I’m always looking for free or low-cost tools that can be easily implemented into our student ministry to save time, money, resources, and increase productivity. When I come across tools that are useful to our team, I love to pass them on. Here are five tools that we’re using that you should definitely look into:
Canva is a free online design tool. There are tons of pre-formatted templates for all kinds of uses (on-screen presentations, social media posts, posters and flyers, eBook covers, and plenty more). It’s simple to use (virtually no learning curve), and the only cost is an optional per-use fee for certain graphics. You can also simply import your own graphics to keep things free. I love Canva and use it almost daily. Sidenote: There’s also a free WordPress plug-in for those who want to build it into their site.
2. Google Drive
Google Drive is an incredible tool for storing and sharing resources. We use it constantly…I can’t even explain how great it is. It’s free to create a Google account and there’s no cost for your first 30GB of storage. I also have a Dropbox account, but Drive comes with way more storage at the free level, and I’ve always felt that it’s much more user friendly. It also seamlessly syncs with Gmail and all of the other free Google apps, and there are free and simple mobile apps as well.
Buffer is a free tool that allows you to schedule social media posts ahead of time. I find this to be very useful when I know there are things I want to send out at a certain time, but don’t want to have to worry about remembering to post it later. The down-side to Buffer is that it does not work with Instagram, which is the social network most students use. But for Facebook and Twitter posting (it also does LinkedIn, if that’s useful to you), it’s really handy. Buffer has an online app and a mobile app.
Fiverr is an inexpensive way to get professional design, audio, voiceover, or other creative work done that will save you so much time it’ll blow your mind. I used to create all of our visual media from scratch…then I found Fiverr and started outsourcing some projects, and it frees up a lot of time and mental energy for other work. Browse around for 10 minutes and you’ll have 100 ideas for ways to use it to save time and get better results in the long run.
Trello is a free project management platform. If you have a staff or volunteer team that works together on projects for your ministry, business, or whatever, Trello will help you streamline your workflow and keep clear communication going between the people on your teams or committees. Once you dig in a little bit, you’ll find many different ways to put it to work in your ministry. It’s perfect for managing multiple projects at once.
6. SYM Tools Database
SYM Tools are a group of online tools designed for student ministry. While several of them require a monthly subscription, the database tool is free, and since it’s designed specifically with youth ministry in mind, it’s perfect for keeping track of students’ information. We also use the paid apps, which all talk to each other to make data tracking, communication, and event administration a snap.
What other productivity or administrative ministry tools do you recommend? Share your favorites in the comments below!