The world has profoundly changed several times over in the past week or so. Millions of nonprofit workers are suddenly working remotely for the first time ever and find themselves leaning heavily on video-conferencing platforms to connect and get their important, often life-saving work done.
I’ve used a few video platforms over the years and have concluded Zoom is pretty much the best as far as usability goes. However, in the past week I’ve heard dozens of grassroots nonprofit organizations lament how they get kicked out of Zoom meetings after 40 minutes (which happens when using your free version) or get one paid license and waste precious time devising some bizarro sharing strategy so multiple staff members may access it.
The absurdity of this is beyond the pale, especially considering Zoom is rightfully providing free unrestricted access to everyone in China. Our domestic nonprofits, which include homeless shelters, food pantries, and legal aid agencies, are caring for our most vulnerable community members all while facing the existential crisis this pandemic has wrought. They are fighting for their survival and lack the resources to pay for your license right now and need immediate help.
I was pleased to learn from a teacher friend today that Zoom has temporarily lifted its 40-minute limit for free licenses for K-12 schools. This is not only the right thing from a morality standpoint, but such an investment in goodwill and user adoption will surely pay dividends for years to come. Good call. Now you must do the same for all the nonprofits struggling to lean into this pandemic with limited resources.
Zoom, please consider this an open invitation to do the right thing and lift time restrictions for all nonprofits using your free offering at least until things settle. You have the power to do this, so please act now. Not doing so will exacerbate inequities and waste countless hours of those on the front lines of this crisis. Nonprofits are watching but do not have the luxury of waiting patiently.