Whether your nonprofit is using it or not, let’s talk Google Forms for a second.
In case you’re not familiar, Google Forms is a survey app that comes with the Google Suite of products. Much like Google Docs and Google Sheets, it has its own place in the G-Drive and lets you easily build form surveys.
Google is not sponsoring this post. I’m not even claiming it’s the best survey tool out there. BUT, it’s worth highlighting for three very nonprofitty reasons:
- It’s simple.
- It’s free.
- It’s accessible. Even if your org doesn’t use Google products, you could sign up right now to build your first form with no fuss.
This means that Google Forms has many applications for our work, regardless of how large or technologically sophisticated the org. A simple tool that can do all the things? Prettyyyy cool.
So, to all the experts and novices on this topic – here are 10 common and not-so-common ways your org can start getting the most from Google Forms.
10 Ways Your Nonprofit Isn’t Using Google Forms, But Could Be
1. Constituent surveys.
This is the most obvious use case, and the reporting make this an easy win. Google Forms analyzes and summarizes your respondents’ submissions as they come in. The charts are a breeze to look at, and you can view results both individually and in aggregate.
If you want to hear from donors, volunteers or other constituents – and the pricier tools are out of reach – then Google Forms is the way to go.
2. Staff input.
Maybe you already have a fancy survey tool for constituents, like Qualtrics or Surveymonkey. But when your role requires occasional input from staff, these tools can be way more than we need or even know how to use!
Google Forms is a great alternative here. When you just need quick feedback on a meeting or input on a process, throw a form together and send the link out to your staff.
3. Client intake forms.
For orgs without a proper constituent database, this is a great starting point. Add a Google Form link to your web page or incorporate it into your front-desk process, so that you have a place to collect pertinent info about community members and their needs.
In addition to summarizing response data, Google Forms will let you open those results in a spreadsheet. This shouldn’t serve as your primary database (I’d use a second spreadsheet for that), but at least you have a place to grab and organize that incoming info now.
*Tip*: Even spreadsheets are prone to mishaps. Here are 5 major time-savers for cleaning up & formatting that data.
4. Board/Committee onboarding.
Even when you have a group of people united around a common goal, it’s hard to get everyone to give you the info you need!
So use a Google Form at the start of your engagement to capture those pieces and then some – like contact info, expertise and availability (the multi-checklist grid feature is great for this). Use the free-text question to let members express what they want out of the engagement, too!
*Tip*: Sometimes it’s better to see this stuff in action. Here’s a sample onboarding form you could throw together in under 2 minutes.
5. Event registrations.
Eventbrite is a popular, free (??) option for managing your events. The biggest benefit is that these events are searchable to the general public, and the RSVP management can range from simple to sophisticated.
But if your event is invite-only or doesn’t warrant that kind of complexity, you could always use a Google Form to manage your RSVP process. I’ve RSVP’d for many a volunteer event this way!
6. Data entry projects.
Every once in a while, staff or interns will need to enter data into our systems. And speaking honestly, some people just can’t handle that kind of responsibility!
Sure, we want staff to get better with our tech. But when a data job is too large or requires a high level of accuracy, entering it into a spreadsheet or system directly can trip people up. Google Forms spares all parties some pain by providing a structure to encourage proper data entry. (You may have to import that spreadsheet into your CRM later, but hey, fewer errors are always better.)
7. Performance evaluations.
Does your org want to standardize or digitize the performance review process, without investing a crazy ton of money? Then Google Forms isn’t a bad way to go. Have each manager create a feedback form that they can send to their direct reports. Or, use a Google Form to collect status updates from those managers once their reviews are all done!
8. Lead captures.
How are you collecting info on volunteers, donors, and partners who may want to get involved? These potentials are called “Leads” and if your org doesn’t collect them now, then a Google Form on your nonprofit’s website or Facebook page is an easy way to start.
9. Internal requests.
Expense reports, data requests, tech support, grant applications, equipment needs. Whether you’re in ops, comms or IT, Google Forms are a smart way to organize those frequent & complex staff requests. In addition to keeping your workload straight, it can also streamline communication (so that you’re not fielding requests verbally, via email, and every other which way possible).
BTW, request processes are tricky. Here’s all the stuff you should consider before setting one up.
In addition to your standard survey, Google Forms also has quiz functionality. Create questions, assign correct answers, points and feedback. This can be a great tool to adopt for your next staff training, tutoring session, or classroom assessment!
*Tip*: Think you know everything about this sector? Either way, take this sample quiz to see these features in action!
Hope you were able to get some new ideas on how this easy, free tool can work for your organization.
Interested in Google Products For Your Org? According to TechSoup, Google offers a selection of their products for free to certain, eligible nonprofits! This option is worth having your ops person explore, especially if you’re a new nonprofit looking to build that tech infrastructure. Here’s a link to the Google for Nonprofits homepage with more info on those offerings.