11 Ways Google Apps Can Help Your Nonprofit

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Guest post from InstanTek founder and CEO Robert Geller.

You probably knew Google Apps could do a lot: email, calendaring, documents in the cloud, and maybe you even knew it could do a whole lot more, even if you weren’t quite sure what. But we find that a lot of our clients don’t know the full extent of Google’s Apps potential and capabilities.

So we decided to write this blog post for 501cTECH in the hopes that it would help nonprofits more effectively leverage Google Apps to streamline operations and further their core mission!

Without further ado, here are just 11 (of many!) potential uses or features of Google Apps you may not have known about.

  1. Replace your file server with Google Drive. Yes, you read that right. You can replace that sad, aging server in your closet or datacenter with the collaboration-enabled, anywhere-accessible, zero-maintenance Google Drive, for a fresh start in collaboration and getting your best work done.
  1. Create full-blown presentations with Google Slides. Forget PowerPoint and the hassles of emailing presentations back and forth to make changes. Google Slides offers an easy-to-use and feature-rich interface to collaborate on and deliver top-notch presentations. Just jump on the phone or a Google Hangout and collaborate on a presentation in real time to get it done perfectly, and quickly!
  2. Book conference rooms, projectors, and other resources with Google Calendar. Whether it’s a conference room, a projector, or even the espresso machine, Google Calendar allows you to add, manage, and schedule these resources so that you never again run into that pesky problem of overlapping meetings scheduled for the same meeting room... or espresso machine.
  3. Who needs the phone when you can Hangout? Google Hangouts allows you to instantly initiate a rich, video- and collaboration-enabled interaction experience with as many as 10-15 participants. Whether you’re working on that last-minute grant proposal or catching up with colleagues in overseas offices–or even celebrating–Google Hangouts is an extremely productive, fun way to engage your colleagues–or even external partners.
  4. Automate tedious processes and workflows. Whether it’s vacation requests, accounts payable/receivable processing, procurement, new client/project intake, or any other number of common and repetitive processes, Google Apps Script, the scripting language built right into Google Apps can unlock a whole lot of productivity and efficiency for your organization, freeing your people to focus on things that further your mission.
  1. Increase security with 2-step authentication. Google Accounts can be compromised if someone guesses your users’ passwords or gains access to a computer. Add another layer of protection with 2-step authentication, in which users sign in with their username and password normally, then enter an additional, one-time code that’s been texted, called, or sent to their phones via a mobile app. This ensures that someone needs more than just the account password to sign in.
  1. Build custom applications on top of Google Apps. Whether it’s a membership database or a Web application that accepts donor payments, Google App Engine allows you to build completely custom applications for any purpose. Best of all, you can leverage and tie into Google Apps. For instance, a membership database application could automatically generate a Google Sheets-based report for easy manipulation and data analysis, or a Google Docs-based one-sheet profile for each member!
  1. Use Google Forms for event registrations, vacation requests, even lunch planning! Want to be able to quickly and easily collect data for Google Forms allows you to quickly and easily create and configure forms to collect and process information for any variety of business needs. You can even extend it using Google Apps Script to dynamically assign and change form fields as availability or other variables change, and even to load data into an external data source or database 
  1. Use Google Sites to create project portals, team sites, Intranets, even web sites. Google Sites is a surprisingly powerful tool, and it’s already included with your instance of Google Apps! Whether you want to quickly create a portal where team members, even external constituents, can upload files and collaborate on projects, or even an extranet or full-featured website, Google Sites allows you to quickly and easily do just that.
  1.  Collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations at the same time! Tired of wasting time sending documents, spreadsheets, and presentations back and forth to get feedback and revisions? You no longer have to. Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides all enable you to collaborate in real-time with your colleagues and even external partners, and see changes right as they happen!
  1. Publish Google Docs, Sheets, and more as web pages. Did you know you could publish Google Docs, Sheets, Presentations, and Drawings to the Web or to any number of other formats? You can with a couple clicks! Take a look at our blog post to learn how!

AUTHOR BIO

Robert Geller is the founder and CEO of InstanTek, a Google Apps consulting firm that helps mold Google Apps to fit clients’ unique needs and missions with training, custom development, system integration, and consulting services. InstanTek works has a unique focus, expertise, and experience in working with the nonprofit industry, having worked with small and large organizations alike, with offices in Washington, DC and New York City.

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