We’re hard at work over here on our Field Guide to Software for Nonprofits: Marketing, Outreach and Communications – a small reference book that will help nonprofits think through what types of systems would be effective for them based on the processes that they need to support and their current technology level.
We’re taking on 39 different types of software for that, including a few areas that we have little prior research about. As part of our guerrilla research process for this, I thought I’d put some of them up here for your comments. Did we get it right? Are we missing important things? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Many thanks to Mark Sansone at See3 Communications for helping us out with this piece– though any mistakes are our own, as he hasn’t seen this version!
If you want to create videos or podcast with even a basic level of polish, you’ll need editing software. These tools allow you to cut out pieces you don’t want, splice together different sections, and overlay things like titles onto your piece. For a podcast, you may want to edit an interview down for length, cut out “um”s and pauses to add a more professional polish, and then add some music and a voice over introduction to the beginning. For a video, you might cut an interview with a constituent together with scenes of your program participants, and put a title screen at the beginning.
While good editing takes time and some skill, a number of low-cost and straightforward editing tools have put the software within any nonprofit’s reach. If you’re using a Mac, iMovie
(which comes free with the computer) is a great editing tool for straightforward movies. The free editing software available for PCs (like Windows Movie Make
r and Pinnacle Systems’ VideoSpin
) often impose substantial and confusing limitations (like what formats you can import and output, or insistent front-and-center ads), but Adobe Premiere Elements
($15 for nonprofits on TechSoup
, or about $140 retail) provides friendly features very similar to iMovie.
Found that you’ve outgrown the low-cost options – for instance, you want to create more robust animations or special effects? On the Mac, Final Cut Express
or Final Cut Pro
provide logical stepping stones; Adobe Premiere
is also a widely used on either PC or Mac. These products, all under $1000, are likely to provide all the power that a nonprofit is likely to need before it makes sense to hire a professional video editor.
On the sound editing side, both GarageBand
(for the Mac) and Audacity
(for the PC) are free and solid tools that provide all the functionality a nonprofit is likely to need for in-house work.