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Using Google G-Suite for Non-Profits

Running a non-profit organization can be a very complex and stressful job. You have to setup your domain & email, instruct a digital marketing agency to build a website, manage new and existing users whilst all the time ensuring you get the right message out there to support your worthy cause.

Often those setting up non-profits have been traditional workers who are simply fed up with the daily grind of work and not being able to provide real value to the world.

As the light bulb goes off, they often consider setting up a non-profit. Whether that’s to help developing countries, community art projects, religious projects or even to raise money for medical research too often they are overwhelmed by the leap required to start a non-profit organization.

Thankfully part of this complex process can be simplified by using the right apps and services to make running the non-profit much easier.

Here’s where G Suite for non-profits comes in, provided by one of the biggest companies in the world Google at no cost to you, it can help to simplify a part of running the non-profit organization.

 

What is G Suite?

G Suite is a collection of premium apps provided by Google to allow you to manage the non-profit organization more easily.If you have ever used the free Gmail service, then it’s very similar but with one main difference. It is the enterprise version of Gmail with higher usage limits and additional premium features with the added benefit of being able to manage your organization.

Unlike the free Gmail service (and related apps) which can be easily managed and used, typically it’s only good for one user. When you have an organization with multiple users the standard Gmail (and free apps) simply won’t cut it.

The ability to manage users and data together with collaboration abilities for your non-profit team is an essential requirement.

G Suite is a perfect solution for this. You get admin access to manage users, to create business email addresses and manage your crucial non-profit data all from one easy to use dashboard.

You can set up the non-profit domain emails to use G Suite. The collaboration tools are also in real time like Google Sheets (spreadsheets), docs (like Word Doc) and includes a calendar for all the team to share.

By far the biggest benefit is using Google to host all the data. A central drive is provided with a huge 30GB allocation per user, so you’re not going to run out of space anytime soon. This also gives you full control over all the organization's data.

Typically access to G Suite costs $6 per user for normal businesses. As a non-profit, you get this and much more for free, for unlimited users.

Many of these apps will amplify your non-profit work, allowing you to be more productive and efficient. It will stop you getting bogged down and away from those important fund-raising tasks.

Eligibility Criteria

So, you’re thinking great. Sounds like the perfect solution for my non-profit! Let me get signed up. Before you do you will need to meet the requirements.

Currently, G Suite for non-profits is available for 50+ countries. Each country has its own specific eligibility requirements.

For the non-profits in Canada looking to apply, the requirements according to Google itself are as follows:

Essentially what this means is that you need to be

  • registered with the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency) as a charity.

  • You will also have to register with one of the local TechSoup Google partners so that they can verify that you are indeed a registered charity.

 

The process is a little complicated and can take a short whilst the verification procedure takes place. But once it’s done things get a whole lot easier.

Once you are ready and are eligible for G Suite for non-profits follow the steps below to get started.

  1. Signup for a G Suite free trial here: https://gsuite.google.com/intl/en_us/ - There is a 14-day trial applicable to all new accounts. The reason we are signing up to G Suite first is so that we use the non-profit domain to signup with (you can skip the step to verify the domain as you will do this when setting up the G Suite account later on below) and its used in the next step as the required domain for the main admin account. You can take step 2 first but, in our experience, we have found this to be more confusing and complicated.

  2. Signup to G Suite for Non-profits here: https://www.google.com/nonprofits/offerings/apps-for-nonprofits.html simply click the get started button. During the signup process use the account created in step 1 as the admin account (this can be changed later if required).

  3. Apply for a TechSoup account and validation token – During the non-profit application, you will be required to enter a validation token. This is given via a Google local TechSoup partner. You can register here: https://www.techsoupcanada.ca/en  for this account to obtain the required validation token. Once you have the token simply enter it into the application. The rest of the process is automated.

 

As we said the process can seem a little complicated and drawn out, but it's required for you to obtain a free enterprise account.

Having all the charity details to hand will allow you to go through the steps smoothly and quickly. Once it’s all done you won’t be required to take these steps again.

 

Setting Up G Suite

Once you have completed the applications you can go ahead and set up the new G Suite account whilst everything else is getting approved.

The main step that you’re going to take here is to setup the non-profit domain with your G Suite account. This is going to allow you to create users with associated email addresses and apps for them to start using.

When you signed up for the G Suite account earlier you added in the non-profit domain to be used. Upon your first log in to G Suite, you will be presented with the following:

Choose the manual step on the right and not the automated process so you can have full control and configure all the settings correctly.

  1. Verifying the domain manually.

 

When you use the manual option to setup G Suite you will be redirected to the admin console. Here you will see an alert message right at the top:

This will take you through the domain verification steps. You will be given a few options to verify the domain which will require access to the domains DNS.

The easiest option is to add a TXT record to the DNS records. Copy the code supplied by G Suite and hop over to the domains DNS and add those in.

Not sure on how to do this? Here is a full step by step guide by Google on how you can view the code and use it with one of the many web hosts out there (Tip: choose your web host from the list available to see the steps required to implement this easily).

Whilst you have the domains DNS settings open, you have a great opportunity to also configure the SPF/DKIM records.

Basically, these 2 records added to your DNS will allow the emails to pass verification and checks to confirm that you’re a legitimate email sender. Here is how Google explains this.

In the DNS settings select add a new record and select TXT as the type.

In the box you will want to add in the following for the SPF TXT record: v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all (this is the same for all domains added to G Suite) and then hit save.

Then click add a new record and as before select TXT and then paste in the unique DKIM record.To access the unique DKIM record, from your admin console open the main menu and go to Apps > G Suite > Settings for Gmail > Authentication

That allows you to copy the DKIM code to use in the DNS records. Once you have added it in simply hit save.

Now one thing to keep in mind is that these setting generally take up to 48 hours to take effect, especially if it’s a new G Suite account.

However, once they are live, your emails will be authenticated and so long as you’re not sending spam, 99% of the time emails you send will land in a person’s inbox.

That’s all the basic settings that you need to configure for you to start using G Suite.

Of course, you can set additional settings like 2-factor authentication, app usage, etc. but it’s out of scope for this guide.

Using G Suite

Now comes the fun part. Everything has all been set up for you to finally use G Suite (the applications may still be pending but you can start to use G Suite until they are approved).

The next step you’re going to take is add in the users. You already have one, the main admin account, but most likely you’ll be wanting to add in additional users.

They will each have their own email address and access to all the apps available in G Suite.

From the admin console select Users:

On the next screen, you can create the new users by clicking the + sign (1) which will bring up the new user pop up screen. Fill out all the details that are required for that specific user.

In this step, you can allocate whatever you prefer for their email address. It can be firstname.lastname / first initial.lastname  (2) or any other variant you prefer.

What I would recommend is that you keep this consistent as it will be easier for you to manage later!

You will also have several different options available for that user i.e. allow them to select their own password, changing it on the first login as well as setting up secondary emails.

That’s it, your user has been created and will now be able to log in and use G Suite for their emails. They will also have access to all the other apps that are available with G Suite.

Tip: if you want to restrict the apps that are generally available you can do this easily.

Again, via the admin console click the Apps icon in the middle. That will take you to the App’s settings screen. Here you will see the G Suite core services and additional services that are available.

Select which service you want to configure i.e. core services, then the specific app i.e. calendar. You can then turn this app on/off globally or apply the setting on a per-user basis.

What this will allow you to do is turn some apps on/off depending on the user’s requirements. Perhaps you just need G Suite for email and storage? Or don’t need a specific user to be able to access a calendar? This is the place for you to set those permissions.

 

Conclusion

Although there are few hurdles you need to jump through to apply and setup the G Suite account, once it’s all done it will be super simple to manage.

You will have one central point of access to manage all your data and users, which is all permission based.  When a new user joins you can quickly add them into the organization or delete them just as quickly when they leave, whilst still retaining the data within your organization.

We have just touched upon the features of G Suite here. Added bonuses of completing the setup will mean you will also have access to the Google grants program (will require activation and setup) that will give you up to $10,000 in PPC spend to promote and raise funds for the non-profit!

To top it off Google also has a mobile phone app called ‘Google One Today’ which will allow you to receive donations on a regular basis towards non-profit campaigns. Again, it’s all managed via your G Suite non-profits account.

You won’t need to operate multiple apps or services to keep the non-profit running, but you can keep it all in one place with Google’s G Suite for non-profits service offering. It really is a no brainer.

If you think we have missed something out or if we have helped you out in some way, then we would love to hear from you- email Alexzander at alexzander@valendigital.com