Getting started with Zoom

Published on
March 18, 2020
How Tos
This guide helps charities get set up to make Zoom Video calls. Connect with a team, service users or partners.
Graphic with the text 'Getting started with Zoom'

About Zoom

Zoom is a free (plus paid-for options) video conferencing tool that can be used on PCs, Macs and mobile devices.

We use it for 1:1 meetings; team meetings and video meetings with people outside of our organisation.

It’s easy to sign up and use, taking less than 10 minutes to get started.

The free version gives you calls up to 40 minutes in length and there are lots of features to support collaborative working. Here, we’ll just look at getting signed up and started.

Step 1

Go to Zoom
Head over to and click the Sign up, it’s free button in the top right corner.

Image for post

Step 2

Create account
Follow the steps to create your free account.

You’ll need access to your email account to complete this stage.

Image for post

Step 3

Check it works

Select ‘HOST A MEETING’ in the top right corner of the screen

Once you’ve done that, an automatic download will start. Follow the instructions until the video call starts (don’t worry, there’s no one else in the virtual meeting yet!)

Image for post

Step 4

Sound and video check

Once in the meeting look for the black toolbar at the bottom of the screen. If you can’t see it, move your mouse/cursor and it should appear.

Click on the up-arrow between the mute and video icons.

Then select: Test speaker and microphones

If that doesn’t confirm your speakers and video is working, get in touch.

Image for post

Step 5

Invite guests/participants

Select the invite icon from the black toolbar (as shown in the image above)

We tend to select ‘copy url’ or ‘copy invitation’ (the latter includes phone dial-in options) and then add it to a diary appointment or email. You can also select one of the email icons to automatically add those to an email.

Image for post

Step 6

You’re ready

Having gone through that process, you now have an account and have downloaded the software. Open Zoom when you want to use it, select ‘Host a meeting’ to start and share the details with those you want to join you.

You can start using other features: scheduling calls in advance, recording sessions to share with others etc. But for now, enjoy how well you can connect with those you need to, and hopefully continue the amazing work that you do.

Video tutorial

If you want to watch Zoom’s own explanation, check out the video below

Related links and guides

About this guide

This guide has been contributed to Catalyst. It was created by CAST in partnership with Small Charities Coalition.

Report a problem or share your feedback

If you liked this article and want to learn more about how digital can help your charity, then sign up for our free weekly newsletter. Thank you!