about what
- If you need anti-virus protection for your computer avast!, AVG, and Microsoft Security Essentials are all free to download
- Free alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite of software can be found online at thinkfree and Google Documents, with Prezi and PreZentit also offering free online presentation creation tools
Getting the message out about what you are doing and engaging others in your cause will be essential. Many websites provide free blogs which will allow you to set up a simple and interactive online presence. Try WordPress, Blogger, or Tumblr.
Keeping in touch
Communication is also important when you are setting up your business. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and many others provide free email accounts. If you want to get fancy you can create an email address using your own website domain, although there is a charge associated with this.
Phone for free with Skype. It’s free to download and provides free voice and video calls between online users, very cheap international call rates to landlines, and free conference calling and instant messaging. You can also set up voicemail and link your account to a landline phone number for a small fee.
Finally, meeting other like-minded people is a great way to keep momentum and spring-board your project to new heights. Free websites such as Meetup and Idealist can help get you in touch with other people in your community who are passionate about your cause.
If you know of any other free tools and software that may be useful to social changers like us, please post your suggestions in the comments.
Good luck in your social adventures and Merry Christmas to you all!
(Great big thanks to the fabulous Carlo Diy for providing the inspiration for this post and recommending many of the tools on the list)