Communicate with your community

Talking to your community successfully is a big challenge... but one we all need to master! Communicating is as much about listening to what your community want as telling them all about what you're up to.

The following tools can help you set up a free website, start a blog, send out newsletters, ask for feedback and communicate through social media. 

Already use digital tools to communicate? Add your favourite tools and share your experience with others.

http://www.google.com/apps/

Google Apps

4.125

With Google Apps, you can access your emails, calendar and documents from anywhere as long as there’s an internet connection. You can also use Google forms for surveys, Google chat for instant messaging and Google Hangouts for video conferencing.

 
Everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment and Blackpool Wyre & Fylde Council for Voluntary Service is no different. Project Manager Kim Wood decided to see what he could do to make savings and started to research tools that might help. He came across Google apps which had made a real impact on the way he and his team work.
http://www.squared5.com/

Squared 5 - Media File Convertor

4

Cameras, phones and various media devices often record media in a range of formats. This video converter lets you change your file types to be able to make use of them in the format you need.

http://www.google.co.uk/analytics

Google Analytics

4.5
Google Analytics is a powerful tool that enables you to see what is happening on your website or social media platforms. You can easily create reports to find out how many people are using your site what they are looking at and where they are coming from.
 
Vicky from UK online centres uses Google Analytics to get a view of how the organisation's websites are being used, and where improvements can be made. Here she tells us why it's so useful.
http://www.blogger.com/

Blogger

3.75
Blogger is (as the name implies!) an easy way to get going with a blog, whether for yourself, your organisation or even your community project.
 

Mohamed from Southern Housing Group talks about how they have used Blogger.

https://www.sumall.com

SumAll

4.5

SumAll is a really useful tool that allows you to track and monitor your social media accounts.

http://www.ipadio.com

Ipadio

4

A tool that lets you broadcast live to the web from a phone call

https://maps.google.com/

Google Maps

5
Whether you're walking, driving, taking public transport or you're on your bike, you can use Google Maps to find your destination.
http://www.pixlr.com

Pixlr

4.5

For any fans of Photoshop this is such an excellent site to use. If you have ever wanted the functionality of image manipulation, cropping, merging - the usual things you would like to use out and about - then this tool is highly recommended.

http://www.dotmailer.co.uk/

dotMailer

4
The dotMailer suite of features help you easily run email and SMS campaigns, and can integrate with your CRM and content management systems.
 
Martin Lord from Northampton & District C.A.B describes how they effectively approached front line professionals within third sector organisations to communicate important Welfare Reform messages
http://streetlife.com/

Streetlife

4.4
Connect and share with your local community on Streetlife - the local social network.
http://www.facebook.com/

Facebook

3.75

Facebook is a hugely popular free social networking site that that enables registered users to create profiles, send and receive messa

 
Community Social and Economic Development Worker Louise Barbé has been part of the team at West Harton Churches Action Station for just over two years. As a ‘late starter’ with technology herself, she knows just how frustrating learning to use a computers and the internet can be. It’s her job to make things as easy as possible for the learners of West Harton!
http://www.youtube.com/

YouTube

4

The big boy on the video sharing scene, more than 70 hours of footage are uploaded to YouTube every minute! It's super easy to c

http://www.verticalresponse.com

Vertical Reponse

4

Manage your email list and subscriptions online

http://infogr.am/

Infogram

4.5

Lets you create simple infographics free of charge. No design skills needed!

https://bufferapp.com/

Bufferapp

5
A smarter way to schedule social media content.
https://interests.me

interests.me

5
An email newsletter tool specifically designed for community groups. Free, modern, well-designed, and easy to use. Built by UK community group leaders for community group leaders.
http://www.textlocal.com

Textlocal

3.5
The complete mobile messaging service for your organisation.
 

Debs Drew talks about how Textlocal has helped with communications when working with Community Champions.

http://www.wordle.net/

Wordle

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Wordle is a toy for generating "word clouds" from text that you provide.

http://www.google.com/hangouts

Google+ Hangouts

4.166665
A video conferencing app from Google as part of the Google Apps family. Catch up face-to-face and host virtual meetings from your desk.
 
