Technology Decision Makers

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A group for those in nonprofit IT decision-making roles to connect with peers and share best practices. This Technology Decision Makers group is for nonprofit IT or MIS Directors/Managers as well as CIOs and CTOs to connect with their peers and share best practices. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to: hardware and software management, product reviews, emerging technology, best practices, collaborating effectively with other departments, and management conundrums. Membership is restricted to IT staff at nonprofit organizations.

Help desk software

  • 1.  Help desk software

    Posted Jun 23, 2018 10:59

    I'm looking for free or ridiculously low priced Help Desk software. I mostly need it for ticketing purposes, but if it could do some rudimentary knowledge management, that would be a welcome bonus.

    Any recommendations?

    Tech Accelerate

  • 2.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Jun 24, 2018 10:26

    Isaac Shalev
    Stamford CT

    Tech Accelerate

  • 3.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Jun 24, 2018 11:13
    Try Spiceworks. It is free. We use it and like it a lot.

    Sent from Ed's phone.
    Ed Stawick
    Dir. of Technology and Online Services
    Chorus America

    Tech Accelerate

  • 4.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Jun 25, 2018 06:10

    I've used Spiceworks and Freshdesk, both were OK as free solutions.  I settled on a paid solution, Zendesk for a couple of reasons.  Going the paid route allowed for faster implementation of my needs where I had multiple channels and I needed Salesforce integration.  Both Spiceworks and Freshdesk required me to spend more time managing while Zendesk was just easier. Zendesk also has a number of third-party add-ons that can make life much easier as you grow.  My per agent costs is around $15 a month so certainly not free, but in my case, was worth spending the money.

    James Stewart
    NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness
    Arlington, VA

    Tech Accelerate

  • 5.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Jun 25, 2018 09:38
    For free, the most popular ticketing/KB I know is Spiceworks. I don't use it personally, but I know lots of groups who do and like it.

    Joshua Peskay
    Vice President
    RoundTable Technology

    Tech Accelerate

  • 6.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Jun 26, 2018 09:41
    Hi Matt,

    We've been using Freskdesk for about 18 months for both ticketing and a basic knowledge base, and have been very satisfied. It is free for up to three agents.

    Geoffrey Pimlatt
    Senior Manager, Information Systems
    Western University Students' Council
    London, ON

    Tech Accelerate

  • 7.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Aug 15, 2018 08:45
    Someone had recently commented on a similar discussion that they use Jira.  We're considering Jira and I'd love to talk to someone about it.

    Also for those using Zendesk, did you consider Jira and any reason you chose Zendesk instead?

    For context - we have very complicated paths we need to set-up for tickets and where they go - sometimes to one department, sometimes they follow an approval / task path involving many departments, and if successful I hope to expand this not just to IT but for many of our administrative departments to use.

    Shubha Bala

    Tech Accelerate

  • 8.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Aug 15, 2018 14:13
    I'm fairly sure @Graham Ford knows a lot about this stuff!​

    Mark Root-Wiley

    MRW Web Design / / @MRWweb
    Thoughtful WordPress Website for Nonprofits & Mission-Driven Organizations
    Seattle, WA

    Tech Accelerate

  • 9.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Aug 15, 2018 20:02
    Hello all,

    Freshdesk and Zendesk are easy cloud-hosted solutions with some free or inexpensive levels. I haven't used them personally, but know they are popular and functional.

    Spiceworks is free and quite easy to use and has the added benefit of network scanning functionality to inventory systems/software and detect changes. Workflow configuration is relatively rudimentary and has real limitations in terms of security and scalability.

    I've implemented a couple JIRA/Confluence systems. Atlassian Server products (as opposed to hosted cloud products) are free to nonprofits through their community license, including most Marketplace Add-ons. JIRA Service Desk is very flexible and configurable so you can expand it to provide service desk functionality beyond the IT department (think facilities, HR, finance requests). It ties into Confluence as a knowledge base, also covered under the license. The thing about the Atlassian ecosystem is that it takes more work to set up, configure and maintain. It's not the quick and easy solution of Spiceworks or one of the cloud  products.


    Graham Ford
    Director of Technology
    501 Commons
    Seattle, WA

    Tech Accelerate

  • 10.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Aug 16, 2018 08:10
    I'm skeptical of "free" software. What does Spiceworks (for example) get when I use their software ... my data to mine? Embedded ads? I'm curious about the business model that underlies these services. I will probably end up using one, but want to be well-informed on the non-monetary costs of the software.

    Matt Howell
    Director of Information Systems & Technical Training
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Tech Accelerate

  • 11.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Aug 16, 2018 08:49
    I may have accidentally created two threads...

    Graham we're looking to move from Spiceworks to Jira - can I msg you or e-mail you and get some tips?  We're not sure if we need to hire someone to help set-up Jira for us or if we can figure it out on our own.  We use it for software development and have found the learning curve really steep when it comes to configuring / administering it.

    Shubha Bala

    Tech Accelerate

  • 12.  RE: Help desk software

    Posted Aug 16, 2018 11:28
    Edited by Contessa Siegner Aug 16, 2018 11:30
    We use a product called Rhino Support. It isn't a free product but it is fairly cheap depending on the number of agents you have. this is where a lot of these systems start to get pricey is if you have a lot of agents that need access. We signed up with Rhino when it was unlimited agents so we still have that but we are looking to move away from it because we are growing with our customer service and need more reporting functionality. Rhino has very limited reporting but has a basic knowledge management tool built in and the chat feature is there (also very basic).

    One other thing to note....there may be nonprofit discounts with Rhino Support. I believe we get a nonprofit discount.

    Contessa Siegner
    IT Director
    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    Matthews, NC

    Tech Accelerate