Google for Nonprofits

Perhaps you know about google drive and google hangouts and gmail, but the Mission Institute has been working behind the scenes to help congregations in the Diocese of Massachusetts get hooked up with Google for Nonprofits. By being a registered Google for Nonprofits user, a church gets additional free, high-powered tools that are usually only available to business users. The problem is that Google requires a federal nonprofit ID number which individual congregations do not have!

In typical Mission Institute fashion, we found this problem because we had gathered a online Discussion Circle about technology (Discussion Circles name a common interest for gathering, but the actual agenda is set by those who take part). For this Circle we talked about the tech training that congregations need, the struggles we have with websites, and the challenges in using social media. However, the conversation quickly turned to people’s frustration with getting registered with Google for Nonprofits.

Google for Nonprofits offers web-site support, donation support, video and mapping tools all for free. How frustrating not to access them! But don’t worry, we figured it out! After gathering a small group of clergy and lay leaders who were willing to have their congregations be test cases, we met with others who had done it before. Specifically Gerry Sullivan, the Chief Business Officer of the Diocese of Massachusetts and Eric Wagner of Grace Church in Salem. With their generous help and the dedication of the volunteer congregations, we were able to crack the nut!

Now that we have figured it out, so can you! What a congregation ultimately needs to register to use Google for Nonprofits is a federal nonprofit tax ID number. Unfortunately, we are unable to publish the national Episcopal church's tax information on the internet (go figure)! However, if you are an Episcopal congregation in Massachusetts or elsewhere (we believe in radical welcome!), please contact Gerry Sullivan, he will be more than willing to help you out!

Of course the Mission Institute didn’t solve this problem. What we did, and what we want to do for others, is create a space where people come together to share our lives and experiences. All of the people who contributed to solving this problem met, although never all at the same time and never actually in one room! When people first gathered we didn’t even have a specific problem in mind—just an idea that we could all be using technology more effectively. The gathering is the process. The Mission Institute has gathered Circles around family homelessness, collaboration, missio dei, food ministries, and technology. Each gathering goes in a different direction, because each group has different needs. What is important is that together we succeeded in solving a little problem that many of us failed to solve individually. And we had fun. So come on… What’s next?