Zoom for nonprofits: Guidelines for getting started

What Zoom is and how it works

Zoom is a cloud-based web conferencing platform that allows people to meet virtually by video or audio. Zoom’s key features include collaboration tools like screen sharing, a live chat function, and recording functionality, with the ability to host one-on-one meetings or group videoconferences, depending on which Zoom plan you choose (more on that later).

Although Zoom offers a robust suite of products — video webinars, events, team chats, rooms and workspaces, an enterprise cloud phone system, and more — most people are familiar with the platform through Zoom Meetings. Zoom Meetings can be started and shared by anyone for free via the Zoom website. 

You can download and install Zoom directly to your laptop, desktop computer, or phone, and there’s no cost for the basic plan. Once you’ve registered and set up your account, you can join meetings and invite others to them.

The benefits of using Zoom for nonprofits

Zoom is ideal for nonprofits because it’s reliable, simple to use, and allows distributed teams to stay connected.

It’s user-friendly

Zoom is simple to navigate for first-time users. The intuitive interface makes team communication and collaboration a breeze without the need for training or tech support.

Another key user-friendly benefit is the ability to invite those without a Zoom account to your Zoom meetings. Simply set up the meeting, copy and paste the dedicated meeting link from your account, and send it to your invitees. This makes it easy for volunteers, donors, and board members who may not have their own account to participate in meetings or events.

It’s affordable

The free plan is ideal for smaller nonprofit organizations. If you have a small team, you likely don’t need to upgrade to a paid plan to keep in touch with donors, board members, and volunteers.

It features superior functionality, even on free plans

Easily meet with your camera on or off, mute your mic, participate in a live chat, and screen share images, documents, and presentations, all while enjoying excellent video and audio quality.

Pro Tip

Streamline your nonprofit workflow with Jotform’s Zoom Scheduler!

How your nonprofit can use Zoom

Use Zoom in your programs

For example, let’s say your nonprofit offers telehealth services to patients in remote rural areas. With Zoom, healthcare providers can communicate with patients and each other to provide care that would otherwise be unavailable.

Zoom for Telehealth is a service especially for telehealth that integrates with the electronic health record system Epic. Mental health services, like counseling, therapy, and other patient services, can also use Zoom.

Use Zoom for fundraising initiatives

The pandemic prevented most in-person donor meetings and gift solicitations, but who says you can’t still have face-to-face interactions via video? As a plus, you won’t have to spend donations on travel expenses, and you’ll reduce your carbon footprint.

In addition to one-to-one communications, you can also use Zoom for full-fledged events and fundraising campaigns. You can also use Zoom to record testimonials from people who have benefitted from your organization’s gifts, and then you can share those testimonials with donors.

Use Zoom to meet with distributed offices and teams

Teams can easily communicate with each other in real time no matter where they are in the world. Use Zoom to meet with the fundraising team, volunteers, administrative staff, or board members.

Use Zoom as a PR tool

Invite the general public or your current and potential supporters to a Zoom webinar to share what your organization is up to and talk about upcoming events and initiatives in the community. Put the webinar recordings on your website’s Media page, send them to your email subscribers, and share them on all your social media channels.

You could create a video campaign about volunteers who have worked with your organization to make a difference in the community. Not only will this generate goodwill in the community, but it will also resonate with new potential donors.

Use Zoom to streamline internal communications 

Maybe your organization has been cobbling together various software solutions and conferencing platforms because none of them on their own meet your organization’s needs. This is bad for productivity and collaboration. Zoom offers powerful features and capabilities that make team communication a breeze.

Use Zoom to manage and support volunteers

Of course, face-to-face interaction is preferable whenever possible. But these days, it’s not always possible, either because of the pandemic or because volunteers for your organization are dispersed over several cities, counties, or even states.

You can always make your volunteers feel appreciated with a video message. Or you can host an online meeting with someone on your senior staff or even a high-profile member of the community who plays an important role in your organization. This will keep volunteers enthusiastic and engaged.

Here are a few other ways nonprofits can use Zoom: 

  • Donor briefings 
  • Board meetings
  • Small group meetings
  • Educational presentations and webinars
  • Staff and volunteer training
  • Team collaboration and remote work

Zoom’s free and paid plans

As previously mentioned, the basic plan is free. This plan allows calls of up to 40 minutes with up to 100 participants; there’s no limit to the number of meetings you can host. You’ll also enjoy meeting recording, screen sharing, and chat tool features on the basic plan.

Paid plans include Zoom Pro, Zoom Business, Zoom Business Plus, and Zoom Enterprise. With these plans, you can hold meetings that last longer than 40 minutes. 

Zoom Pro is $149.90 per user, per year and offers the ability to create personal meeting IDs and record meetings in the cloud or on your device. 

Zoom Business is $199.90 per user, year and allows you to host meetings with up to 300 participants. This plan also lets you use your own branding on video calls and use managed domains. In addition, you have the ability to create meeting transcripts to share with your team or your donors. Plus, you’ll be able to get phone support for troubleshooting. 

Zoom Business Plus costs $250 per user, per year and offers increased storage space, unlimited phone calls, and translated captions.

Zoom Enterprise, which has custom pricing, is ideal for nonprofits with more than 1,000 employees. With this plan you’ll be able to host meetings with up to 500 or 1,000 people, and you’ll get unlimited storage for meeting recordings.

According to Donorbox.org, Zoom offers discounted rates to nonprofits if you meet eligibility criteria, including 501(c)(3) status and an annual operating budget at or below $10 million.

If you’re sold on using Zoom in your nonprofit organization, Jotform has you covered. With Jotform, you can schedule Zoom sessions, collect registrations, and collect payments. 

You can set up a meeting through the Zoom desktop or mobile app, the Zoom web portal, or by using Jotform’s Zoom integration

You can collect payments directly on Zoom with PayPal. If you’d like to use a different payment gateway, you can set up a Jotform registration form, which integrates with 30 major payment gateways. Then simply set up the Zoom integration to register participants through your form. 

Check out the Zoom Scheduler to learn more about scheduling meetings, HIPAA compliance for telehealth, automated scheduling and registration, and online payment processing. 

This article is originally published on Dec 16, 2020, and updated on Oct 26, 2022.
AUTHOR
Kimberly Houston is a conversion-focused marketing copywriter. She loves helping established creative service providers attract and convert their ideal clients with personality-driven web and email copy, so they can stand out online, and get more business, bookings, and sales.

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