Online Workspace Solutions for Nonprofits: Podio

All nonprofits—regardless of size, scope, or location—need some sort of electronic storage space to keep track of day-to-day operations, such as expense reporting, client contact information, or meeting plans. As office buildings become more expensive to maintain and less environmentally sustainable, online workspaces are becoming more and more popular. Unfortunately, finding the right workspace for your specific organization can be difficult.

Today, we consider Podio, a product recently acquired by cloud company Citrix Systems. Podio describes itself as “the new way for your team to communicate, organize, track and get work done in one place.” Created in 2009, the software prioritizes adaptability. Instead of signing up for ready-made project management software or a streamlined CRM system, users are granted the opportunity to build “apps” in their Podio account that cater to the organization’s specific needs. A Podio account becomes a blank canvas, ready to host a company’s inspiration board, meeting minutes, or expense report. In addition, an organization’s Podio account can be set up with different “workspaces.” For example, a marketing department could set up a Podio “workspace” that is only accessible to marketing staff members, and contains all the apps that specific department needs in order to function.

On the whole, Podio is commendably user-friendly. The numerous video tutorials guide the user through various features, one click at a time. Creating an app becomes as simple as creating a table or spreadsheet.

Screenshot of the Podio App Builder 

Screenshot of the Podio App Builder 

With such flexibility, the same building blocks can be used to create a space for timesheets or a whole CRM system. For those who are a little tentative about app creation, the Podio App Market contains thousands of ready-to-use apps, like the “Timesheets” app found below (all apps in the Market are free to use and download).  

Screenshot of the "Timesheets" app 

Screenshot of the "Timesheets" app 

One of the primary appeals of Podio is its affordability. It is free to use for five accounts or fewer. However, if your nonprofit desires a larger software package, it would cost $9 per employee monthly. If a larger package is needed, but the cost is prohibitive, sponsorship opportunities are available.

Podio may be the exact solution for a nonprofit’s internal reports, day-to-day operations, and inter- and intra-departmental communication. However, those looking for new ticketing software may need to continue their search. Podio’s focus is more on employee interaction within the organization, rather than communicating with constituents. Unlike a specific ticketing system, an organization that creates a CRM app in Podio can only update constituent information manually, rather than that information being automatically placed in a spreadsheet by the ticket buyer. And without dashboards and automatically generated reports, it is sometimes easy to miss the forest through the trees; trends and correlations are often overlooked in Podio.

For an organization looking to improve communication within and between departments, however, Podio is a versatile and affordable solution.