With any nonprofit organization, you tend to try different methods of establishing a culture of cohesion. This cohesion entails everyone in the organization communicating seamlessly and being productive in their tasks. Upon starting L.O.V.E Our Youth in 2012, we faced this exact dilemma as we began to grow. Files and communication were housed in a method that only I knew, but as we brought in more mentors and volunteers, we had to evolve quickly.
We eventually found that Google and Microsoft offered their email and productive suites for free to nonprofit organizations to remedy this situation. It was a joy since it didn’t add additional expense to our budget (yay! more $$ for program and services). We could stay organized and productive and still run our programs. It’s a win/win.
We tried both systems and liked each one for very different reasons, but ultimately, the deciding factor was which system our staff and volunteers were more comfortable using. Below are some things we liked about each system.
Pros and Cons of Each System
Google Workspace –
+ We found that most of our volunteers and staff were more familiar with the Google Suite and used various features such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Meets.
+ Made collaboration easy
+ Unlimited FREE users
+ We love using the shared calendar across our team
+ Eventually built a basic intranet
+ Google Forms and Websites builder have been additional assets for our team
– We had to use some additional outside products such as Slack to extend communication beyond e-mail (Using Google chat was an option but didn’t allow us to achieve the grouping of conversations/teams)
– Some advanced features in docs, sheets, and slides that we were accustomed to using in the Microsoft Suite was not available (but over the years, features improved).
Microsoft Office 365 –
+ We love the opportunity to use Teams to chat and host web calls in one place.
+ Reduce the amount of additional applications (outside of Microsoft) that we needed to improve our productivity
+ As we continue to grow, we can expand our use of the suite to meet our growing needs.
– Some of our volunteers shared that they were not familiar with the use of Microsoft Suite.
– Some “basic” features required a paid upgrade to use
In conclusion, the system that fit L.O.V.E’s needs was Google Workspace for various reasons, with one of the top reasons being user-friendliness. Due to the number of volunteers we have, using a system they may not be familiar with can deter them from efficiently completing a project. In addition, when we onboard new staff and volunteers, our goal is to make it a seamless process. This might not be the same for your organization, but you can test them out and make your decision with free access. Both are great systems, and I encourage them to identify the pros and cons and select one they can foresee using for years to come. To see a broader overview of each system, you can use the links below to see offerings from both companies.
Let us help you decide on a system that works best for your nonprofit and discuss how we can help you grow your organization through expanding its resources in the area of People, Process, and Technology; scheduling your FREE consultation with us today: bit.ly/3ji4eSP