Why Google Apps are right for Non-Profits and NGO’s
Subsequent having been web host for many NGO‘s and non-profits I am know very well the struggle with members and their emails accounts. It just seems to be the never ending story. No matter how good instructions you make for the users there are consistently few of them that either do not follow or read the instructions and you end up spending your time trying to solve their quandaries. Working in a NGO or Non-profit, as a volunteer you probably imagined that you would spend your time making the world a better place, but find your self spending more time servicing other members email setups rather than actually doing what you signed up to do.
Registered non-profit organizations with less than 3,000 users qualify for Google Apps Education Edition. Meaning that not only do you get email, but also shared calendar, collaboration tools and shared documents that you can store for future generation of members and do not have to worry that data will get lost on damaged CD or old hard drive. Of course the data is also secured and easy to control what people have access to what data.
You will use your own domain and you do not have to move your other web hosting such as website, you just direct the email to Google’s server. You will benefit the great advantage of the Google over conventional hosting. The email accounts will have the best possible spam filters, which are updated regularly. Google takes care of the user support, and for the most the setup is something which users already know as many users are already using Gmail. You will still have your own control board (dashboard) where you can control of the access and create new email accounts.
Of course your users will get similar feel as in regular Gmail, the total amount of data is the same and the look of the webmail is about the same as regular Gmail account. After the setup is done users will be able to reach their email through the url mail.yourdomain.com (or other path with in your domain you choose) and they will be able to log in to their Google account.
The users will of have the option of using their favorite email program (Outlook, mac mail..) or just login in any of their mobile application.
Google Apps - setup for non-profits and NGO's
Go to Google apps for non-profits and sign up for an account. You will need Gmail account, so if you have one you can use it or setup new one.
Setup necessary information about your domain as is required by google such as your Name, Your Organization, how many users and other background information.
Setup the Primary Master account, where you create the main email account that will be used with this domain.
Setup what applications you want. There are few other options as well in the free account, but for most you are just going to want to setup Email and Calendar.
The most difficult part is the Changes to DNS you will have to make. If you are not tech geek this might prove to have some difficult issues, but for the most it is just to make connection with your domain name and to Google. When someone sends email to your account, it will know that the email is hosted at Google. As this is not the conventional setup (usually email is hosted on the same server as your website), you need to modify few things. You will also need to prove to google that you have the ownership of the domain you want to add. Google will send you detailed information how this can be done.
Following are the instructions that Google gives to setup the records right:
1. Log in to the administrative console for your domain
2. Locate the page from which you can update the domain MX records. You may need to enable advanced settings.
3. Add an MX record for the email server. Enter the fully qualified server name, such as ASPMX.L.GOOGLE.COM. Many domain providers also require a trailing period at the end of the server name.
4. Set the priority for the record. MX records with a lower number have higher priority than MX records with a higher number. Different domain hosts use different priority numbering systems. Regardless of the system, the important fact is the relative priorities of MX records.
5. If your domain provider enables you to set the Time to Live (TTL) value for the record, set it to 300 seconds.
6. To add MX records for additional servers, repeat steps 3 through 5 for those servers. Give backup servers a lower priority than the primary email server.
7. Delete any existing MX records, or lower their priority. If you plan to continue routing mail to your legacy email server (for dual delivery or split delivery), retain the existing MX records with a lower priority.
8. Save your changes. Keep in mind that changes to MX records may take up to 48 hours to propagate throughout the Internet.
As webmaster of website for Non-profit or NGO, the Google offers great value for non-profits and NGO’s, as they limit the work of organizing web-based problems and will give you time to do the real mission of the organization you belong with.