11 Free Project Management Tools For Your Busy Team

Does your team stop at Excel for project management? If the answer is yes, you could be missing out! Here are 11 free tools that could change the way you change the world.


Since Microsoft released the first version of Excel for Microsoft in 1985, the world of project management has changed—a lot. If your busy nonprofit team is only using Excel for project management and workplace productivity, you might be missing out!

Our research shows far too many nonprofit leaders are; in fact, in 2018, 63% of leaders surveyed by GlobalGiving still used Excel as their primary project and data management tool. Since the advent of Excel, lots of innovative products and apps have been developed to make project management easier.

Project management can essentially be described in four simple steps:

  • Deciding what’s important to do now
  • Delegating tasks to people on a team
  • Following the work as it happens
  • Reminding yourself and others to do things when they need to be done

Here is a list of 11 free project management tools designed to help you complete the essential steps described above:

    1. Slack

    Create a virtual workspace for your team with Slack. You can message co-workers, build communication hubs for projects, share files, and store messages. Learn more.

    2. Trello

    Trello will help you get organized, make to-do lists, track progress, and set deadlines. “The best list-making tool around! I can’t live without Trello and use it everyday,” says Acacia, GlobalGiving’s amazing Senior Graphic Designer. Learn more.

    3. Google Docs

    Create, edit, and share documents, including spreadsheets, forms, presentations, and drawings, with your team online. Learn more.

    4. Kyber

    Turn your Slack messages into tasks, reminders, meetings, and polls. The personal productivity option is free! Learn more.

    5. Asana

    This app enables you to create, display, and track team projects and tasks. Nonprofits, try it out for web projects, events, or fundraising and marketing campaigns. The free version is available to teams of up to 15 people. Learn more.

    6. Evernote

    Evernote is a great way to create your own personal cloud-based memory bank. While the notetaking feature is useful, the real power is in the web clipper, which lets you seamlessly capture, index, and store whatever important piece of information you’re looking at. Learn more.

    7. TeamGantt

    Create beautiful spreadsheets to document project deadlines and stay within your project budgets. Learn more.

    8. Basecamp

    Build a central hub for projects with multiple deliverables and team members. Everyone is eligible for a free 30-day trial. Learn more.

    9. Busy On

    Use this app to set up real-time task alerts for your team and filter activities by keyword. Learn more.

    10. Calendly

    Schedule meetings without a trail of back-and-forth emails. Check out Google Calendars, Meekan, and Clara AI for more scheduling tools.

    11. IFTTT

    It stands for “if then, then that.” This app enables you to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets. One example: here at GlobalGiving, we use IFTTT to alert teams about upcoming emails. So, if an email is scheduled, then alerts are posted in designated Slack channels. Check out Zapier if you are a looking for a similar integration tool.

GlobalGiving’s Innovation Consultant Marc Maxmeister contributed to this article. It’s an excerpt from his book on project management with Slack, one of the most popular workplace productivity software systems in the world. Each featured product on Marc’s list integrates with Slack.

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