The Free Video Conferencing Platform All Nonprofits Should Use
Did you know that arguably the best video online conferencing platform for nonprofits is actually available free-of-charge?
If you work at a nonprofit, chances are high that you are facing some issues (to put it lightly) as your organization adapts to the realities of remote working. With so much for your team to adjust to, it can be difficult to navigate the different online conferencing and meeting platform options that are available. Recent horror stories in the news haven’t helped matters. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution you may have overlooked that will help make online communication less jarring. In a time when so many organizations are now struggling, the good news for nonprofits is that a quality online video conferencing solution doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg; our preferred solution is offered at no cost for all qualified 501(c)3 nonprofits.
Google Hangouts Meet
Does your nonprofit have a Google Ad Grant? If the answer is “yes”, that means you’re part of Google’s Google for Nonprofits program, which includes free access to G Suite for Nonprofits. And G Suite includes access to Google Hangouts Meet, a best-in-class video conferencing solution. Even better: Google has announced that through September 30, 2020, all G Suite customers can use premium Hangouts Meet video conference features, such as larger meetings (up to 250 participants), live streaming (up to 100,000 people), and recording. That’s a total gamechanger for nonprofits to help ensure staffers, board members, and volunteers stay in touch and communicate effectively while under quarantine due to the coronavirus outbreak.
How to Apply
If you have a Google Ad Grant but haven’t enabled G Suite for Nonprofits, simply head to the Google for Nonprofits homepage, sign in, select “Activate products”, and hit the “Get Started” button under “G Suite for Nonprofits”. From there, follow the steps to complete the signup process. Keep in mind that Google’s account review process takes about 3 business days, so it’s best to get started as soon as you can.
If you work for a 501(c)3 nonprofit that does not have a Google Ad Grant account, you can easily sign up for a Google For Nonprofits account and gain access to Hangouts Meet for your organization by following the steps above. After getting up and running with Hangouts Meet, we strongly recommend applying for Google’s Ad Grants program, which provides qualified nonprofits with $10,000 per month in search advertising budget. Not sure where to start? We can help.
Why Video Conferencing?
At Media Cause, we’re well-versed in the realities of working from home given our flexible work from home policy and distributed workforce in four offices across the US. One of the core ways we stay connected to each other and our client partners is online video conferencing. Unlike one-to-one phone calls or traditional conference calls, video conferencing helps us put a face to the name. It also helps everyone more fully connect with each other, since you can pick up on body language. Practically speaking, audio quality is usually better than voice calls (depending on the system — more on that later) and opens you up to screen sharing whenever it’s useful (not just for major presentations) to share what you’re working on with other meeting attendees.
It can feel intimidating to go on camera while you’re at home, but think about it this way: nearly everyone right now is also at home, so don’t feel like you need to be dressed up or have a perfect backdrop. Rather, by showing a little humanity over video chat, we can all feel more connected right now. Have your kids or dog stop by to say hello. Show off your favorite coffee cup. Organize virtual happy hours with your co-workers. At Media Cause, we’re starting “MC Cribs” on Fridays where a different staffer each week gives us a tour of their home. Get creative and have fun — we’re all in it together.
Why We Like Google Hangouts Meet
- Seamless Google Calendar Integration – Once you’re up and running with G Suite, you can automatically attach Hangouts Meet meeting links with your invites and include phone numbers for those who prefer a traditional dial-in experience.
- Enterprise-grade Security – Unlike Zoom, which has come under fire recently for its security flaws, Hangouts Meet takes a variety of anti-abuse measures to keep meetings safe.
- Dial In and Out – US and International numbers are automatically created for each meeting for those who prefer a dial-in option, and meeting organizers can dial out to a phone number to patch participants into the meeting.
- Web-based Interface – No plug-ins to download or desktop applications to install.
- Reliable Mobile App – Easy to navigate interface makes it easy to call into video meetings whenever and wherever.
We’re Here to Help
As a friendly reminder, Media Cause is here to help you navigate the global coronavirus pandemic with free office hours, a wealth of resources, and specialized services. And if you need help with any marketing technology projects, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.