Microsoft Office doesn’t just cost you $139 per user, it also costs you in money and man-hours required to manage keeping the various products up-to-date, secured, and backed-up on computer hardware that often requires additional disk and/or RAM with each iteration of Office and/or the Windows operating system.
Why bother with all that hassle when Google now provides the education edition of Google Aps to non-profits with current 501(c)(3) status in the U.S.?
I was visiting a new church this past Sunday, when chit-chat with the pastor went technical. His comment to me was “we have a guy who works for IBM who does all that, but we always feel like we’re hassling him.”
I know the feeling – at least in terms of the IBM guy – as sometimes church staff doesn’t realize that those who provide free website services aren’t also volunteering 24/7 technical support.
My favorite instance of that was coming home some years back and snickering a bit with my geek wife at a message on our answering machine that went something like this:
Hi Dean … this is <insert church secretary name here> at <insert church name here> …
… our printer doesn’t work and I wanted to know if you knew what was wrong with it.
It was at that point I realized that not only was I called to be their webmaster, but apparently the Senior System Psychic as well! Too bad I didn’t think enough to setup a hotline before the FCC changed the telco laws. I can imagine the testominoial ads now:
I called the senior system psychic and he told me to backup my hard drive in case my computer crashed. A week later, it did! How did he know?! Thank you senior system psychic
Ahhhh … but I digress …
- gMail lets you stop worrying about spam and/or having to spend a Saturday configuring POP and SMTP servers in Outlook on your pastor’s home and office computer just to capture text notifications;
- Google Calendar allows you to organize events by organization and location, providing meeting and event notifications, aggregations and embedded web pages for all who opt in;
- Google Docs means you’re free from the slavery of USB drives, email and/or sneaker net to convey collaborative resentations that once required everyone to have PowerPoint;
- Google Docs also means your pastor is free to publish his sermons to directly your church blog without having to hassle you every Monday with some wacky Word Perfect file; and
- Google Sites now provides your organization with the Intranet you couldn’t afford to have with Microsoft SharePoint.
Best of all, you no longer have to have and/or hire an information technology committee to manage and/or maintain the above applications – though doing so is not without its own perils that I enumerated a few months back in my post entitled:
That said, if given the choice, I’d go with Google Aps for my church and/or charity – if nothing else but to save the $139.00 for each license of office – and all th manpower and money it takes to make that software happen.