Low Cost Apps and Programs to Make Your Work Life Easier

By • November 5, 2012

By Association
Adviser Staff

In the tech world, sometimes free really does mean free–as long as you, the
consumer, don’t get too demanding. With a little legwork, association
professionals on tight budgets can find hundreds of great Web-based products,
services, apps and collaboration tools to make your work life easier and often
more fun. It just takes time and patience to find the tools you need and to learn
how to use them.

Fortunately, there are people like Beth Ziesenis, a
blogger, speaker, marketing analyst
and self-described “complete tech geek” from San Diego
who shared some of her favorite free and low-cost tools and apps at last week’s
ASAE annual meeting and expo in Dallas.

Naylor's Kelly Donovan added some of her favorites
to the list and shared secrets for making these tools and apps effective for
small to midsize associations on a budget.


Neither the contributors, nor Association
, nor Naylor LLC has a financial interest or partnership interest in any
of the companies or products mentioned below





Instantly create professional videos from
your photos, clips and text. Good for conference wrap-up, telling stories.
You can embed them on a site and place them on YouTube.


Online teleprompter tool. Great for
shooting videos.


Create cool art from word clouds. Great for
branding your website, blog or events.


Royalty-free, high-quality stock images for
very modest cost.

Kelly: iStockPhoto, though not as vast as Getty Images or Dreamstime, has many good photos for free or very low cost. Be sure to have a good idea of what type of composition you want, however, or you could wind up spending hours on this site.


Low-cost photo editing tools and software.

Kelly: Like Instagram, this app is great fun on your phone. Play around with some personal photos before using this app to jazz up photos you post on social media during association events and meetings.


Low-cost photo editing tools and software.


Low-cost photo editing tools and software.

used this program for a few years because it offers many of the same editing
and filter features that Photoshop offers without the cost. It also comes
with a comprehensive online user’s manual. Practice using Gimp’s extensive
toolbox on a few personal photos before graudating to your association’s
pictures. You will love how much you can do with Gimp!


Source of cool and unusual fonts.


Create professional digital postcards,
thank you notes for attendees and speakers at your conferences and events.


Remote access to your home or office


Inbox spelled backwards! Integrates all
your incoming messages from email, smartphone, tablet, LinkedIn.


Online project management software for
remote workgroups.


For making screen shots of your websites,
newsletters, online brochures and sharing with others.

Google Voice

One number for all your lines, plus online
transcribed voicemail.

Join me

Instant screen sharing with up to 250

Any Meeting

Up to 6-way video conferencing and screen
sharing. Can accommodate up to 200 attendees. A low-cost way to host webinars, you can even charge for attendance.

Free teleconferencing, screen sharing.


Create online forms for applications,
registrations, reports and continuing education.

Kelly: If you plan
to use PayPal or another online fee collection service for your event,
splurge for Wufoo’s premium service that lets attendees link directly to your
payment site from the Wufoo form. A smooth sign-up and payment process will
save your treasurer/financial committee (and your guests) a lot of headaches!

Signup Genius

Free online tool for creating and managing
group sign up lists and forms. Create public or private sign-up sheets.


Scan receipts on the go and download
expense reports.


Scan receipts, create instant expense


iPhone app for scanning business cards.


Keeps all of your notes, web clips, files
and images organized and available on every device and computer you use.

Drop Box

Free service that lets people bring their
documents, photos, and videos anywhere and share them easily.

Kelly: DropBox is
one of the most popular file storing programs because of its price (free up
to 2GB) and ease of use. It can be accessed via most popular Internet-enabled


Add in tool for Gmail and DropBox to make
it easier to finding file attachments in your inbox.


Turns all your flight, hotel and rental car
confirmations into simple mobile itineraries.

Instantly connects you to 15,000 talented
logo designers from all over the world. You can start a logo design contest within minutes and see designs within a
few hours.


Create, manage and track QR Codes. Scan barcodes and QR
codes with ScanLife mobile reader apps.

ScanLife is one of the better QR
scanning apps on the market. It’s free to scan and recognizes most QR code
formats instantly. Use this app to create QR codes that bridge your print
materials with your digital publications.

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