6 Free Google Tools for History-Based Nonprofits

Google for Nonprofits is perfect for History-based organizations

Google for Nonprofits, an essentially free program for U.S. (and U.K.) nonprofits wanting to grow their organization through online channels of engagement. Though it has eligibility requirements, once accepted, you have access to free versions of all Google products, including tutorials for each to help you get started.

While large organizations like Kivacharity: water, and UNICEF are part of the Google for Nonprofits community, these tools are just as accessible and valuable to smaller organizations like local historical societies and house museums. These internationally known organizations have used Google’s tools to heighten their awareness, particularly through Google Ads, and YouTube, among other features, and you can too.

What’s included with Google for Nonprofits? Below is an overview of six major features offered and a short explanation of how you can use them.

Google for nonprofits tools for history societies and house museums

1) Google Apps

Google Apps includes 30GB of storage on Gmail and Google Drive, a cloud-based document-sharing and creation tool. Your nonprofit also receives 24/7 support for any technical issues you may encounter with these features.

The benefits of the apps are substantial. For instance, if your team is disbursed in the field or operates in different countries, you can share and store information securely with Google Drive. Meanwhile, you can communicate online with people in various countries with Gmail and stay up-to-date on events with Google Calendar.

Google Apps in Action

Samasource uses the various tools available to it through the program to connect about 850 people in five countries. Using Google Drive to communicate and share information across a vastly distributed workforce has been very important for training and tracking the organization’s projects across the world.

2) Google Ad Grants

Google Ad Grants (formally known as Google Grants) is a $10,000 monthly grant given to organizations looking to advertise on Google. With the potential of driving 10,000 to 40,000 new visitors a month to your website, using this “free money” to attract new constituents to engage with your organization online is a too good not to pass up.

Google Ad Grants Example

Direct Relief International started using Google Ad Grants in 2003. Google helped the group revise its marketing plan, consisting of eight campaigns in paid search and remarketing, including 150 newly created text ads for an end-of-year giving campaign. Recently, the organization saw a 44% year-over-year increase in the number of online donations and a 40% bump in total dollars donated online just from Google Ads.

3) YouTube for Nonprofits

Not only can your nonprofit use YouTube channels to share videos about your organization, its events, its achievements, and even to say thank you, you are also able to collect donations through it. Video is a great medium to connect with a large audience and inspire them to support your organization. With YouTube, your nonprofit is able to:

  • Drive viewers to action by placing a call-to-action overlay directly on your videos.
  • Customize the look and feel of your channel with your organization’s logo and branding.
  • Boost fundraising through a Google Checkout “Donate” button on your channel homepage.

YouTube Example

The Anaheim Ballet has utilized YouTube to “make ballet accessible to a broad audience and collect donations from the community.” The group is able to tell stories of their dancer profiles, show behind-the-scenes rehearsals, and display instructional videos. It gives Anaheim Ballet a global stage to perform and also eliminates the barrier of entry to viewing the performances. The organization also gets feedback on its performances from its YouTube viewers by asking questions during videos.

4) Google Earth Outreach

Showing the impact of your work in the field is a constant challenge, but it’s a growing demand from supporters and can drive a lot of attention if done effectively. Google Earth Outreach is a mapping tool that includes Google Earth and Google Maps to allow your supporters to see your work. With Google Earth Outreach, you can:

  • Create a custom map of your historical sites in 10 minutes.
  • Create a narrative Google Earth tour of your museum and make it available on YouTube.
  • Collect data in the field with Android devices and Open Data kit and map your data.
  • Use the online tutorials to help you get the most out of the available mapping tools.

Google Earth Outreach Example

Chief Almir of the Sururi tribe in the Brazilian Amazon started using Google Earth in 2007 as a way to protect the rain forest and preserve his people’s way of living in harmony. He invited Google to train his community on how to record stories of tribal elders to share on YouTube, geo-tagging their content, and uploading it to a cultural map on Google Earth in order to share their unique history with the world.

In 2009, the tribe started using mobile phones and an Open Data Kit to record instances of illegal deforestation and logging in their territory on Google Earth. Since then, the tribe has begun using the tools to track its forest’s carbon stock. This will allow it to trade on the carbon credit marketplace and “build a sustainable future for their territory.”

5) Google Analytics

Understanding which of your marketing efforts, whether it’s via social media or Google AdWords, is driving the most traffic to your website is crucial to growing your online presence and using the right channels to your advantage. Google Analytics provides your nonprofit with information on how people find and interact with your website and eventually take action to support your mission. With Google Analytics, you can:

  • Measure engagement of your supporters with your website.
  • Determine which of your AdWords ads are most effective.
  • Identify and understand how volunteers, donors, and stakeholders interact with your website.
  • Track the effectiveness of social media for your campaign.

6) One Today

This Android app allows nonprofits to launch projects that can make a big impact with $1 donations made via mobile devices. Once you’re a member of Google for Nonprofits, you have complete access to set up your projects and fundraise through One Today. How does this work? One Today allows users to browse and learn about a different cause every day, donate to what inspires them, and amplify an organization’s impact by asking their friends and family via social media to match their $1 donation each day.

Users will receive donation receipts after each donation payment is made (the app does not charge users for each $1 donation, rather it groups pledges and asks users to confirm a credit card charge periodically via Google Wallet). For any donations over $250, users will receive a tax deduction certificate from Network For Good at the end of each year.

So, what are the benefits of joining One Today?

  • It’s quick and easy. Once you are an approved Google for Nonprofits member, it takes only a few minutes to register and set up your first project.
  • It expands your donor base. One Today introduces your projects to those individuals that are most likely to donate to your cause because their friends and family have donated to similar organizations.
  • It raises awareness to a new audience. Your organization is able to tell your story to a new audience of technologically savvy individuals that care about causes related to yours. One Today learns what organization users like to support the more they give, so it’s tailored to users that are most likely to support your organization.
  • It creates a young, social movement around your fundraising. It gives your followers on social media and younger generations a new way to support your organization through the channels on which they are most comfortable.

Applying for Google for Nonprofits

To register for Google for Nonprofits, you must be a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the U.S., and to apply for a Google for Nonprofits membership, go here and follow the basic steps below. Make sure to review the eligibility requirements before applying, as some types of organizations are not eligible.