In my last post, I talked about how Google grants for nonprofits can give your organization the marketing leverage to increase fund raising, online donations and brand visibility. In this post I continue exploring the Google tools that are available, most of them for free, to the nonprofit sector to promote your cause, raise money, and operate more efficiently.
Google Apps is a cloud-based computing environment with collaboration technology that features several Web applications similar to the traditional desktop-based office suites, including: Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, Talk and Sites.
What’s in it for nonprofits?
Gmail: Includes email accounts on your organization’s domain (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). Best of all, you can access your email account anytime, anywhere, even if you are offline. Google also provides email migration tools so you do not have to worry about losing existing email. In addition, you can opt to use Gmail via an IMAP account and sync it to Outlook.
And yes! You can customize Gmail to fit the look and feel of your organization (logo and colors). Did I mention that you also have a 7+ GB inbox quota?
Google Calendar: Integrated into Gmail, calendars can be shared company-wide or with select co-workers. In addition, you can access your calendar on your iPhone or blackberry and even receive calendar notifications via text messages.
Google Docs: This is perhaps my favorite feature. It gives you the flexibility to create and access your documents from anywhere. You can say good bye to carrying USB drives or emailing attachments to yourself. With Google Docs all you need to have is access to the Internet to create and share a Word, PowerPoint or Excel document. And you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues between the different operating systems. Google Docs can be read by Macs, PCs and even Linux computers.
Google Talk: Also integrated into Gmail, Google allows you to share quick thoughts in real time. You can exchange quick chats right within Gmail. This feature is especially useful if you need to have a quick answer right away (e.g., you are on the phone and need more information from a co-worker). In addition, you can receive files in Google Talk. Forgot to bring that financial report to a meeting? No problem. Your co-workers can send it to you instantly via Google Talk.
Google Apps are packed with powerful spam filtering and customizable security features. The Google team has some of the world’s foremost experts in information, application and network security. Remember that even though Google Apps is free for nonprofits, big businesses, with highly sensitive corporate data, do pay for these services and they expect the system to be reliable and secure…and it is.
Advantages of Google Apps for Nonprofits
- Free for nonprofits
- Requires no hardware or software
- Easy to administer and support (it needs minimal administration)
- Reduces IT Costs by decreasing total cost of ownership
- Empowers your employees with state of the art technology
- 24/7 customer support (via phone or email)