Manage your volunteers
using Google products and tools
In this guide you’ll learn how to
- Engage and get volunteers to sign up
- Organize volunteer information through Google Forms
- Train volunteers on Hangouts Meet or YouTube Live
- Stay in touch with volunteers through Google Groups
Engaging volunteers can be tricky, but maintaining up to date
information on your volunteers can be even harder. With a little creativity, however,
you can be up and running in no time! Use Google for Nonprofits products like
Ad Grants and YouTube to find and engage volunteers.
G Suite for Nonprofits can help you get volunteers trained and keep
them up-to-date with upcoming volunteer opportunities. With a little bit of
coordination, Google’s flexible suite of tools can help you supercharge your
Before getting started, you’ll need
Best practice is for your nonprofit to set up G Suite for Nonprofits and provide all
employees with their own login under that G Suite account. However, you can also use
a personal Google account.
Engage volunteers from your website
It can be difficult to engage and recruit new volunteers. To ensure that
potential volunteers know about upcoming opportunities, create a page on your website
for volunteering. You can amplify this page by creating new Ad Grants campaigns
Update your website or update your Google Site to include information
Here are some examples to consider for your volunteer page:
Why Volunteer? | Provide your potential volunteers with
background on your nonprofit and previous volunteer stories to encourage
them to sign up.
Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities | Embed a Google Calendar
that shows all upcoming volunteer opportunities or events.
Sign Up Form | Embed a form so that volunteers can sign up
and provide all of their information (see “Gather and organize volunteer
information through google forms” below).
Contact Us | Leave an email or phone number so volunteers
can reach out with questions.
Update or create an Ad Grants account to recruit more
volunteers. You can create a new campaign around volunteering with
various ad groups around the different types of volunteering. For example
“volunteer in education” and “volunteer to teach kids to read” (Check
out the tips for success with Google Ad Grants)
Click here to
see the benefits of using Ad Grants.
Gather and organize volunteer information through Google Forms
To ensure that your volunteer information is up to date, create a Google Form for new
volunteers to submit their information. The responses will populate into a Google
Sheet and will automatically update every time a new volunteer fills out the form.
PREPARE YOUR MATERIALS
Forms. Click the Template Gallery in the top right to find a range
of ideas to get you started.
Click on the template you want to use to open a new copy. It
will automatically be saved in My Drive, so rename the form to make it easier
Edit and add questions following the guidance in the G Suite Learning Center for
forms. You can choose from short answer questions, paragraph, multiple
choice, checkboxes, dropdown, etc.
Make sure you gather all of the information you would like for your
volunteers. Think volunteer name, email, phone, availability, types of
volunteering that they are interested in, etc.
Click the “Settings” icon in the top right corner to collect
email addresses, limit responses, change form access to your domain only,
and/or let people change their responses.
Preview your form by clicking on the “Preview” icon.
SHARE THE VOLUNTEER FORM
Once your form is ready, you can share it with volunteers via email, link, embed
(click here for instructions), or social media.
Click the “Send” button in the top right corner and choose how
to send your form.
If you don’t want to send it to individual email addresses,
you can add it to your social channels or directly on to your website.
ORGANIZE VOLUNTEER INFORMATION
Decide if you want to be emailed for all new responses and send responses to a
In the editable version of your form, click on “Responses” to
see the volunteer information.
Click on the green icon to send all responses to a
Click “Create a new spreadsheet” and rename it (e.g.
“Volunteer Information”) and click “Create.”
You can choose who you want to share the responses with by clicking the
“Share” button in the top right hand corner of the spreadsheet. This
sheet will automatically organize all volunteer information in one place.
Host a live stream to train volunteers
Make sure your volunteers are prepared by hosting a training for volunteers across
various locations through a livestream. If you have G Suite, you can use
Hangouts Meet to stream a training to volunteers regardless of their geographical
location. If you don’t have G Suite, you can use your YouTube channel to create a
live stream on YouTube.
SET UP YOUR CALENDAR EVENT WITH HANGOUTS MEET
- First, you’ll want to pick a date and time that works well for all
volunteers. One option to collect the best time and date is to survey your
volunteers directly by creating and sending a Google Form. There’s even a “Find a
Time” template you can customize!
Now let’s get to scheduling. On your computer, open Google Calendar. Click
the “add” icon
to create a new event. Add your event title (e.g. “Volunteer Training”).
If you have multiple calendars, choose the calendar where you want to
add an event from the "Calendar" dropdown menu. For example, if you
have a general admin alias like "firstname.lastname@example.org" you could send the
calendar invite from there.
Select the date and time you settled on with your volunteers
at the top.
Add a physical location (if you’re meeting in-person) and make
sure to click "Add Conferencing" > "Hangouts Meet" so that the
calendar invite is populated with a Google Hangouts Meet link. That
way, if volunteers can’t meet in person they can still participate via video
Add the volunteer email addresses you collected in the Google
Form or create a group for all volunteers (see “Set up and manage a Google
Group to stay in touch with volunteers” below!) to the invite list.
