Animal Care Expo 2017: Google for Nonprofits


Google offers nonprofit organizations a number of benefits that are not available to other organizations or users. Here’s how Google for Nonprofits can help you set your organization up for success.

At the 2017 Animal Care Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Emily Garman, digital marketing expert for The Social Animal — a blog featuring social media advice and video tutorials for animal welfare advocates and other nonprofit organizations — shared her insights on the free program Google for Nonprofits.

Google offers eligible organizations free versions of products that most customers need to pay for. For example, eligible organizations can take advantage of Gmail email hosting, 30GB file storage per user and 24/7 support by phone, chat and email — all for free. In addition, Google for Nonprofits members can take advantage of these exclusive services:

  • YouTube for Nonprofits allows you to add links and donation buttons to your YouTube videos.
  • OneToday helps you create donation campaigns with no processing fees.
  • Google Ad Grants allows users to run ads on Google Search results with an in-kind advertising budget every month.
  • Free video production services with YouTube spaces are offered in specific cities across the country.

These tools can help get your name out there and reel in more donations than ever before.

Besides explaining the unique features accessible to Google for Nonprofits users, Garman also gave tips for maximizing Google for Nonprofits:

  • OneToday offers fundraising campaigns for nonprofits but, Garman says “keep your normal fundraising channels open on your website.” Vehicles for making donations through PayPal, credit cards, and vehicles should all be located on your website. Use OneToday for more specific and detailed fundraisers.
  • Use Gmail as your organization’s primary email service because, Garman notes, no server in the world is “more secure, better at filtering spam and easier to use than Google’s.” Instead of using an unprofessional email address, get your nonprofit up to speed by using its own domain name in email addresses.
  • Google Calendar is a timesaver for every organization that uses it. “The levels of customization are endless, and you can completely control who can view and edit what calendars,” Garman says. Don’t just use one calendar either — have one calendar for personal events, another for public events, another for appointments, etc.
  • Learn the ins and outs of Google Grants to get the most out of your monthly budget allowance. Garman suggests studying up on Google Adwords to better utilize the features of the Grants program. Click here for a primer on getting started with Google AdWords.
  • Even though Google Drive is a free service, your nonprofit should be using it for almost everything. Files, photos, videos, and other documents are stored securely in the cloud and backed up on a regular basis. “You control access, everything is organized in one place and you can still find what you need when you have staff turnover,” says Garman.
  • Your average YouTube user can’t put links to external pages in their videos, says Garman, but nonprofits can use this special capability. Insert links in a video to your donation page or your website to foster more activity.
  • Things can sometimes get difficult when trying to understand and work with all of these new features and applications, so don’t let the 24/7 help go without use.
  • Garman recommends against using Google Forms for sensitive information such as credit card numbers or social security numbers, but to absolutely use this feature to collect and synthesize all other data you may receive. You can then create graphs or charts in Google Sheets with the collected data to understand your results.
  • There’s no doubt that Google Analytics is vital to understanding the success of any organization’s presence on the internet. Garman advises using it to “learn the basics to gain insight into donors and track how they interact with your website.” Doing so will allow you to adjust accordingly and optimize your website and social media efforts for the best results.

The Bottom Line

“I still talk to many animal welfare professionals who feel that time spent online, especially time spent learning a new software tool, is time ‘taken away from the animals,’” Garman says. It may seem daunting at first to sign up for all of these features and services, but you will reap great rewards just by taking some time to work with these tools.

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