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A Great MACD / SWCDM Service: Google Suite

It is MACD and SWCDM’s mission is to provide resources that help conservation districts carry out the goals of soil and water conservation across the state. That can mean a lot of things, but my part of that mission is to improve districts’ access to and usage of technology, so that day to day tasks are accomplished more efficiently.

Today I want to talk about one of the services we offer that I think is really great. So often I use something so frequently, and find it so indispensable, that I assume everyone else must already know about it and use it. But (DUH KATE) of course that’s not necessarily true. So I have to remind myself to talk with you about it, which is what I’m doing today.

That service that is 100000000% indispensable to me (and everyone at MACD), is the Google Suite. And guess what? It’s available to you, too. FOR FREE.

What is Google Suite?

Google Suite is…well, basically everything that Google makes. That means:

  • Gmail
  • Google Drive
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Forms
  • And a LOT MORE.

But wait, you say. Isn’t this stuff free already? Well, yes, most of it. If you sign up for a Gmail address.

But one of the cool things about what MACD offers is that instead of signing up for a Gmail address (like toolecd@gmail.com), MACD can offer districts unlimited email addresses at any of the following domains: @macdnet.org; @swcdm.org; @mtconservation.org.

So, if you are a CD supervisor or administrator, or basically anyone, and you need an email address, all you have to do is ask and we’ll give you awesomeperson@mtconservation.org. And with that email address, you also have access to all the things I listed above.

Many districts have used this during transitions between administrators. It can take a while before a new administrator has an NRCS email set up, but in the meantime it’s important that you have an email address. So an MACD email address is easy and free to set up.

Don’t need an email address? Well, I still think you might be interested in an account. Google Drive is hugely useful for cloud storage of documents. One thing you could do is set up accounts for all of your supervisors, and keep the 310 forms and permits in the district’s Google Drive folder. That way, everyone would have access to the information that they need whenever and wherever they need it (well, anywhere with Wifi that is). In fact, that’s how our SWCDM employees from Malta to Troy share program files.

Another thing you might find useful is Google Docs. If you’ve ever had to purchase the Microsoft Office Suite, you know that stuff isn’t cheap. I find that Google Docs can handle pretty much anything I need on a day-to-day basis. For most things I even think that it’s easier to work with and has a simpler interface. So if your district is facing purchasing a new Office Suite, you might consider this FREE option instead.

Want to learn more about the whole thing?

Kate Arpin

Kate is the Communications and Technology Manager for Soil & Water Conservation Districts of Montana. She manages the website, puts out The Montana Conservationist every other week, and assists conservation districts with technology, websites, and communications.

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