Google Calendar: How to use a Google Group with GCal to set up birthday announcements

08 Jan

How would you like to post a Happy Birthday wish for people in your school or group on their birthday and allow everyone else to add to those wishes?

I have been doing this for a great group of educators (Google Certified Teachers) over the last year and a friend, Mark Allen, has inspired me to post about how to make it happen. He has also given me the great idea to automate it for use in schools.  Wouldn’t it be great to wish every student a Happy Birthday?

We will look at both methods, one more personal and no automation and the other with automation but with better consistency.

What you will need:

  1. Google Calendar
  2. Google Group
  3. Gmail
  4. Everyone’s birth date

The personal birthday connection.

  1. Have a Google Group set up (this can be an exsisting group) with everyone.  In Google Apps you could use a Google Apps Administrator Group or a Google Apps User-managed Group (A group that a user sets up if User-Managed Groups has been turned on by an Admin) .  If you are not using Google Apps you can use a Google Group.
  2. Create a new Calendar and Share it with the Group so the members can add their birthdays to the calendar.
  3. As a member’s birthday comes close. Post a message to the group to wish that person a Happy Birthday and to encourage others to do the same. (To make things easy on yourself, add a default email reminder to the birthday calendar two to three days in advance.  Then you will receive an email so you will not forget to post to the group.)

The automated birthday connection.

  1. See #1 above (This could be a group that will only allow announcements or it could be interactive)
  2. Create a new Calendar.  You can still have members add their birthdays to the calendar by sharing it, but since you will be automating the process it might be cleaner to use a CSV file to import all the birthdays into the Calendar. (Suggestion: make the “appointment” subject something like “Happy Birthday John Smith”
  3. Be sure to add a default email reminder to the birthday calendar. Because this will be automated you will need to decide if you want to send the birthday announcement on that day or two to three days in advance.
  4. To make this fully automated you will need to create a filter in Gmail to forward the Happy Birthday reminder to the Group email from #1.  You will need to use the advanced filters to make sure only the Happy Birthday messages get forwarded to the group.
  5. If you want to really publicize the birthdays you could use Google Calendar to Twitter to Tweet the birthday news to all of your followers.

Now get out there and wish everyone a Happy Birthday!!!


Posted by on January 8, 2011 in Google Calendar, How To, Tech Tid Bit


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

6 responses to “Google Calendar: How to use a Google Group with GCal to set up birthday announcements

  1. Kevin McLaughlin

    January 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    This is a great idea Danny, I’ll set it up for my own class when the children start using our Google Apps domain later this month. Thanks for posting this and thanks to Mark for inspiring you to write it.

  2. Tim Rueb

    January 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Great post. I think this is a great use of these different tools.

    Good luck on your Post a Week goal for the year.

  3. Anne Dotson

    January 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Great idea. I am also going to do it for my family. Thank you for reminding all of us to be personable as well as taking care of business.

  4. Dan

    January 3, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Now that Google Groups requires a verification … how do you verify the Google Group E-mail address?

  5. Danny Silva

    January 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    Not sure if this is what you are asking? I think you are talking about the Verification to forward a message from gmail.

    When you set up the forward, it will send an email to that address (in this case the google group). The code will then be sent to the group email. Grab the code from the group, paste it back into gmail. Then I would suggest deleting the post from the group.

    Hope that answers the question.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: