Google has decided to allow charities to have free access to its hosted email service, this means you will get a Gmail like interface but instead of having an address which is like email@example.com, you will get something much more professional like firstname.lastname@example.org.
This option is only for churches who are registered as a charity in England, Scotland and Wales.
For users who do not fall into this category Google do offer a paid for option which at the time of writing is £3.30 per user per month.
If we look after your domain name, we will look after the DNS settings for you which happens later on in the set up process but please be aware that if you manage your own domain name and simply point the name at us for the website then we advise you to find a person locally who can help manage your DNS settings.
Start by going to the following URL: https://www.google.co.uk/nonprofits/join and clicking the "Apply to Google for Non-profits" button.
If you do not already have an account, you will need to sign up with TechSoup to verify your charity status (view guide). Once you have done this you will be presented with a validation token, which can be entered in the box above.
All being well you should get the success message following this.
Click on the sign up link which takes you to the next page
Click on the Enrol button for Google Apps for Nonprofits. Which should give you the following page.
Click on the link which says Sign Up under “I have signed up for Google Apps”
Fill out the form and click 'Next'
Select “Use a domain name I have already purchased” and enter your churches domain name without http://www. And click next.
Fill out the form for yourself, this will create your email and login for the system. The account created now will be an admin account and will need to be used for the rest of the process.
After clicking Accept and Signup you should be taken through to the admin console. The address of the admin console is admin.google.com should you need to return to it later.
Select Start Setup.
The first thing to do is to prove to Google that you do really own the domain name and this is the first part which requires our involvement.
The initial verification option is to use meta tags, change this to “Add a domain host record.”
Google will then give you a code for us to add to your domain name so copy the code and email it to email@example.com. We will let you know as soon as we have done this. You will need to tick “I have successfully signed in” and “I have opened the control panel” to get the code.
Once that is done tick the other boxes and click “Verify”
You should then see the screens below, it usually only takes a few seconds to do this.
I prefer to skip this section for now, so just click “Next” then "Set up GMail" to move on to the next section which allows you to actually receive emails. You may have to repeat this stage a few times, this is nothing to worry about.
We will need to make some changes to your domain next so just follow through step by step until you get a list of settings similar to below, send these to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do this bit for you.
Once we let you know that this is done, you can continue to verify the changes. Sometimes Google will detect the changes without completing this step, if so just skip to the next stage.
Again it may take a few attempts to verify everything is setup but his is really nothing to worry about.
Adding New Users
From the Admin console (admin.google.com) Select “Users”
Select the turquoise plus button in the bottom corner to add a user.
Click Email Instructions to send a link and password to the user (they will need another account for this purpose).
These instructions should be enough to get you started, there are many options and tools we have not covered here including Adwords grants which may be of benefit to your church and we suggest looking around and making use of the help files Google provides to make sure you can get the most out of the system.