Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline
Switchboard aspires to a society where all LGBT+ people are informed and empowered.
Public, Societal Benefits
Collaborate more efficiently
Share your story
Reach donors more easily
Connect with supporters
Founded in London in 1974, Switchboard is an LGBT+ helpline, a safe space for anyone to discuss anything, including sexuality, gender identity, sexual health, and emotional wellbeing. Switchboard aspires to a society where all LGBT+ people are informed and empowered. As an entirely volunteer-led organization, Switchboard achieves an impressive amount. Phone lines are open every single day of the year 10 am to 10 pm (yes, even on Christmas!), and additional support is offered via email and text. Volunteers are there to listen and support callers, offering calm words when needed the most. No matter where you are, no matter how you identify, you can call Switchboard and speak openly, in confidence, without any judgment.
Running such a complex, impactful, and always-on program with more than 200 volunteers on a small budget requires powerful tools.
First, Switchboard uses Ad Grants to increase their visibility on Google Search, with structured campaigns that capture a wide range of search queries. “We are very cost-effective, but very limited in spending money on advertising, so receiving resources [at no cost] helps”, says Tash Walker, co-Chair.
Second, volunteers need to be trained and prepared - calls can be tough, and many topics require detailed, in-depth knowledge. For this reason, Switchboard consolidates all their training content into a single, secure, and manageable Google Drive space and gives every volunteer access via their own Google Workspace for Nonprofits account. With 30 to 40 new volunteers joining every year, centralized resources management is crucial to helping volunteers find the information they need.
Third, given the nature of the service, information needs to stay secure and strictly confidential. With Cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM), Switchboard has consolidated and managed logins across multiple services, reducing security vulnerabilities by minimizing passwords and helping non-technical volunteers to easily log into a variety of services. When volunteers leave the organization, there is no more need to track and disable multiple accounts across a variety of platforms.
Last but not least, to keep operations running and provide reliable support to all beneficiaries, Switchboard needs volunteers to be informed and committed. “Google Workspace for Nonprofits is what enables all of that, from collaboration on documents to attending meetings“, explains Xan Pedisich, Office Admin. “Meet has made Switchboard a more consensus-driven organization,'' says Tash Walker - “When they can’t show up in person, volunteers attend meetings remotely, and have a chance to have a say”.
Our Google for Nonprofits team flew to London, visited the Switchboard headquarters, and met with the volunteers. Watch the video to discover more!
“As an organization we try to move with the evolving nature of culture, education, and society, and Google Workspace for Nonprofits has really helped us to do that.”
Tash Walker, Switchboard co-Chair
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