Free email addresses for charities and non-profits

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So, every organisation needs an email address, right? But what’s the easiest way for you to create and use an email for your charity or non-profit?

There are a huge number of free email providers out there and many are really very good, but today I’m going to focus on gmail.

Gmail is the email service provided by Google (heard of them? 😉 Yeah they’re big). It’s a free service, but there are of course paid upgrades you can get if needed. But it’s absolutely possible to use gmail for your charity email address for free.

And Gmail makes it super easy to manage your email both on your desktop PC and on mobile, using their app, or in your phone’s web browser.

Get started

The most basic way to use gmail as your charity email address is to simply visit gmail.com and set up an account with them with your preferred address, which will look like – ourcharityname@gmail.com.

And that’s fine. That works. There was a time when having an @gmail.com or @hotmail.com etc. email address seemed quite inappropriate for a proper organisation, but I think the stigma is a lot less these days.

Take it a step further…

Nevertheless, you may want to go a step further and create an email address that is associated with your domain name, such as contact@ourcharityname.com. And you can still use this in conjunction with Google’s email service, getting the benefit of their free hosting and mobile app etc.

There are good reasons to create an email using your own domain name. Not only does it appear more professional for your charitable organisation, but because it is linked to your domain name you have more control over what you do with it, and aren’t tied to always using google for your email hosting forever.

So how do we do this? Well firstly, you need to create a new google account as mentioned above (or you can use an existing google account you own, although if it’s a personal account this wouldn’t be recommended in case you need to hand off emails to someone else in your non-profit org).

Note: When you create your new google account you will see that you are also creating a gmail.com email address, don’t panic, you do not need to use this email address to actually send and receive email, it can simply be used as your login name on Google.

Ok, so we have a google account all ready to go. Now let’s create your email address at your domain name.

(This article assumes you already have a domain name and website. If not, check out our post about how to set up a low cost charity website. We recommend tsohost for hosting and domain names.)

Login to your website hosting dashboard. Many hosts use the ‘cpanel’ dashboard, if you are using this find this section, click the email addresses link and on the next page fill in the form to create your address.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is create-email-account-in-cpanel.png

Alternatively, if you’re using a different type of dashboard, such as tsohost’s cloud hosting dashboard, again you just want to find the ’email accounts’ link and click that to go on to the next page and fill in the form to create your new charity email address.

Don’t forget to make a note of your new email password!

And lastly, let’s get this email address working within gmail

So, how do we get this @yourdomain.com email address working with gmail?

Go to gmail.com (log in if not already logged in), then click on the settings link:

Next, click the ‘Accounts and Import’ link:

Then, scroll down to find the ‘Check email from other accounts:‘ section, and click the ‘Add an email account’ link.

A window will pop up. There you need to fill in the settings for your @yourdomain.com email address. When asked, choose the ‘POP3’ option.

You will need –

  • the email address
  • password
  • mail server (usually something like mail.yourdomain.com)
  • You may also need to know the port number. If so, you can find this called ‘client configuration’ or ’email client configuration’ or similar on your website hosting email setup page.

A few notes on the different settings here –

I find it’s usually best not to click the ‘‘ checkbox. This just leads to a build up of email on your hosting account which takes up valuable space.

It’s recommended that you do click the ‘Always use a secure connection (SSL) when retrieving mail.’ checkbox (this may alter the port number you need to use, so if you have any problems check this in your email configuration information)

Once you have all the information completed correctly, gmail will let you know they are sending a verification email to your @youdomain.com email address to confirm that you want to use their services. Click the confirmation link in the email address.

Ok, this handles gmail receiving your @yourdomain.com emails. There’s just one last step to ensure you can use gmail to send emails from this address too.

Again, on the ‘Accounts and Import’ page:

Find the ‘Send mail as:‘ section, and click the ‘Add another email address’ link. Fill in the details for your @mydomain.com email address and make sure the ‘Treat as an alias’ checkbox is ticked.