Google Apps

Generations Incorporated does most of our work in Google Apps since it is lightweight, easy to use, and free for nonprofits.



Google Calendar will be used to create and manage events and appointments. To view your calendar, click the "Calendar" tab in the top-black-bar when logged into your Google Apps account. Watch this quick video to get a brief overview of the power of Google Calendars.

Navigating Google Calendar

Google Calendar has a sidebar that allows you to navigate throughout most of it's features in one, convenient location.

The small monthly calendar is located in the upper right hand corner of the Google Calendar. You can use the small arrows to navigate months.

You can also easily view and overlay your calendars as well as add other personal or organizational calendars.

Creating an Event

Google Calendar has made it very easy to create events. View the video below to see how!

Calendar Standards & Policies

  • The Different Calendars

There are at least three calendars that should be relevant to you:

Your Personal calendar - This is the default calendar within your Google Apps account. The green calendar here represents the personal calendar.

The Organizational calendar – This is the calendar where organizational wide events will be posted. Time-Off and room reservations are also posted on this calendar. The purple calendar represents that calendar here.

The Training calendar – this is the calendar that the Training team uses to organize volunteer and office trainings. These events are often copied to the Organizational calendar.

Calendar Privacy

By default, your calendar is available to anyone in the office to see your free/busy information. This means that they can look at your calendar in order to figure out when you’re available. They can’t see specific event details or modify your calendar directly. However, they can send you an event invitation, which would then be added to your calendar should you accept. If you wish to give someone more privileges on your calendar such as seeing the event details or directly adding and removing events, then see here.

Change Calendar Privacy

Google Apps makes your calendar public (to anyone in the organization) by default. Other users will be able to see exactly when you are “busy” and when you are not. They will not be able to see the individual details of each meeting and/or event. However, you can change this for any or all of your fellow Google Apps users.

  • Changing Your Calendar

To begin, click the gear icon in the upper right hand corner of the browser.

Once you have clicked it, then click Calendar settings. From that page you will want to click the Calendars tab at the very top of the screen. It will bring you to a screen that looks like the one below.

Once you are on this page, click the link under the Sharing header at reads “Edit Settings”. This will bring you to a screen that you will be able to edit the privacy & sharing settings of your calendar.

This panel has all of the privacy settings associated with your calendar. Clicking the drop-down menu on the right will allow you to select the viewing properties of others in the organization. The check-boxes on the left allow you to opt out of sharing altogether or specify specific people to share with.

Viewing Another Calendar

  • Adding Calendars

To get to the Calendar app, navigate to right hand side of your screen, and click on the cube. Make sure that you are logged into your Generations Incorporated Google Apps account.

This will bring you to your calendar.

On the left side underneath your calendar you should see a text box to add a coworker’s calendar, you can begin typing the name of a coworker to add their calendar, simply click the name of the coworker that you want to add their calendar. Clicking on their name will allow you to see exactly when they are free and when they are busy:

If you would like them to show you more, ask them to give you elevated privileges. This option can be found in the calendar settings console.

  • Adding an Organizational Calendar

Adding an organizational calendar is very similar to adding a individual calendar. Simply follow the steps above and instead of typing the name of the individual, type the name of the organizational resource calendar, you are trying to add. Hint: There are only two.

  • Organizational – This is lovingly referred to as the “org” calendar. It’s an office wide resource used for several important tasks:
    • Announcing time off – The Director of Finance & Administration will add the name and dates of individuals who have planned time off to this calendar.
    • Reserving office Space/Technology – If you are planning a training/meeting and you would like to reserve some space, this is the place to organize that to avoid conflicts.
    • Office-wide Events – Things like potlucks and other larger events get organized here.
  • Training – This calendar is primarily used by the Volunteer Recruitment & Training team to organize internal and external training of volunteers and other constituents.

In order to view these calendars you will need their email addresses, they are as follows:



Simply copy and paste these into the “add a coworker’s calendar” bar in the Calendar app.

Email Standards

The To, CC, and BCC Fields

When sending an email, recipients should be placed in the appropriate field. These are the guidelines universally agreed upon at GI:

  • TO: Any party whom the email directly concerns and is directed to. A recipient from whom a direct response is needed.
  • CC (Carbon Copy): Used as FYI. Recipients who not required to respond but would like to know about the email conversation.
  • BCC (Blind Carbon Copy): Same as CC except TO and CC recipients do not see BCC recipients. We do not use BCC at GI.

Sending Attachments

As a general rule, never send attachments to individuals within the organization. Instead place the file in an appropriate location on the S: Drive or in Google Drive and send the link, for the following reasons:

  • Attachments create duplicate copies of files. This creates a problem of versioning as different persons may have different versions of a file.
  • Attachments take up needless space in the email system.
  • Attachments are difficult to through and for.

Email Signatures

Email signatures are now managed at an organization-wide level by our Information Systems people. If you have any questions or modifications that need to be made to your signature, please contact one of them.

