Project Management

Doing More with Less: 10 Tips for Running a Not-for-Profit Project

Carleton is an Associate Director Portfolio Management in Queensland, Australia.

Running projects for a not-for-profit organization is a wonderfully worthwhile endeavor. Not only does it deliver an outcome to an area that often desperately needs it, but it also stretches your ability as a project manager. The challenge of delivering as much value as you possibly can without spending any more money than necessary is a worthwhile activity for any project manager.

Over the course of my career, I had had the opportunity to deliver not-for-profit based projects on more than one occasion. Here are 10 ways I have found to keep costs off your budget and still deliver value.

1. Leverage free tools. It is possible to run an entire project without spending money on software tools. Whether this is desirable is a decision you will need to make for your own project.

You can often replace expensive desktop software such as Office with open-source tools such as Libre Office, or Google’s suite of tools (both of which are quite capable). There are open-source project management tools such as Project Libre, or any of a number of freemium online product suites that are free for limited use. Free domain-specific software does exist. For example, many charities need case management software and can take advantage of tools such as Idega or ArkCase.

All free software comes with limitations. Freemium models will charge for additional features or users, while open-…

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"Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining."

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