Nonprofits need to tell persuasive stories that educate audiences and encourage people to donate. Unfortunately, organizations don’t always know how to choose the best cloud storage services for their graphics, videos, and other story bank files.
Before you choose a cloud storage service for your data, make sure you compare the costs, collaboration tools, editing features, copyrights, and customer support that popular companies offer.
Google Photos has a lot to offer nonprofit organizations that don’t need to store massive amounts of data or robust editing features.
- Price – You don’t have to pay anything to use Google Photos as long as you don’t exceed 15GB. The service also limits your photo resolution to 16 megapixels. If you have a photographer using a professional camera, you will probably exceed those limits quickly. You can upgrade to 100GB of cloud storage for $1.99 per month. Eventually, you may need the 2TB option that costs $99.99 per year. Still, it’s a low-cost option that will appeal to many nonprofits.
- Collaboration – You can give anyone access to your organization’s Google Photos account. Sharing access means that everyone who needs to get photos from your story bank can get the images they need instantly. That’s about as much as you get in the way of collaboration, though, since several people can’t work on an image simultaneously.
- Editing – Google Photos works well as a cloud storage service, but it doesn’t have many editing features. You can crop images and add tags, but you can’t even do something as simple as remove red eyes from pictures.
- Copyrights – Google Photos doesn’t have an option that lets you purchase copyrights from photographers. You can only use images that you own or have Creative Commons licenses.
- Customer Support –Google Photos has an intuitive interface that nearly anyone can learn quickly. If you do experience problems with the service, you’ll have a difficult time getting someone from Google to help you. The company takes a hands-off approach that might anger users who don’t have much experience using cloud services.
SmugMug lets you save photo and video files to the cloud. It’s a subscription service, so you have to spend money after a free trial. In return, you can save 150MB photos and 20-minute video clips.
- Price – SmugMug has four membership tiers. Most nonprofits will want to choose the Pro membership ($300 per year) because it offers more custom features and social media integrations. If you have a tight budget, you can choose a Basic ($40/year), Power ($60/year), or Portfolio ($150/year) option.
- Collaboration – You can invite anyone to view the story banks and data in your SmugMug library. Outside of that, you don’t get many collaboration features.
- Editing – Most of SmugMug’s editing features come from an Adobe Lightroom plugin. The website also lets you create designs or use design templates for displaying your stories in a professional way. The templates work best when you use them to present content on your website.
- Copyrights – You retain the rights to all content that you save in SmugMug, but you can’t purchase materials from professional photographers or videographers.
- Customer Support – SmugMug gives you several customer support options, including video tutorials, community forums, live training events, and 24/7 help from real humans.
Adobe Lightroom gives you professional editing tools without charging an outrageous price. It’s one of the best cloud storage service and editing options for nonprofits willing to pay for subscriptions.
- Price – Adobe Lightroom costs $9.99 per month. The subscription gives you 1TB of cloud storage space, which should hold about 20,000 DSLR or 200,000 JPEGs. You can get more storage space and editing features by upgrading to Creative Cloud, but it costs $52.99 per month.
- Collaboration – Lightroom will let you share photographs with others, but you can’t have a team work on one image at the same time.
- Editing – This is where Lightroom really shines. The editing software has just about every feature you could want. You can adjust color, orientation, and light with the slide of a button. You can also rotate, crop, and brush photos that you need to perfect. If you don’t know a lot about photography, then you can use Lightroom’s presets to make images look more professional.
- Copyrights – All of your images have copyright protection while stored on Lightroom’s cloud server.
- Customer Support – Adobe excels at customer support by giving you access to tutorials and projects designed for your specific level of experience. If you have an enterprise account, you get access to assisted support that includes chats and helpdesk tickets.
Dropbox stands out as one of the most secure cloud storage services. If you need built-in editing software, though, it’s not your best option.
- Price – A Standard membership gives you 5TB of cloud storage space for $15 per month per user. You can get unlimited space with an Advanced membership that costs $25 per month per user.
- Collaboration – Like most cloud storage services, Dropbox lets you share files with colleagues. It doesn’t have features for true collaboration, though.
- Editing – Dropbox focuses on giving organizations secure cloud storage. It doesn’t come with any editing features. It does, however, integrate with many popular editing apps, including Lightroom.
- Copyrights – You retain all rights to the story banks you store on Dropbox.
- Customer Support – Dropbox has an extensive knowledge base where you can find answers to most questions. If you want one-on-one support, though, you’ll have to submit a request and wait for someone to answer.
When choosing a cloud storage service for your nonprofit’s story bank, keep in mind that you also might need editing software for your graphics, photos, and videos. As long as you check your expectations and compare your options, you can find a service that works well for your organization.
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