Subject Line Prefixes

At GI, we reserve a few subject line prefixes to designate special types of emails:

  • WI: information regarding the whereabouts of GI employees (e.g. “WI: Chrissy – Tomorrow). Use when out of office for extended periods of time (more than one hour).
  • IMP: Important emails regarding Generations’ programs or operations. Read and save these emails as they may have strong implications.
  • SYS: Emails sent by the systems administrator pertaining to technology operations at GI. These could notices about server downtime or etc.
  • SOCIAL: Emails pertaining to office social activities both in the office and out of it.
  • FYI: Short for “For Your Information”. Nonimportant emails that don’t require a reply.
  • PV: Short for “Potential Volunteer”. Emails about potential volunteers to serve at GI.

If you’re sending an email that fits into the category above, simply append the appropriate prefix to the front of the email. If you’re a *VISTA that’s going out of town the next week, then a subject such as “WI: Sammy – Next week” would be perfectly good!


On account of the plethora of space available, do not feel the need to delete anything. Instead, you can simply archive your emails. Archiving is intended to reduce the cluster of your Inbox to emails that are currently relevant, everything else goes into the archive. Everything that’s in the archive is still accessible through “All Mail” and search.


Labeling is a powerful, flexible way to organize your emails. You can apply multiple labels to the same email and even nest them.

Keep in mind though that Google Apps has terrific search capabilities. So, you might not need labels for most things. For example, making a label for a certain sender would be completely unnecessary because you could simply search for that person (however, labels would make finding these emails faster). Labeling is most powerful when trying to define a very general category to a group of disparate emails.


Google Apps Filtering allows you to quickly make rules that apply automatic actions to your email based on parameters you specify.

Email Filters

You may find that you want to automatically separate certain types of emails, so that they do not clog up your Inbox. For example, many people do this with the "Where Is" emails.

First, go to the left sidebar in Gmail. You will see a list of folders/labels. They are called things like "Inbox", "Starred", "Drafts", etc. If you hover over that area of the page, you should see that down at the bottom of this list of folders is an option to "Create new label".

Click that. It will give you an overlay where you can enter an appropriate label name, such as "WI" or "Where Is". This will create the folder, but it will be empty until you add instructions for Gmail to automatically direct emails there.

You can do this by adding an email filter.

First, go to the gear icon in the upper right of the Gmail window.

Clicking the gear icon will give you a menu with options such as "Display density", "configure inbox", etc. Select "Settings".

This will open the "Settings" options. At the top of this page there are a number of tabs. Click on "Filters and Blocked Addresses".

Click the link to "Create a new filter". This will give you an overlay where you can fill in various specifications on which emails to filter. Choose the appropriate option. For instance, if you wanted to filter emails from a specific person or people, you could put their email addresses in the "From" field. For a "Where Is" filter or similar, you want to specify that the subject should contain the letters "WI". Do this by putting "WI*" in the "Subject" field. Adding the asterisk is important, because it specifies for Gmail that it should filter all emails that start with the capital letters WI regardless of what comes after them. Without that, it will only filter emails for which the subject exactly matches "WI".

Click "Create filter with this search". From there, you want to check the option "Apply the label: " and select the option for the folder you created earlier. You may also want to select the option, "Skip the Inbox (Archive it)", which will send emails directly to that folder and not have them appear in your Inbox at all.

Finally, select "Create filter" and you are done!

Email Groups

Email Groups

Google Documents and Drive

Introduction to Google Documents and Drive

What is Google Docs: Google docs is an online word processing, spreadsheet and presentation editor. It is very similar to Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint but it allows you to work online instead of on a server and collaborate with coworkers on the same document together (even simultaneously!).

How to Create Your Own Document

  1. From your email account, click on the Drive link at the top of the page. This will open a new tab.
  2. Click the red Create button. A dropdown list will appear and you can select to create a Document (like Microsoft Word), Presentation (like PowerPoint), Spreadsheet (like Excel), among other options.
  3. To name your document, click on “Untitled document” in the top left corner. A box will pop up that will allow you to title your document.

Note: Docs also saves changes automatically--you don’t need to click “save” like you do in Word. When you are done working on the document, simply close the window. You can always check the status of your last save by looking in the toolbar above the document.

  • To share this document with someone, click the blue Share button in the top right corner. A window will pop up with a space to enter the email addresses for the people you wish to share it with. Click on the box below “Add people” and enter the email address (separated by commas) to add. Click the Done button to finish.
  • To navigate back to Google Drive, click the back arrow by hovering your mouse to the left of the document title. You will see a list of previously created documents.

Shared Documents

Cluster managers and staff might share documents with you to pass along information. These might appear in your Drive automatically or you might have to add them. To do so, click on “Shared with Me” in the left sidebar of You will see a list of documents that you have been invited to view. You can open them from there or you can right click on them then select “Add to My Drive” to save them to your personal Google Drive.

Other Google Apps

Sheets: Similar to Excel. Create spreadsheets with formula and macro functionalities.

