Project Management for Nonprofits: 7 Free Tools

Haley Bodine
Haley Bodine

In our nonprofit sector, we all wear a lot of hats. Sometimes, this makes it challenging to organize projects and still maintain high productivity. Thankfully, modern technology has helped to bridge the gap between minimal resources and achievement.

Whether you need help streamlining project workflows, improving communication with your team, or task management and assignments, there’s a project management platform out there that can meet your specific needs.

In this post, we’ve put together a list of the seven best project management tools that will help you reach your goals.

1. Trello

project management tool

Trello is perfect for list-makers.

Whether you work at a single-person operation or on a team,Trello’s project management tool enables your projects to function with a clear organization and flow.

Team members can see your real-time updates, so you can know exactly what tasks have been completed, which ones are pending, and which ones have yet to be started.

A Trello board is simply a list of lists, filled with cards (the basic unit of a board) that you can drag, drop, and re-order as needed. You can move cards from list to list to show status progression, and you can add people to cards, label them, vote, attach files, start conversations, create task checklists, and so on.

Trello boasts that they’re, “simple on the surface, with more under the hood.” The concepts of cards and lists are basic, but the additional features they offer allow you to work on even the largest projects with ease.

By opening a card you can add comments, upload files, add labels and include due dates. Plus, there are no limits to the number of people you can add to your team for free, which is a great benefit for nonprofits.

One great feature of Trello is the ability to create cards and comments via email. Each board has a special email address you can use to create cards. You can also reply to notifications via email without opening Trello.

The company is committed to keeping things simple without extra features you won’t use. So, if you like to keep things neat, clean, and organized, Trello is a great free option.

2. Asana

project management tool

Asana features a number of practical features and benefits.

Whether you have a big or a small project, your team is sure to stay organized and on track by utilizing Asana’s basic tools: project workflows, task assignments, team establishment, due dates, and comments.

On the communication-front, Asana only sends relevant updates to team members. This means that you and your team are not inundated with information that is irrelevant to your part of the project.

Additionally, at-a-glance status tracking means that you do not have to send or receive emails to know exactly where your project stands.

More advanced features include the ability to upload documents, and multiple integrations. You can also invite guests to your teams, enabling you to collaborate with outside vendors and contractors.

Asana is free for up to 15 users. If you have additional users, or you would like to upgrade to utilize more advanced features, Asana Premium is available for $11.99 or less per user per month as of this posting.

3. Freedcamp

project management tool

Freedcamp is a versatile project management tool.

It’s perfect whether you want to organize your personal life (and finally throw out the sticky notes) or if you’re managing robust nonprofit goals and projects.

You can customize how you track based on what works for you. If you are a list-maker, great! Sticky notes? No problem. Calendar? Freedcamp has you covered. You receive unlimited users, unlimited projects, and 200MB of storage for free.

One unique feature is Freedcamp’s time tracker, which allows you and your team to track the amount of time spent on tasks, and then bill those tasks using the invoice app.

If you require more robust features, you can opt to upgrade your account to a paid account. The nice thing about Freedcamp’s paid options is that you can select exactly what you need (more storage, CRM, invoicing, etc.), instead of paying for what you might not use.

4. MeisterTask

project management tool

MeisterTask offers incredible functionality with their free accounts: customizable dashboards, free apps for mobile and PC devices, and integration with MindMeister, the online mind-mapping app that lets you brainstorm with others in real-time and create project plans visually.

Essentially, this allows you and your team members to brainstorm and collaborate remotely. From there, you can drag and drop ideas into tasks connected to your projects.

MeisterTask’s free plan includes two integrations, customizable dash and project boards, checklists, comments, and attachments. If your organization needs more than the basic plan,MeisterTask’s Pro-Plan is available for only $8.25 per user, per month and the Business Plan begins at 20.75 per user, per month. The upgrade includes unlimited integrations, workflow automations with Section Actions, and statistics and reports.

5. Bitrix24

project management tool

Bitrix24 prides itself on being a powerful project management tool with the intuitive communication features found in social media networks.

Users access an activity stream, which includes a real-time update feed where all changes and new additions by associated users are visible. This feature ensures no one in your organization is left in the dark on project statuses.

There is even an option to “like” updates in the activity stream in situations where opinions and comments are needed and warranted.

Functional features include standard workflows (leave requests, business trips, expenses, purchases, general requests), email integration, employee workload management, and more.

Paid plans range in cost from $39 per month to $199 per month, and offer added options like reports, call analytics and reports, and CRM record conversions.

6. ClickUp

project management tool

If you’ve tried other project management tools and weren’t impressed, then give ClickUp a go.

ClickUp has a clean interface with three different viewing options designed to appease a variety of users. If you tend to work on more than one project at one, you can use the multitask toolbar to make sweeping changes to all or just a select few tasks.

This tool has features designed for every type of user, from managers to designers and developers. Whether you need to make comments and perform simple projects or need a complex system to track time and create schedules, this program has the capability. As a bonus, their list of possible integrations is gigantic and noteworthy.

ClickUp is free for unlimited users and up to 100MB of storage. If you need a more robust storage system, check out the Unlimited Plan, which starts at $5 per user per month.

7. Basecamp

project management tool

Basecamp is designed to help you and your team stay accountable and to keep “everyone on the same page.”

Similar to most other project management tools, Basecamp is built around to-do lists. Users can create, modify, assign, add notes, and complete to-dos as necessary. This platform offers multiple avenues to foster communication and collaboration, including message boards, direct messaging, and a “Campfire” group chat function. Other key pros of this tool include a scheduling feature, file storage, notifications, report options, and a customizable interface.

You can try Basecamp out for free for 30 days, but the price goes up to $99/month for unlimited users after the trial period.

Your organization must maximize your efforts by operating efficiently to continue moving forward to reach your goals and make an impact in the world.

Affordable, high caliber project management tools like each of these will help you stay focused, organized, and on budget. With the variety of features and benefits offered by the platforms listed here, you should be able to successfully find a tool that fits your nonprofit’s needs.

This post was orginially published in August 2016 and has been updated to reflect changes and additional recommendations.

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