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Q&A from Our Google Apps Brown Bag

Posted Apr 24, 2013 03:15 PM
Our HandsOn Tech team recently led a Brown Bag on Google for Nonprofits. Here are our answers from the questions raised by our audience.

501 Commons’ HandsOn Tech AmeriCorps team recently led a Brown Bag training on Google for Nonprofits. This training focused on informing the nonprofit community on cloud based Google services. From collaboration, to scheduling, and document management, Apps has the potential to help small nonprofits unify under one service to streamline their mission and make their technology usage as transparent as possible.

One thing we have learned is the pressure involved in deciding whether it is worth the risk migrating to a new service. Many nonprofits find themselves strapped for time, money, and personnel resources. It is important to know the facts before jumping into a new program. Here is a list of some questions asked at our last brown bag: Google for Nonprofits.

Where can I go to get started on learning about all the programs available with Google Apps?

Check out Google Apps Products for a list of every product that is available from Google, with links to learn more about each one. Training is also available, so you can attend online to get an overview of each product and how it can be effective for your organization.

*Google Apps for Nonprofits is the same as Google Apps for Business, except that is it free for qualifying 501©(3)’s. Click here for information on how to apply for the Google Apps for Nonprofits program.

Where can I go for more in-depth information on each specific program, including self-training?

I have found that the Google Support site has great in-depth information about each app, which goes above and beyond just a basic overview of what the product can do for your organization.

It is actual product training for each individual app available.

For example, one of the questions we received was on Google Form’s training. Specifically, how to embed it on their site and track the responses. Since Forms is part of the Google Drive app, I simply clicked on Drive on the main support page, and then found a list of learning topics under the “Learn” section. In this case, I found how to use Forms under the “Docs, Sheets, Slides, and other apps”, and then clicked on “Use other Google apps for Drive” and found information on Forms. It was on this page where I learned every aspect of how Google Forms works, from adding and editing questions, to viewing and managing responses.

Additonally, we had a question about Google Earth Outreach (a useful tool for nonprofits). Again from the main Google Support page, we clicked on Google Earth, Other ways to use Google earth, and then Nonprofits. From this page we found all the information you will need to get started with set up and making the best use of the program.

Where can I learn more about how to accept donations on my website with Google Checkout? How much does it cost?

Google Apps for nonprofits can be used to accept donations on an organization’s website. Google Checkout is a great starter donation tool that can be easily embedded on your website, is secure, flexible, and does not require you to be enrolled in Google Apps for Nonprofits. There is no monthly, startup, or gateway costs to accept donations, however there is now a processing fee depending on the volume of donations received. Here is a table of the costs based on volume:

Monthly Sales Through Google Checkout

Fees Per Transaction

Less than $3,000

2.9% + $0.30

$3,000 - $9,999.99

2.5% + $0.30

$10,000 - $99,999.99

2.2% + $0.30

$100,000 or more

1.9% + $0.30

Where can we find out more about how to use Google Analytics effectively?

Of all the apps available from Google, Analytics has to be the one with the highest learning curve. Fortunately, there are a TON of resources for getting started on the Google Analytics Home Page. There is a ton of “Getting Started” documentation, and even free online courses that provide comprehensive hands-on training on Analytics and data analysis. This can all be found on the site under the “Learn” tab.

Additionally, there is a YouTube channel on beginner to advanced topics that are free to watch and make use of. For those new to the program I recommend the “Getting Started with Google Analytics Webinar.”

Where can I learn more about Google Grants and AdWords?

Similar to Analytics, Google Adwords has a full site for the nonprofit edition of AdWords, with support on how the service works. There is even free live support available to answer questions and even help you get started on your campaign!  Anyone can sign up for AdWords, however nonprofits are additionally eligible for Google Grants, which provides $10,000 a month in free advertising.

Check out the Google Apps for Nonprofits site “Learning” page on how to set up your first AdWords campaign with no commitments!

How do we report receipt of Google Adwords donation to IRS? Is it an in-kind contribution or grant?

It is an in-kind contribution for eligible 501(c)(3)’s. It must be reported on Form 990, the tax form for tax exempt organizations.

In-kind contributions are recorded as both income and expenses when they are received.

Specific information can be found on the IRS website:

Exempt Organizations Annual Reporting Requirements - Form 990, Schedules A and B: Reporting In-Kind Contributions

For more information on future HandsOn Tech trainings, please visit our Trainings Page.