Finally, include a note to the volunteers about the training in the
“Add description” section of the invite. You should also link
relevant Google Docs to the calendar invite including the training agenda and
meeting docs by clicking the “attach file” icon
. That way anyone opening the calendar invite has all the relevant documents at
At the top of the page, click Save. If you want to “silently”
add the invite to your volunteer’s calendars, click “Don’t Send” in the dialog
box that pops up (see below).
As you get closer to the event, check attendance by reviewing guest
RSVPs in the calendar invite.
When your training is set to begin, open Google Calendar and click the
meeting invite. In the box that pops up, click “Join Hangouts”
to join a video call or use the dial-in listed in the “Join by phone”
section to call into the meeting.
Once in your training, the moderator can use the “Present” function to share their screen and present
documents, slides, or sheets.The moderator can also mute participants
(click here to discover how) if there is background noise
from other people on the call.
Click here for more details on how to plan and hold a training
HOST YOUR VOLUNTEER TRAINING ON YOUTUBE LIVE
Log into your YouTube channel and enable livestreams following this resource.
Decide which type of
livestream you want to create and prepare your training materials.
- Stream now is a simple way to stream.
To go live instantly:
Download and setup your encoder using the Stream Name/Key and
Learn more about encoders here.
- Add a title and description in the BASIC INFO tab (ex.
“Nonprofit Volunteer Onboarding”). You can also add a custom thumbnail that
represents your event.
- Set privacy settings to Public, Unlisted, or
- In the STREAM OPTIONS tab, select between Low
Latency or Highest Quality. Low Latency is closer
to real-time for users. Highest Quality provides the smoothest viewing
experience for your audience.
- If you only have rights to the live show, check the Mark archive
unlisted when complete box. You can use this to remove the archived
live event from the search index. The link can still be shared and embedded.
This will apply the setting as soon as the live event is complete.
When the stream is live:
- Interact with the audience using live chat.
- Share the link across social media platforms using the
- Keep an eye on the real-time Analytics section.
- Monitor the stream in the player, top status bar, and in the Stream
When the stream is over:
- Stop sending content from your encoder and we’ll end your stream.
- We’ll automatically archive the event up to 12 hours and make it
available in the Video Manager. We recommend recording a local archive as a
Click here for more details on how to create a live stream on
Set up and manage a Google Group to stay in touch with volunteers
To streamline how you communicate with your volunteers, create a Google Group
specifically for them! Groups will allow you to send an email to everyone
who expressed interest in volunteering with one address, invite all volunteers to an
event, or securely share documents with volunteers. You will need to have a G Suite
account to use Groups.
CREATE YOUR GROUP
Go to Groups and
click My groups. Click “Switch organization view” to
"yournonprofit.org". This means that the groups you create will be
within your organization, and not public.
Click “Create Group” and select a name (e.g. Nonprofit
Volunteers). The name you choose will auto-populate in the group email field
below but you can change the email if you’d like. Something simple like
"email@example.com” might work well!
Select “email list” for group type so that you can use this
group to communicate with your volunteers. In the Basic Permissions
section, you may want to change a few settings:
- Change “Post” to only “All members of the group” to keep this forum
private for the volunteers instead of any employee at your nonprofit.
- Change “Join the Group” to “Only invited users” so that you can control
the volunteer list.
Click “Create.” To ensure you can find your Group again
easily, on the next page click the star icon below your group name to add it to
your favorites list. Then, add volunteers by navigating to “Manage” on the top
MANAGE GROUP SETTINGS
On the next page, click through to "Members" > "Direct Add
Members" in the left-hand navigation. This is the recommended option
to ensure your volunteers are added to the Group. Add in volunteer
emails and a short welcome message so that they know what the group is being
used for and how to get in touch if they have questions.
Make sure to add other nonprofit employees to the Group that need
permission to manage the group or post to it. You can change
individual group members’ roles by clicking Members > All members in the
left-hand navigation, then clicking the individual’s name and changing their
role in the dropdown on the next page.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can review Group Settings and
Permissions in the left-hand navigation to further customise your
Group. Learn more about Groups and settings here.
Now you’re all set to send email or calendar invites to your new
Group! Use the alias you defined in step 2 (e.g.
“firstname.lastname@example.org”) just like you would any other email, but
remember it will be sent to (and invite) all the individuals you added in step
If you want to see the history of all emails sent to the volunteers
Group after you’ve been using it, go to Groups > My groups and search for your Group name
or click on your group name on the left under “Favorites” (see step 4 in the
“Create your group” section). You will now be able to track the emails and
communications between your nonprofit and your volunteers all in one place!
Click here for more details on creating and using Groups!