Google Apps for Nonprofits Now Available in Northern Ireland

As of the end of June, Google are now offering the free "Google Apps for Nonprofits" cloud computing suite to qualified charities in Northern Ireland.

As Google Resellers primarily supplying not-for-profit organisations, we at Avec have been lobbying Google for years to extend this offering to Northern Ireland, and we are delighted that they have at long last done so.

Google Apps for Nonprofits provides all the same benefits and features as the "for Work" or business package which costs £35/year per user.

The only downside is that you must deal directly with Google as your supplier if you switch to the "for Nonprofits" edition; Avec will no longer be your supplier or be able to offer reseller support. As Google can be difficult to get a hold of for support, you may wish to consider the support options below or continue with the commercial version.

How to migrate

If your not-for-profit organisation already has the commercial edition of Google Apps through Avec, transitioning is a straightforward administrative exercise and does not involve any changes to your accounts or technical setup.

You must first register your organisation with tt-exchange, which is assisting Google in confirming the charitable status of applicant organisations. Please follow the instructions in the guide we've prepared to get set up with tt-exchange and get your validation token.

Then send your validation token to info@avecsolutions.net and we can assist you with the rest of the migration process to ensure that your service continues without any interruption.

Unfortunately there are no refunds from Google on the annual prepayment of commercial Google Apps, so you do not need to follow this process until closer to your renewal date. Please allow a few weeks for the process in case there are any hitches or delays. We will endeavour to contact all clients to remind them before their renewal date, but unless the migration process is initiated the default will be the renewal of the current Google Apps for Work commercial edition of the service.

How to sign up

If your organisation is not already a user of Google Apps, then this is a good time to consider it. The email service is not only robust but best in class and provides each user with 30GB of online mail and file storage; the shared calendars and other online collaboration tools are extensive and easy to use; and there are hundreds of other apps available online that integrate easily with Google Apps. The service works through an online web interface as well as with client applications like Microsoft Outlook and Apple Mail and with all modern smartphones and devices.

To sign up for the Nonprofits edition, you'll need to follow the instructions in the guide we've prepared to get set up with tt-exchange and get your validation token before you head over to Google's signup page.

We are happy to provide assistance in this process and remember that for all hosting clients we provide free configuration of your domain (including DNS changes) to make use of Google Apps. If you need help setting up and managing your accounts, please consider one of our support options.

Support options from Avec

Users of the commercial Google Apps for Work service continue to get free support with setting up and managing their Google Apps accounts as part of their service.

Avec clients who take up Google Apps for Nonprofits can avail of ad hoc support at our normal rate (£50/hour) or at a reduced rate by prepaying for support hours (eg £35/hour for a block of 12 hours' support).

We are also continuing to offer Spanning Backup, a comprehensive online backup of all Google account data (including email, calendar items and files), at a rate of £21/user per year.

A premium support package, including Spanning Backup and unlimited user account support by phone and email, is available at £30/user per year. So for less than the current cost of the commercial version, you can get the Nonprofit version, full support and the safety of a complete backup in case you accidentally delete an important email or file.

Google Apps extras

If you already have or need additional Google Drive space, please note that this is not included in the Google Apps for Nonprofits service, and must be purchased separately (directly from Google). Likewise, if you have a shared contacts or other third-party application that integrates with Google Apps, that is also paid separately to the software supplier. Support for the setup and maintenance of these services is also available under the terms specified above.

Alternative: Microsoft Office 365

The Google Apps service offers a phenomenal value to all organisations, both not-for-profit and business, but you may also wish to consider a strong alternative in the form of Microsoft Office 365.

Microsoft's offering is particularly attractive if you also want to avail of the Office application suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc) on subscription and if you are a committed user of Microsoft Outlook. There is also a free edition for charities that does not include the offline versions of the Office software.

As with Google Apps, the hosting-side setup including DNS changes required is available at no extra cost to all our hosting clients.

Please contact us for more information.