The 10 Cloud Apps Revolutionizing Nonprofit Workflows

Many people have had the fulfilling experience of giving back to their community or helping someone in need on a micro level however, it can be difficult for those on the outside looking in to fathom just how much administrative work, event planning, fundraising, and marketing goes into operating an effective nonprofit organization. Today’s 1.5 million nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in the US are under extreme pressure to be radically transparent about their funds, cut down administration costs and still achieve impressive results. The challenge level is high – NPO’s need to be efficient with a low tech, small team in an environment that often faces high turnover due to donated time or below market pay.

Cloud Apps To The Rescue

In recent years, cloud apps have been widely adapted in the nonprofit sector as an answer to these problems. They allow nonprofits to operate with less overhead by performing difficult technical work in the cloud and streamlining daily operations through effective content management. Over 90% of nonprofits who responded to the most recent Nonprofit Technology Network1 survey are using some form of cloud-based software solution.

Nonprofits can successfully create an entire workflow using cloud apps. In fact, once an organization has successfully begun utilizing a cloud solution, they are extremely likely to use more. Of the nonprofits reporting, 80% were using more than one cloud solution for non-critical applications like email, project management, and video conferencing. These apps are all designed to be the best at their specific function – the best at email marketing, or the best at fundraising – however the tricky part is getting these apps to work together.

Completing Your Nonprofit Workflow

The reliance on external funding for NPOs to maintain operations makes fundraising a key initiative thats process can be greatly aided by cloud apps:

  • A program to manage customer relationships will make it easier to remember donor preferences, contact information and a track record of their contributions.
  • Fundraising tools can help nonprofits harness online giving and reach a wider audience of donors than a traditional fundraising event.
  • Fundraising Events require online ticketing programs and other event management functionalities.
  • Marketing apps, for mass email creation, help the organization stay in touch with past and future donors as well as event attendees.
  •  Last, accounting apps round out the complete fundraising cycle, helping nonprofits stay within budget and organize finances. 

At Workato, we make these crucial apps work together in a deeply intricate and accurate manner. These are the top ten apps that every NPO should adopt to create a seamless workflow, increase fundraising capabilities, and lower administrative costs. 


For meticulous customer relationship management

 Before the internet, nonprofits often relied on small, specific groups of people to donate money at fundraising events. This made it easy to keep track of those who donated and stay in contact with them. The alternative was to collect donations at local point of sale spots such as giving a dollar to UNICEF when you check out at the grocery store or a dollar to the Salvation Army outside of the mall. This method left the NPO with no record of who or how much was donated, making customer relationship management impossible.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is still a big challenge today, especially with the advent of online donations. The internet increases the ease with which you can reach and acquire new donors but it also increases the amount of information you need to keep track of. Every donor, whether they came from an online campaign, an event, or an onsite donation spot, needs to be recorded. Salesforce1 for Nonprofits is a powerful tool that can help NPOs keep robust files on each and every donor. 26,000+ higher education & nonprofits use Salesforce as their CRM platform.


For easy event management and visibility


Fundraising Events remain an important way for nonprofits to raise both monetary support and awareness about their cause. Event management apps like Eventbrite will help you sell tickets and manage your guest list with ease.

Eventbrite’s strength lies in its easy to use interface as opposed to other event management tools, especially those built into donor management platforms, which often have a bit of a learning curb. Additionally, Eventbrite has its own network of engaged event-goers that nonprofits can take advantage of to acquire new donors and raise awareness to their cause.

While the event management platform you choose is important, the most crucial element of throwing a fundraising event is being able to easily and accurately follow up with your attendees. It’s easy to lose track of them if you forget to transfer data from your event management software to your CRM software, which may cause you to lose valuable leads on possible repeat donors.


For beautiful, custom email marketing



Building an email list and staying in communication with your donors is an essential part of running a nonprofit. Donors want to be kept in the loop and notified of the achievements your nonprofit has made. A beautiful, customized email not only showcases your progress but also can incites more donations.

 After a fundraising event or an e-campaign, it’s important to establish a line of communication quickly and without mistakes. Mailchimp is one of the most intuitive email platforms on the market with an extremely user-friendly drag and drop design tool and the ability to keep multiple lists. These lists are important to organize your contacts as you wouldn’t want to send a loyal repeat donor the same email as someone who has given you their email but never interacted with the organization further. Mailchimp also allows nonprofits to send newsletters that will automatically optimize for mobile and provides great tracking information within the app. More than 200,000 nonprofits use MailChimp.


