A Guide to Google Workspace Administration for Non-Profit Organizations with Volunteer Positions

Question:

How to best manage Google Workspace accounts for a non-profit organization with volunteer positions?

I am a Google Workspace administrator for a non-profit organization that has recently set up its domain. I need some guidance on how to create and assign accounts for different volunteer positions in the organization. The positions are elected for two-year terms and not all volunteers require an account. I want to ensure that the accounts are secure, easy to manage, and preserve the historical emails of each position.

My initial idea was to create an account for each position (for example, [email protected]) and change the password whenever a new person takes over the position. However, I am not sure if this is the best practice or if there are any alternatives. I searched online but did not find any clear recommendations. Any advice from experts would be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

Google Workspace is a powerful and versatile tool for non-profit organizations, as it offers a range of features and benefits, such as collaboration, communication, security, and productivity. However, managing Google Workspace accounts for a non-profit organization with volunteer positions can pose some challenges, especially when the positions are subject to frequent changes and not all volunteers need an account.

In this article, we will explore some of the best practices and tips for creating and assigning Google Workspace accounts for different volunteer positions in a non-profit organization. We will also discuss some of the pros and cons of various approaches and provide some examples of how other non-profit organizations have handled this issue.

Creating accounts for volunteer positions

One of the first decisions to make when creating Google Workspace accounts for volunteer positions is whether to create an account for each position or for each person. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options, depending on the size, structure, and needs of the organization.

Creating an account for each position (for example, [email protected]) can help to maintain consistency and continuity across the organization, as the account will always be associated with the same role and responsibilities. This can also make it easier to manage the account permissions and access levels, as well as to preserve the historical emails and documents of each position. However, this approach can also have some drawbacks, such as:

  • The account password will need to be changed and shared whenever a new person takes over the position, which can pose a security risk and a hassle for the administrator and the user.
  • The account may accumulate a lot of emails and documents over time, which can affect the storage space and the performance of the account.
  • The account may not reflect the personal preferences and settings of the user, such as the signature, the profile picture, the theme, etc.
  • The account may not be compatible with other Google services that require a personal account, such as Google Photos, Google Play, Google Pay, etc.
  • Creating an account for each person (for example, [email protected]) can help to avoid some of these issues, as the account will be more personalized and secure for the user. The user will also be able to use the account for other Google services that require a personal account. However, this approach can also have some drawbacks, such as:

  • The account may not be easily identifiable by the role and responsibilities of the user, which can cause confusion and miscommunication within and outside the organization.
  • The account may not be easily transferable to the next person who takes over the position, which can result in a loss of historical emails and documents, as well as a disruption of the workflow and the relationships of the position.
  • The account may require more management and oversight from the administrator, as the user may have more control and flexibility over the account settings and permissions.
  • Assigning accounts for volunteer positions

    Another decision to make when managing Google Workspace accounts for volunteer positions is how to assign the accounts to the users. There are several ways to do this, depending on the preferences and policies of the organization.

    One way is to use the delegation feature of Google Workspace, which allows the administrator to grant access to another user’s account without sharing the password. This can be useful for situations where the user needs to access the emails and documents of another position, such as a director, a treasurer, a secretary, etc. The user can switch between the delegated accounts and their own account easily, and the administrator can revoke the access at any time. However, this feature has some limitations, such as:

  • The user can only access the Gmail and Google Calendar of the delegated account, not the other Google Workspace apps, such as Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, etc.
  • The user can only send emails from the delegated account if the administrator has enabled the “Send mail as” option in the Gmail settings.
  • The user cannot chat or make video calls from the delegated account, as these features are linked to the user’s own account.
  • Another way is to use the alias feature of Google Workspace, which allows the administrator to create an alternative email address for an existing account. This can be useful for situations where the user needs to have multiple email addresses for different purposes, such as a position, a project, a committee, etc. The user can receive and send emails from the alias address, and the administrator can add or remove the alias at any time. However, this feature has some limitations, such as:

  • The user can only have one alias per account, not multiple aliases.
  • The user cannot use the alias address to sign in to Google Workspace or other Google services, as the alias is not a separate account.
  • The user cannot customize the settings and permissions of the alias address, as they are inherited from the primary account.
  • A third way is to use the group feature of Google Workspace, which allows the administrator to create a mailing list for a group of users. This can be useful for situations where the user needs to communicate and collaborate with other users who share a common interest, role, or function, such as a position, a department, a team, etc. The user can send and receive emails from the group address, and the administrator can add or remove members and manage the group settings. However, this feature has some limitations, such as:

  • The user cannot use the group address to sign in to Google Workspace or other Google services, as the group is not an account.
  • The user cannot access the emails and documents of the group, unless they are shared with the user individually or through a shared drive.
  • The user cannot chat or make video calls from the group address, as these features are linked to the user’s own account.
  • Examples of how other non-profit organizations have managed Google Workspace accounts for volunteer positions

    There is no one-size-fits-all solution for managing Google Workspace accounts for volunteer positions, as different organizations may have different needs, goals, and challenges. However, it can be helpful to look at some examples of how other non-profit organizations have handled this issue and learn from their experiences and best practices.

    One example is the American Red Cross, which has over 300,000 volunteers across the United States and around the world. The organization uses Google Workspace to support its mission of providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief. The organization creates an account for each volunteer (for example, [email protected]) and assigns them to different groups based on their roles and functions (for example, [email protected], [email protected], etc.). The organization also uses the delegation feature to grant access to the accounts of key positions, such as the regional director, the chapter president, the board chair, etc. The organization has a dedicated team of Google Workspace administrators who manage the accounts and provide training and support to the volunteers.

    Another example is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which has over 5 million supporters and 6,000 staff members in more than 100 countries. The organization uses Google Workspace to promote its vision of conserving nature and reducing the threats to the diversity of life on Earth. The organization creates an account for each staff member (for example, [email protected]) and assigns them to different aliases based on their positions and projects (for example, [email protected], [email protected], etc.). The organization also uses the group feature to create mailing lists for different teams and departments (for example, [email protected], [email protected], etc.). The organization has a centralized Google Workspace administration system that allows the staff members to manage their own accounts and settings.

    Conclusion

    Managing

Google Workspace accounts for a non-profit organization with volunteer positions can be a complex and challenging task, as there are many factors and trade-offs to consider. However, by following some of the best practices and tips discussed in this article, as well as learning from the examples of other non-profit organizations, the administrator can create and assign accounts that are secure, easy to manage, and preserve the historical emails and documents of each position. This can help to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of the organization and its volunteers.

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