Rahima Begum, Community Regeneration Officer for Southern Housing Group, talks about how Google+ Hangouts have been helpful for communicating with both staff and volunteers.
http://www.weebly.com/

Weebly

4

Easily create your own website for free

http://www.wix.com

Wix website creator

4.333335

A site that helps you create your own website, even if you don't have any techie skills.

http://www.gimp.org/

GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation Program

3.5
GIMP is free easy-to-use image editing software that perfects photos and creates animated images like photoshop, but 100% free
http://wordpress.com

WordPress

4.25
WordPress helps you create a free blog, or go further and build your own free non-profit website.
 
If you’re going to stand a chance of getting your name out there, having a website is a must. But it’s expensive and time consuming to develop one, right? Wrong! Richard Wallwork - manager at New Era Trust - tells us how WordPress is one digital tool they simply couldn’t do without.
http://hootsuite.com

Hootsuite

4.5
Hootsuite is a great tool for organising and managing your multiple social media accounts.
 

Chris is Marketing and Communications Officer at UK online centres and uses Hootsuite to manage multiple social media accounts easily.

https://madmimi.com/

Mad Mimi

4

Simple email software for small organisations and clubs.

https://slack.com

Slack

4

An amazing team collaboration tool that is essentially searchable, channel-based chat, but done really, REALLY well!

http://twitter.com/

Twitter

4.75
Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest stories, ideas, opinions and news about what you find interesting. Simply find the ones you find most compelling and follow the conversations.
 

Nicola Wallace-Dean is the centre manager for Starting Point in Stockport and found using Twitter an excellent way of recruiting and communicating with volunteers.

https://join.me/

join.me

3.5

If you have ever wanted to show a colleague in another organisation something on your computer screen or help a friend with a technical question then this is the screen sharing tool for you.

https://translate.google.co.uk/

Google Translate

4.11111

If you have people in your community whose first language isn't the same as yours, it can be a bit difficult to communicate with them.

 
Nyree from Cambridgeshire Library Learning Services talks about how Google Translate meant a new way to tackle translation problems in the community.
http://www.learnmyway.com/digitalgarage/3421264

The Digital Garage

4
This service, provided by Google, gives you free courses to help you develop the digital skills you need to grow your business or career.
http://www.makebuttons.co.uk/en

Buttons

4

Buttons is a useful digital tool for organising and sharing websites you love or find useful.

 
NetBuddies use Internet Buttons, one of the earlier versions of Buttons, to provide a simple point-and-click interface for clients at its Job Clubs.
https://www.coursera.org/

Coursera

4.5

Coursera aims to give everyone access to world-class education from the best universities.

https://pinboard.in/

Pinboard

4
Save, tag and share links to things you find online using Pinboard. You can sync your links with a number of outside services, including Pocket, Delicious, Twitter, Readability and Instapaper.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/sysinternals/bb897434.aspx

Zoom It

4.5

A really handy tool for when you need to present something. It allows you to zoom in on a single part of the screen so that even those at the back of the room can read what is on the screen.

https://www.periscope.tv/

Periscope

4
Periscope provides the easiest way yet to capture film on your phone or tablet and broadcast it live to your Twitter feed, letting you share with the world just what you’re getting up to.
http://mailchimp.com

MailChimp

3.333335
MailChimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results.
 
Sue tells us how MailChimp makes creating and sending e-newsletters, and managing contacts a breeze.
http://skype.co.uk

Skype

4.166665

The original free instant messaging, video conferencing and internet phone tool, usable on desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.

http://pinterest.com/

Pinterest

4

Pinterest allows groups and individuals to organise the images they like online, by pinning them on a virtual pin board.

http://www.neighbourly.com

neighbourly.com

3.666665

neighbourly.com is a social network which connects community and charity projects with companies that can help.

https://audioboom.com/

audioBoom

3.5
audioBoom is a simple way to share audio! Use on your mobile or your computer, and record interviews, music, radio shows and great for quick reporting, storytelling or quick tips on your website.
 
Saqib from Birmingham Settlement needed an easy way to record the impact of work on learners at their centre. Audioboo provided the answer particularly where learners were reluctant to appear on video!
http://storify.com/

Storify

4.25

Storify allows you to pool and present content from around the web (including tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, news articles) about a particular topic.

http://www.qrstuff.com

QR Code Generator

4.6

Create a variety of QR codes to make it easy for mobile phone users to find your website.

http://www.quicktapsurvey.com

QuickTapSurvey for iPad & Android Tablet

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A user friendly mobile survey that lets you create surveys for your tablet quickly and easily. QuickTapSurvey collects opinions and information and collates data, for iPad & Android Tablet.

http://www.drupalgardens.com/

Drupal Gardens

3

Drupal Gardens allows you to setup a website based on the Drupal CMS platform.

http://www.groupspaces.com

Groupspaces

3

A collaboration tool for community groups, with email groups, document storage, website, wiki pages and more.

http://www.lwks.com/

Lightworks

3

Lightworks is professional standard video editing software that you can download for free from their website. 

http://goo.gl/

Google Long Url Shortener

3
This free handy tool from google provides a short version of URLs which is easy to paste into emails or use on social media
http://www.streetbank.com/

StreetBank

3

StreetBank allows you to post messages in a way similar to Facebook but directly to the club members

http://www.linkedin.com

LinkedIn

4
LinkedIn is a social media platform where you can connect with the people you do business with, and share your company updates through direct mes
http://vimeo.com/

Vimeo

3.5

Similar you YouTube, Vimeo is a video-hosting site but with a reputation for quality over quantity, customisation and a supportive community

http://prezi.com

Prezi

4.4

Create awesome jaw dropping presentations with a tool that's really simple to set up and use.

http://www.bt.com/discover/btck

BT Community Web Kit

4.142855
Free resource from BT for creating a community website. In just a few simple steps you can have a website that’s straightforward to set-up and easy to maintain.
 