Slides: Similar to PowerPoint. Create presentations with embedded videos, animations, etc. You can also use Google Slides to create documents with formatting elements not handled well in Google Docs, such as text boxes and newsletter-style documents with lots of images. Simply set the page layout to be 8.5 by 11” dimensions.

Forms: Lightweight survey software that will send all responses directly to a Google Sheet. We prefer not to use Google Forms and instead use FormAssembly or SurveyMonkey for most of our surveys.

Google Drive Storage

All documents you create using the apps listed above are stored in your Drive, a file system hosted in the cloud. You can create folders in Google Drive and organize documents just as you would in your folders on your desktop computer. You can also share entire folders at a time with others to replicate a network file server in the cloud.

You can also upload documents, images, and PDFs into your Google Drive to make them accessible from any device. Be advised that this will use up your Google Drive storage and creating documents directly in Google Docs will not! Everyone gets 30 GB of storage. You can attach documents from your Google Drive into emails by clicking the symbol.

Copy a Document in Google Drive

By default, you are only able to view shared documents. This is to ensure that the template document remains un-changed. You will however be asked to generate a copy of the document that you will then use.

You may find these shared documents in the "Generations Incorporated Shared Folders" or linked on the GI Link.

Upon clicking on the document, you will be brought to the document. Since it is view only, you will be unable to make any changes to the document. You can, however, make a copy of the document.

A dialog box will pop up for you to verify your selection. The folder will show the folder the template is currently in. Click on that folder then use the arrow to navigate to "My Drive". Click Select then OK.

A new document will be generated, it will be named Copy of (name of original document). From here you can edit the document as well as save the edits. Be sure to rename the document.

That’s It! A copy has successfully been created.

Click on the button below for a video of this process:

Sharing Documents in Google Drive

Sharing and collaboration is one of the strongest features of Google Drive. With Google Drive, you will no longer need to send attachments and reconcile revisions. You will only need to share documents with the people who you will be working with. Multiple users can edit the same document at the same time and the changes happen in real time! You can also chat and comment with editors.

Sharing in Google Docs Video


There are two ways to share documents. From the Home List, you can share a single document, or even multiple documents all at once.

From the Home List Page:

  1. First, click the checkbox next to the doc(s) that you would like to share. A list of buttons will appear at the top.
  2. Next, click the More button. This will bring up a drop-down menu.
  3. Then, mouse over the Share… option in the menu, a secondary box will appear.
  4. Finally, click Share… in the secondary menu.

Sharing Settings:

After clicking Share in either setting, a dialog box will pop up. From here you will be able to assign ownership, add individual users to a document as well as set blanket access permissions.

Changing Access Permissions

From this box, you will see who has access to your doc(s). By default, all documents are set to Private. You will be the only user who has access to the doc(s). You can also add collaborators from here and set their permissions.

Changing Access:

  1. To change blanket access to the document, click Change…
  2. A new dialog box will pop up, from there you will have 3 options:
    • Generations Incorporated: Everyone who has a email address can find and access the doc(s)
    • People at Generations Incorporated with the link: Anyone with the link can access it, so long as they have an email address.
    • Private: Only people you grant permission to can access the document.
  3. You can also change the Access settings by clicking Can view.

Note: You cannot share any document created in your Generations Incorporated Google Apps account with anyone outside of the organization. Please take this into consideration when creating documents.

Sharing Links & Sending Emails:

If you select the Generations Incorporated or People at Generations Incorporated with the link options and click Save, you will be brought back to a dialog box that allows you to easily copy and paste the link.

Sharing with Individual Users:

It is possible to share a document with individual users even if your general permission is set to Private. If you want to share with only a select group of people, this option may be best for you.

  1. In order to do this, simply enter a name, email address, or group email address (e.g. to the Add people: box.
  2. You can also set their individual permission level by clicking the Can edit drop-down menu.
  3. You can choose to send them an email with the document either embedded in the email or attached to the email along with a message.

Once shared, you will be able to collaborate with other users in real time.

Additional Resources

Sharing can be confusing and tricky sometimes, especially if you are unsure who is getting what and how they can use the documents you are sharing. There are some awesome resources that Google provides about how to better use this here.

Google Forms

You can create quick and easy polls using Google Forms directly from Google Drive.

To start, click the "New" button. Select "More", then "Google Forms". This will open up a new Google Form for you to edit:

From here, you can title your form and create questions of various types. Don't forget to toggle the "Required" option on questions you want recipients to have to answer before submitting.

Once the questions for your form are set up, send it to respondents by clicking "Send". This will bring up a prompt box where you can specify who will get the form:

If you want the form to appear directly in the body of the email, check "Include form in email". If you do not check this, recipients will get a link they will need to click to complete the form. If you want to write an email to accompany the form, you can do this in the "Message" section.

If you want to keep track of who completed what form response, check "Automatically collect respondent's Generations Incorporated email address". If this is not checked, respondents will be able to complete the form anonymously.

Once you have sent out the form, you can see responses by toggling to the "Responses" option on the form edit page.