August 4, 2010

6 productivity tools for social change

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Nothing is Good from DoGood Headquarters on Vimeo.

Target audience: Social change organizations, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers. This is part of Creating Media, our ongoing series designed to help nonprofits and other organizations learn how to use and make media.

Guest post by Katrina Heppler

Socialbrite asked for a list of favorite tools or resources that I’d recommend to people to help advance social change, social good or social activism. I decided to break this into two batches: productivity tools, listed below, and 12 top platforms for social change.

I’m sure you have your own favorites — please share them in the comments below. And tell us if you like, don’t like or are new to the resources I’m listing here.

6 top productivity tools I love


Picnik: Edit your photos online

1Picnik lets you edit all your photos online, from one easy place. Picnik is great for quick editing/cropping/enhancing of photos published to the Web. Unlike Photoshop, Picnik is free and browser-based so you can edit photos quickly from anywhere.

mpeg streamclip

MPEG Streamclip: A nifty video converter

2MPEG Streamclip is a video converter for Mac and Windows. I usually use this in conjunction with HandBrake when I need to convert video file formats so that they are accepted by Mac video editing software. See this page for a full description of MPEG Streamclip’s capabilities.

Flip cam

Flip: High-quality video on the go

3The Flip cam is the best high-quality low-end video camera ever made, imho. I take it everywhere. You never know when it will come in handy. Great for capturing quick interviews with people on the street, like this interview with the CEO-founder of eduFire. And all for under $200.


Skype: Great for free video conferencing

4Sometimes you just need face time (and no, I don’t mean the iPhone’s FaceTime app). Nonprofits and cause organizations have long known about Skype as a way to keep phone bills small when calling land lines or mobiles. But I like Skype for its free video conferencing capabilities. Click the video button on your screen and you can do a one-on-one chat — you just need a webcam. Watch this one-minute video explainer. (There’s third-party software for group video chats.)

freeconferencecall for long-distance calls

5I love It makes it a breeze to set up conference phone calls with co-workers, friends or business colleagues anywhere in the United States through a group call-in number (international calls work sometimes but often don’t). It’s not really free: While you don’t get a bill from the service, normal long-distance calls apply to anyone participating. Still, it’s a super-simple way to stay connected.


DoGoodHQ: Browse for social good

6DoGoodHQ is not necessarily a productivity tool, but it operates behind the scenes and could be a good way to gain exposure for nonprofits and social activists. DoGoodHQ is a browser plug-in I downloaded so that I support causes while I browse — you turn your web browsing into donations that support green initiatives and movements for positive social change. The plug-in, which is free and takes seconds to install, replaces traditional ads I don’t want to see with ads I want to see and support. I recommend nonprofits contact DoGoodHQ to find out how they can get their ads published on the DoGoodHQ network.

Katrina Heppler is founder of envisionGood, a company providing multimedia communications, consulting and Web strategy. Follow her on Twitter at @katrinah.
In this series

12 awesome platforms for social good

Change-makers share 10 of their favorite tools

An educator’s 5 top tools for social change

A change agent’s top 5 tools for social change

12 open source tools you should be using

A developer’s 5 favorite social tools

Top 5 tools for the entrepreneurial journalist

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