Best Cloud Storage for Non-Profits

Google Drive Vs Dropbox

There is a saying in photography, “the best camera is the one you have with you”. I feel similarly about cloud storage for artists and non-profit organizations. Although there are a great many options out there today, the best cloud storage system is the one that is most familiar to the greatest number of your team. I am often asked how a volunteer-based organization should manage files and, especially, photos from their events. The answer is definitely the one that will actually get used!

As a web designer specializing in non-profits, my work is rarely local and often involves clients from all over the country. With technology on our side, this once difficult task is now quite easy with a few free or low-cost solutions. One of the fist first questions I ask a new client is whether they have used google drive or dropbox and do they have a preference? The second step is to set up a shared folder for us to use throughout the project. It really can be as simple as that!

Why Dropbox?

Dropbox was one of the first really easy-to-use cloud storage service that became mainstream. Individuals and businesses alike find the interface simple and the storage reliable. If your volunteers or staff already use a personal Dropbox, this will make the learning curve easier. If your staff are comfortable with Dropbox, they will be happier to teach your volunteers how to use it.

Some basic Dropbox info:

  • easy to download and sync a local Drive folder on a computer
  • free app for phone and/or tablet
  • works on Mac and PC
  • free individual dropbox- free 2GB storage
  • dropbox Pro and Dropbox for business- plans and pricing listed here 
  • 30% discount for non-profits and educational organizations- applications are available on dropbox.com by email or chat

Why Google Drive?

For clients who actively use any google products (gmail, google hangouts, google drive, and youtube channel), Google Drive is often the best tool. Of course, Google provides a myriad of tools beyond cloud storage. Once again, take a quick poll of your current volunteers and staff. Are they comfortable using google products or is the pure number of options overwhelming?

Some basic Google Drive info:

Are there other reliable Cloud Storage options?

Yes, there are several other good cloud storage options out there. In their article titled “File Syncing Showdown“, lifehacker.com dives into more of the pros and cons between Google Drive, Dropbox, and One Drive.

The Bottom Line

Use the tool that makes your volunteers and staff the most comfortable and that they will actually use reliably. Especially if the files will be managed by volunteers, make sure that the account is set up under the name of the organization, not the individual. One of the top complaints I hear from small non-profits is how hard it is to manage files, photos, and resources between their tiny staff and volunteers especially when there is turnover. Having a central place that can be accessible to your team for files and images is essential.

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