Field Guide: Non-profit work

When it comes to working with small crews or with volunteers, it can be a challenge to keep everyone on the same page — especially when you’ve got a tight budget. Basecamp is where it all comes together.

We offer 10% off any paid plan to registered non-profits! Check it out on our Discounts page!

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Projects are the heart of Basecamp. You can create projects for every major thing you have going on — like a fundraising event, a project for your clients, and even a central hub for your departments and teams. Inside projects, you’ll post announcements, organize and assign work, set deadlines, share files, chat, and more!

When you set up your organization’s Basecamp account, there’s a few key steps to take:

  1. Set up a headquarters (HQ). You’ll use this for organization-wide messages, events, files, and more.
  2. Make new projects for committees or departments. Think of these like mini-HQs. It’s a space for team-wide messages, files, etc.
  3. Create projects for any upcoming work. These can provide a place for projects or events that your teams are working on.

Here’s what your Home page will look like with this kind of setup. You’ll have a space for everything - and everything in its place. 😄

A screenshot of the Basecamp Home page showing some projects


Projects can be created from scratch or created from a project template. For non-profits, you’ll likely create similar projects for your events. You can quickly create a project from a template that has all the right tools and content inside, ready to go.

A screenshot of the Project Templates page showing the available templates to choose from

Let’s open the Teams template to see how it’s set up:

A screenshot of the Home page of a project template set up for a team or department

Each project has tools to help you organize your work. These include a Message Board, Schedule, To-dos and Chat, to name a few. You don’t have to use every tool for each project - you can set up each project for what suits your team best! Let’s take a look at the available tools you might use in your HQ:

A screenshot of a project being used for a company headquarters. The tools visible are Message Board, Docs & Files, Chat, Schedule, and Automatic Check-ins.

💡TIP: You can rename any of the tools inside of a project to customize them, and you can also create more than one of each tool! See more on setting up tools →

Message Board

The Message Board is where you can post messages and share updates with your volunteers and team members. You can also discuss posts with your team by commenting on them. In Basecamp, everyone sees the same version of the full conversation. This way everyone’s always on the same page. No more forwarding emails to bring people up to speed!

A screenshot of the Message Board showing a number of message posts, and one pinned message at the top.

💡TIP: Pin your important announcements so they always stay at the top! Pinning messages →


Use the Schedule display dated to-dos, deadlines, milestones, meetings, and relevant events. This keeps everyone from missing important dates.

Every project has its own Schedule - this can come in handy when you have different projects for different teams.

A screenshot of a project Schedule with a number of different events below sorted by date

Basecamp will send you notifications to remind you about your upcoming event. For all-day events in the Schedule, you'll get a reminder at 9 AM on the first day. For events that start at a specific time, Basecamp will send a notification one day before the event, and one hour before the start time. 

If you use any external calendars such as HEY Calendar, Google Calendar, Outlook, or iCal, you can sync your Basecamp Schedule with it! This way you'll be able to see all of your Basecamp events in your external calendar.

Docs & Files

Docs & Files gives you an organized space to create, share, and discuss documents and files with your team. It's one place where everyone on your team can find the things they need. This is a great place to put important forms, policy documents, or other files you need your team to access.

A screenshot of the Docs & Files area showcasing standalone files as well as folders


Your projects have a lot of running tasks. The To-do tool allows you to create tasks that need to get done and assign them to other members in the project. Tasks can be assigned to one more more users, have due dates, or recur automatically. If you’re using a project to organize your next big event or fundraiser, to-dos will help your team stay on track.

A screenshot of some to-dos showing 3 to-do lists, and each list with several tasks

Set up to-do list templates if you find that you’re creating a lot of similar to-dos in your projects. For example, if your organization hosts multiple events in a year that require similar checklists (think onboarding for volunteers, checklists for an upcoming fundraising gala) you can create templates for those lists so you don't have to recreate them in every project.

A screenshot of to-do list templates showing the available to-do list templates to choose from

Card Table

For workflows or assignments that move through different phases, the Card Table (our take on Kanban boards) is where it’s at. Instead of to-dos, you’ll create cards. Cards can be assigned to users just like to-dos, but instead of simply checking off the card when it’s complete, you’ll move those cards into different columns so everyone knows where it is in your workflow.

A screenshot of the Card Table with 3 different column and a different number of cards in each column

Clicking on a card will allow you to enter more details, such as who it's assigned to, due date, file attachments, or any additional steps. You can even comment on cards to discuss them with your team.

Automatic Check-ins

Automatic check-ins allow you to receive updates from the people you’re working with all in one place! No more having to keep track of email threads or organizing a meeting with multiple departments.

A screenshot of an Automatic check-in question with answers from two different people

External Doors

Basecamp has a lot of great tools to help you organize your work, but we recognize you may still need to access another service. That’s where Doors can come in!

Doors allow you to create a direct link to any other online service you use, available right within your project for easy access. Need to track donations, expenses, or volunteers in a Google spreadsheet? You can link to them right in the project you’re working in so everyone on your team knows exactly where to find it.

A screenshot of a project page showcasing an external door to a Google Spreadsheet

Need more inspiration? Take a sneak peak at how our very own Customer Support team set things up here.

If you need any assistance with Basecamp, you can check our our learning center, help pages, or send us a note at Support. Happy Basecamping!