For flexible survey creation and response tracking 


Nonprofits serve a mission that all of their donors are a part of. Surveys are the best tool to get a sense of what your donors expect from the organization, what would prompt them to donate more, and their personal preferences for their CRM profiles. SurveyMonkey is an easy to use survey tool and one of the most cost effective way to gather market-research. Nonprofits can also use surveys for event planning, gathering donor feedback, online fundraising, strategic planning and volunteer management/satisfaction.


For collaborating on and sharing information

0_Google Docs

All of the software tools in the Google suite, including drive, docs, sheets, and more, are some of the most versatile day to day apps for nonprofits. They are the keepers of transitory information, allowing multi-person editing and viewing without requiring each person to download the document to their computer. Nonprofits use Google docs to do everything from moving donor lists from one app to the other to sharing the attendee rsvps for an event, writing a press release, or taking notes from a phone call. Google docs will easily integrate with almost all cloud apps, though the transference of information can be time consuming and tedious. 


For affordable fundraising management 


Click and Pledge is one of 3 fundraising platforms included on the list because collecting donations is such a fundamental function for nonprofits. Click and Pledge works best for nonprofits that have a small staff or are on a tight budget due to its affordable pricing. Nonprofits can accept payments online, utilize Salesforce CRM integrations to manage their donor database, and send email through Constant Contact with Click and Pledge. It’s used by nearly 7,000 customers.


For in-depth fundraising management 

0_Raisersedge Raiser’s Edge is one of the nonprofit sector’s most popular fundraising tools and is a comprehensive system that helps larger nonprofits maximize existing fundraising strategies. It is customizable, provides in depth analytics, and transforms financial data into both easy to read dashboards as well as complex reports. 


For a new way to engage with donors and raise money 


While other fundraising tools help you maintain your fundraising efforts that may take place through websites, events, or marketing campaigns, Everyday Hero is it’s own destination that nonprofits can utilize to gather donations. Everyday Hero empowers the donor, acting as its own social network where donors can track their charitable activities and achievements as well locate and interact with others who have similar interests. It allows the donor to access analytics regarding their individual impact while giving nonprofits a great way to reach new people actively looking for ways to contribute to the causes they care about. As we saw with internet campaigns like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, social motivation can make a huge difference and will only become more instrumental to nonprofits in the future.


For small teams to keep track of their numbers 


Nonprofits usually have very tight budgets they need to adhere to. It’s essential to have a program to help track the money coming in and the money going out as well as document it for board members to see. QuickBooks is an excellent accounting app for smaller nonprofits, aiding them in sending invoices, accepting payments, scanning receipts, and paying employees.


For nonprofits with multiple donation channels to keep finances in order 



Intacct is a robust accounting app that is ideal for larger nonprofits as it provides even more in depth analytics and accounting capabilities than QuickBooks. However, it can also require a little more time to learn how to use the program, which may leave smaller nonprofits feeling lost. To use both Intacct and QuickBooks, data needs to be accessed from your CRM and fundraising tools. Making your accounting, CRM, and fundraising tools work together will streamline all of your operations and make your accountant a happy camper!

The Complete Power of Cloud Apps

As the president of Tella Sakamoto Foundation and a trustee at the Silicon Valley Ballet, NPOs are close to my heart. We created Workato to make integration easy for those who are nontechnical and may not have IT resources to fully harness the power of cloud apps – and they have responded. Over 750 Nonprofits are automating their work using Workato with more joining everyday. We are thrilled by the stories we frequently hear detailing how Workato has helped nonprofits around the world integrate and automate their favorite cloud apps, so they have more time to focus on what really matters – their mission.

This is the first installment in a three part series on how nonprofit organizations can utilize cloud apps to their fullest potential. Part 2 will discuss specific Workato integrations between the best cloud apps and how they can benefit nonprofits.



Image Credits: Soup by Green Mangos Catering

About the author
Vijay Tella CEO @ Workato
Vijay Tella is an expert in the integration space and the founder and CEO of Workato, a powerful, DIY integration service for business users to integrate their apps. Prior to founding Workato, Tella exercised his passion for integration as the Chief Strategy Officer of Oracle Fusion Middleware and the Founder and SVP of Engineering at Tibco Software.

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