Monday, March 24, 2008

Google Does Good

In tandem with my mid-term paper which examines how non-profits use a variety of different new media tools, I've been meaning to post about Google's launch of it's site for non-profits, simply called Google For Non-Profits.

Google announced the launch on March 18 on it's official Google blog so I'm a little late in posting but better late than never.

The self-dubbed "one-stop shop for tools to help advance your organization's mission in a smart, cost-efficient way" covers everything from grant writing with Google Docs to spreading an organization's message with Blogger. Other tools include YouTube's non-profit program, a checkout program for donations and Google Gadget Center where you can create your own gadget (it sounds like virtual arts & crafts for adults). Then, of course, there's the simple tools like using gmail.

The "Checkout" feature allows users to process online donations for free until 2009 and has no monthly, gateway or setup fees which is definitely a plus for non-profits.

They even have a feature for non-profits to share their stories about how Google has helped their non-profit grow.

One feature that I personally find interesting is the use of Google Maps and Google Earth to put an organization and its mission on the map (literally and figuratively). Using these maps can help demonstrate the scope of a problem. Take for instance, Google Earth's Crisis in Darfur Map (my topic for my final paper). It maps out the issue in an interactive way that really shows people the urgency of the genocide in Darfur. While this example is on a much larger scale, this type of technology can also be used on a more local level such as mapping out the amount of homeless children throughout the state of Massachusetts. This can further promote and educate people about a cause in a whole new way.

Google also provides helpful tutorials for each feature to make the process as easy as possible.

Hopefully this will be a useful tool for non-profits to make that leap into using technology to their advantage.

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