Geoff Budden, Chairman of the Friends of Kinson Common, talks about how they were able to set up their community website quickly and easily using the BT Community Web Kit.
http://www.slideshare.net

Slideshare

3

This tool is a great website to search out inspiring and informative presentations and documents. Browse content uploaded by others or upload your own files to your free Slideshare account for others to view.

http://www.mixcloud.com/

Mixcloud

4

A website to host recordings and podcasts.

https://about.twitter.com/products/tweetdeck

TweetDeck

3.5
This is a tool that is powered by Twitter to help you manage and track your Twitter accounts. It is similar to Hootsuite but just for Twitter.
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Audacity

3.666665

An audio tool for recording, editing and manipulating sound files

 
Paul Davies
Paul Davies, owner and Managing Director of a Destinations @ Saltburn, tells us about how they use Audacity on projects that have used learner interviews to give an insight into ICT needs.
http://www.softwareok.com/

Pointerstick

3

During a presentation have you ever tried to point at something with your mouse, and turned to see everyone in the room squinting at the screen?

http://www.audiosauna.com/studio/

Audio Sauna

3

Audio Sauna is a fantastic online musical keyboard, allowing users to create loops, use a wide choice of instruments, work with multiple instrument

http://www.scribus.net/

Scribus

3

Scribus is a powerful desktop publishing software that helps you create great looking documents of all kinds.

https://www.speakpipe.com/

SpeakPipe

3.666665

Want to listen to your website visitors, customers or readers? SpeakPipe allows you to receive feedback in the form of an audio message.

https://ifttt.com

IFTTT

3.666665
Use this tool to set up connections between online actions, to help you save time, stay organised and keep up-to-date with your favourite content.
http://www.gntext.com/

Green Text

3.666665

Green Text provides a range of easy-to-use web and email-based end-user applications, to enable you to send text messages simply, quickly and inexpensively.

http://www.infinitemonkeys.mobi/

Infinite Monkeys

4

A free tool that helps you create your own mobile apps

https://www.yammer.com/

Yammer

3

Yammer brings the power of social networking to your company. Yammer is as easy to use as great consumer software like Facebook and Twitter, but is designed for company collaboration, file sharing, knowledge exchange and team efficiency.

 
Rachel Verney, Manager of Central Services, talks about how she has used Yammer as a tool for the Kingston CAB’s Pro Bono legal advice project.
http://unshorten.it/

Unshorten.It!

2.5

This URL unshortener lets you see where all those shortened URLs will take you

https://techboomers.com/

TechBoomers

0
TechBoomers is a free educational website that teaches older adults and other inexperienced internet users with basic computer skills about websites that can make their lives easier and help improve their quality of life.
http://commonplace.is

Commonplace

2.5

Commonplace is a digital tool that collects the opinions of people who live, work, and frequent a neighbourhood as an evidence base to improve the local area.

http://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/windows.aspx

Team viewer

3.5

Use TeamViewer for online team meetings and presentations.

https://foursquare.com/

Foursquare

0

Foursquare is a local search and discovery social media tool which allows users to ‘check-in’ to different locations and leave hints, tip

http://klout.com/

Klout

3

If you're on social media you will already have a public Klout score, even if you don't have a Klout account. 

https://www.messagehero.com/

Message Hero

0

Send and receive group SMS text messages instantly to your customers, members and staff.

https://delicious.com/

Delicious

3

Delicious is a bookmarking tool that can be made public or private as you require.

http://nationbuilder.com/

NationBuilder

0

NationBuilder is a community organising platform that allows users to build and manage websites.

 
The Blue Sky Cafe in Sheffield is a community cafe, situated inside the Old Junior School in Sharrow. They use NationBuilder to create and maintain their website.
http://picasa.google.co.uk/intl/en-GB/

Picasa - Picture editor

3.5

A free picture editing and image manipulation tool.

 
Destinations@Saltburn
Paul Davies, owner and Managing Director of a Destinations @ Saltburn, looks at how Picasa helped them make image files more managable.
http://ambix.jdrewcreations.co.uk

Ambix

0

Ambix is a private social network for your community.

http://yourock.jobs/en

YouRock

0
YouRock is a service where you can build a dynamic job profile that really rocks!