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Understanding the Videoconferencing Tools Available to Your Nonprofit

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With the world going more remote by the minute, the importance of connecting with people across oceans and time zones continues to increase. TechSoup has a variety of offerings for nonprofits looking to invest in videoconferencing tools, and choosing the right one for your needs can be confusing. Here's an overview of the products you can get on TechSoup's marketplace to help you find the perfect tool for your organization.

 

Zoom: Meetings Made Easy

Zoom provides its users with a reliable cloud platform that can be used for remote video- and audioconferencing, as well as chat and collaboration. Zoom connects via desktop computers and mobile devices, as well as conference room systems and telephones. This makes it a great option for organizations that need a flexible system that enables users to connect across variations in available technology. Note that this offer might not be the best value option for you if you only require one or two Pro licenses, since it's only available as a 10-license bundle through TechSoup.

Zoom can be used for meeting with donors, volunteers, and partners as well as people within your organization. You can record your meetings in video, audio, and text formats and share your screen with others in a meeting. You can also use a free plug-in for Chrome and Outlook to schedule Zoom meetings easily.

Optional add-ons allow you to:

  • Hold webinars with up to 50 panelists
  • Conduct meetings in hardware-equipped conference rooms
  • Use Zoom Rooms software for one-touch meeting and calendar integration
  • Hold meetings of up to 500 people

Zoom is likely to suit your organization if:

  • You often need a reliable way to meet remotely with colleagues, partners, or others inside or outside your organization.
  • You need to train employees or volunteers remotely.

Get Zoom for Nonprofits

 

Microsoft Teams: Simplicity and Integration

Microsoft Teams is a true collaboration tool, designed for document sharing, management, and communication while integrating seamlessly with other Microsoft cloud products. It also allows you to host online meetings using audio and video with anyone within or outside your organization. Features are available that allow you to share your screen, benefit from scheduling assistance, and record meetings. It even includes a translation feature for when you are working across different languages.

The "live events" feature allows you to hold webinars, presentations, and large meetings with up to 10,000 attendees. A global dial-in number and integration with hardware from Microsoft partners gives flexibility for your remote employees or partners all over the world to join your meetings in whatever way is most convenient to them.

To learn more about making the most of Microsoft Teams, check out the Teams for Nonprofits courses from TechSoup.

Teams is only available as part of Office 365 Enterprise or Microsoft 365. With this in mind, it might suit your organization if

  • You already use other Microsoft products and value the easy integration with Outlook, Microsoft Office, and other elements of the Microsoft packages. It's also great if you're looking to cut costs and use fewer tools in your day-to-day operations.
  • You need the capacity to host very large online events or meetings.
  • Certain groups of people in your organization meet regularly. Notes and recordings can be saved and accessed in one meeting thread.

Get Teams through Office 365 or Microsoft 365

 

Google Hangouts: A Frictionless and Flexible Solution

Google Hangouts — comprising Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet — is part of Google's G Suite. Hangouts Meet is the videoconferencing element. It's fully integrated with G Suite and requires no extra plug-ins, so your colleagues, partners, and volunteers can easily join simply by clicking a link. Meetings can include up to 30 people, who can join through any device from a mobile phone to a conference room system.

Android and iOS Meet apps are available, and a meeting-specific dial-in number is offered in the Enterprise edition of G Suite. You can get access to G Suite and other elements of Google for Nonprofits through the TechSoup marketplace.

We'd recommend giving Google Hangouts a try if

  • You already use G Suite or other Google products in your organization.
  • You often need to host mid-sized meetings of up to 30 people.
  • It is valuable to have your meetings be accessible from the vast majority of devices, with no need to download any apps or plug-ins.

Get Hangouts through Google for Nonprofits

 

Choosing the Videoconferencing Tool That Is Right for Your Organization

All of these are great tools for organizations that need to host meetings with remote workers, external partners, or volunteers. To make an informed decision on which is right for you, examine what is lacking in your current systems, determine how each option would integrate with the other tools used by your employees, and use free trials where they are available to thoroughly explore the best option for you.

 

This article was originally posted at TechSoup.org by Amy Hooper.