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Currently, document authors in the not-for-profit community group I belong to grant access to each individual document explicitly to each person who needs access.

This isn't convenient when a new member joins the group as existing documents then have to be individually shared with the new member. This is hard to organise as there are several authors and no way to manage this centrally.

Is there a way to define group(s) and share documents to a group so that a new member added to a group instantly has access to all the existing documents or some other method to simplify permissions?

Ideally, permissions should be able to be managed centrally rather than us all having to maintain groups (or similar) individually.

Note: We use the free Google Drive offering and do not have a domain defined via Google Apps etc.

Edit: We are in Australia.

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Yes, you can sign up for Google apps for nonprofits. Just search that term. You can host everything off Google's servers, but no email @yourdomain.com.

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    It looks like eligibility for the Google for Nonprofits program has now been expanded to Australia, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, England, France, Hungary, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, Wales and the United States. – Neil Robertson Feb 26 '15 at 0:04

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