By Alan Tyson, CEO of DATABASICS – a software product that enables nonprofits to report, approve, and track employee hours, activities, and spending from anywhere, something that is especially important in an increasingly decentralized environment.

In the face of tremendous adversity and growing need, nonprofits are doing incredible work at a critical time. Choosing the right productivity software can help augment these efforts, enabling nonprofit teams to perform excellent work from anywhere in the world.

Fortunately, there has never been a more robust ecosystem of productivity software, and many solutions can be implemented at little or no cost for nonprofits. Here are five categories that every nonprofit must address to be effective in 2021.

1) Video Conferencing

Physical distancing guidelines will keep many nonprofits decentralized well into 2021. In the meantime, nonprofits need to connect with donors, constituents, board members, and, most prominently, each other. Therefore, choosing the right video conferencing platform is an operational necessity. Along the way, nonprofits need a service that offers a low barrier to entry, prioritizes user experience, and provides exceptional video and sound quality.

Recommendation Zoom

Zoom allows organizers to schedule calls, invite guests, and moderate meetings. What’s more, organizers can create and share audio and video recordings, making it a powerful tool for hosting board meetings, fundraising events, staff events, and more. With a free tier offering up to 40 minutes of meeting time for up to 100 participants, it’s a great option for nonprofits looking to maximize capacity while restraining costs.

2) Online Document Sharing & Management

There has never been a better time to make document management and collaboration a priority. With multiple products from every major tech platform, nonprofits have many options available. However, when it comes to document management and collaboration, Google Drive stands alone as the best option for nonprofits.

Recommendation Google Drive

Not only does Google Drive offer free and low-cost packages exclusively for nonprofits, but the apps are broadly compatible with other services, including Microsoft Word, ensuring that usability is at the forefront of the product.

3) Time Management & Expense Reporting

Nonprofits face shrinking budgets and increasing demands for more transparent spending. For many donors, it’s a prerequisite to contributing. In other words, compliance, accountability, and efficiency are mission-critical, and they are achieved through effective time management and employee expense reporting systems.

Recommendation ► DATABASICS

DATABASICS allows nonprofits to report, approve, and track employee hours, activities, and spending from anywhere, something that is especially important in an increasingly decentralized environment. This positions nonprofits to demonstrate value, empowering them to engage potential donors and maximize operational potential.

4) Internal Communications Tools

Communication and collaboration often occur in real-time, meaning that, in many cases, email or shared documents don’t get the job done. The solution is a nimble communication platform that is comprehensive, enabling everything from one-on-one conversations to cohesive group threads.

Recommendation ► Slack

Offering a nonprofits discount program that makes the platform free or highly-affordable, Slack is the go-to internal communications platform. Threaded conversations, document management, and simple UI, make it easy for teams to collaborate on a grant proposal, communicate constituent needs, and even organize a lunch meet up.

#5 Online Calendar

Keeping teams organized and synched can be a convoluted process, but the right calendar option can remedy this problem. Nonprofits need a solution that’s platform-agnostic, mobile-friendly, and tightly integrated with other services.

Recommendation ► Google Calendar

Nonprofits can use this free service to schedule weekly meetings, donor calls, and other events. The calendar communicates with other apps, allowing everyone to use their preferred apps without undermining continuity.


Adopting the right productivity software doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Rather, it’s an opportunity to streamline operations, control costs, maximize efficiency, and improve output. In 2021, choosing the right productivity software can allow nonprofits to do more with less, something that many people are counting on them to do in the year ahead.

Author Bio: Alan Tyson serves as the CEO of DATABASICS, an enterprise-grade time and expense management solutions provider recognized by leading global organizations for its deep expertise, next-gen technology, and customer-focused platform including such nonprofits, associations and philanthropies as the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, The Trust for Public Land, ATSSA, Pathfinder International, National Quality Forum, , and American Academy of Physician Assistants. Connect with Alan on LinkedIn or follow on Twitter @DATABASICSinc.