Office 365 for Nonprofits

Office 365 For Nonprofits: What You Need To Know

Are your NPO staff, volunteers or board members spread across multiple locations? Do they often use personal devices like smartphones or tablets for work? Are you ready to retire the management of your in-house Exchange server?

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s time to consider Office 365’s nonprofit options.

Microsoft Office 365 Nonprofit provides

  • Hosted email with varying degrees of storage:
  • Unlimited archiving and enhanced security features (E3 and E5 licenses)
  • Increased Online Storage
  • All the same capabilities as the installed version of the Office suite
  • Increased security features to better protect data and files
  • The collaborative, anywhere, anytime availability of the cloud

If you have questions about going completely online, especially if you’re working with sensitive information and databases, read on.

Eligible nonprofits and charities can receive donated and discounted Office 365 Enterprise and Small Business licensing. And because nonprofits come in different sizes and have diverse technology needs, there are multiple licensing plans to choose from that you can mix and match according to your different staff needs.

Benefits of Office 365

We have seen many benefits of Office 365 for nonprofits, based on our own experience using it ourselves. Overall, it frees up IT staff time by making email maintenance, software upgrades, and insecure information storage a thing of the past. It also deepens the word processing, data analysis, communication, and productivity features of the traditional Office suite that your staff is already familiar with.

Here are some of its key features.

  • Hosted email. With Microsoft Exchange Online, you no longer need to manage an in-house Exchange server or set up a VPN for remote access to your office. Staff can access their email, shared calendars, and contacts from up to five devices, including PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet. See above for a quick breakdown of storage for different licenses.
  • Office Web Apps. You’re on your way home from the office and realize that you forgot to update an important document. What do you do? With Office Web Apps, you can open, view, and edit documents right from your browser (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari) on your home computer or mobile device.
  • Security and privacy. Built-in spam and malware protection for your email means your data will be better protected in the cloud and less work for IT staff. If your organization deals with sensitive information, be assured that Office 365 is compliant with industry standards such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and FISMA (The Federal Information Security Management Act). Your IT staff can manage and customize your organization’s security options in a single console (a web-based admin center).
  • Document sharing. Easily share and co-edit documents with your colleagues with SharePoint Online, Microsoft’s cloud-based file-sharing tool. You can edit documents simultaneously with others, saving you the time and confusion that comes from emailing documents back and forth.
  • Group Collaboration. Microsoft Teams is an internal chat platform that acts as a hub for teamwork. It puts all your team conversations, files, meetings, and apps in a single shared workspace, which you can access from anywhere on your mobile device.
  • Web and Voice Conferencing. Microsoft Skype for Business is an all-in-one tool for video calls, web conferencing, instant messaging, and voice calls. With high-definition (HD) video conferencing, you can meet and collaborate with out-of-office staff and volunteers. Skype for Business includes a real-time note-taking feature so you can keep track of ideas and notes from your meetings.
  • Support 24/7. Don’t have on-call IT staff? Office 365 provides 24/7 professional-level support for issues ranging from critical to mild (depending on the plan your organization has).

Choosing the Right Office 365 Nonprofit Plan

Microsoft offers two fully donated plans and two deeply discounted plans.

Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials – DONATED

Best for small & mid-sized nonprofits that need email, cloud file-storage and sharing, web conferencing with IM, audio, and HD video, and other services. Office applications NOT INCLUDED.

  • Web versions of Word, Excel, and more
  • File storage and sharing with 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • Business class email, calendar, and contacts with a 50 GB inbox
  • Unlimited online meetings, IM, and audio, HD video, and web conferencing
  • Get a hub for teamwork with Microsoft Teams
  • Intranet site for your teams with customizable security settings
  • Corporate social network to help employees collaborate across departments and locations
  • Work management tools to help teams create plans, organize, assign and collaborate around tasks
  • Professional digital storytelling tools to create interactive reports, presentations, and more
  • Personalized search and discovery across Office 365 using the Office Graph
  • Maximum number of users: 300

Office 365 Nonprofit E1 – DONATED

Best for large nonprofits that need email, cloud file-storage and sharing, web conferencing with IM, audio, and HD video, a corporate social network, work-management tools, compliance solutions, and other services. Office applications NOT INCLUDED.

  • Web versions of Word, Excel, and more
  • File storage and sharing with 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • Business class email, calendar, and contacts with a 50 GB inbox
  • Unlimited online meetings, IM, and audio, HD video, and web conferencing
  • Intranet site for your teams with customizable security settings
  • Corporate social network to help employees collaborate across departments and locations
  • Work management tools to help teams create plans, organize, assign and collaborate around tasks.
  • Professional digital storytelling tools to create interactive reports, presentations, and more
  • Personalized search and discovery across Office 365 using the Office Graph
  • Corporate video portal for uploading and sharing your corporate videos across the company
  • Meeting broadcast on the Internet to up to 10,000 people, who can attend in a browser on nearly any device
  • Get a hub for teamwork with Microsoft Teams
  • Compliance solutions to support Archiving, Auditing, eDiscovery, mailbox and internal site search, and legal hold capabilities depending upon subscription type

These free plans do not include the full installed version of Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.). In order to have both the full installed version of Office, as well as the cloud-based versions, we would recommend the discounted Office 365 Business Premium or E3 licenses. Both versions come with the ability to use five devices per license — allowing you to access your software from your phone, computer, or tablet.

You can still supplement these cloud plans with traditional on-premises software through TechSoup, but if you are able to start moving to cloud products now, we recommend making the switch when you can. Office 365 plans are continually updated for security enhancements and robust new features.

Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium – DISCOUNTED FOR ELIGIBLE NONPROFITS

Best for small & mid-sized nonprofits that need email, Office desktop applications, cloud file-storage and sharing, web conferencing with IM, audio, and HD video, and other services. Office Applications INCLUDED.

  • Desktop versions of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and Access (Publisher and Access are available on PC only)on up to 5 PCs or Macs per user
  • Optimized Office experience on 5 tablets and 5 phones
  • OneNote: Access to additional OneNote features (features vary)
  • Web versions of Word, Excel, and more
  • File storage and sharing with 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • Business class email, calendar, and contacts with a 50 GB inbox
  • Unlimited online meetings, IM, and audio, HD video, and web conferencing
  • Get a hub for teamwork with Microsoft Teams
  • Intranet site for your teams with customizable security settings
  • Corporate social network to help employees collaborate across departments and locations
  • Work management tools to help teams create plans, organize, assign and collaborate around tasks
  • Professional digital storytelling tools to create interactive reports, presentations, and more
  • Personalized search and discovery across Office 365 using the Office Graph
  • Maximum number of users: 300

Office 365 Nonprofit E3 – DISCOUNTED FOR ELIGIBLE NONPROFITS

Best for large nonprofits that need email, Office desktop applications, cloud file-storage and sharing, web conferencing with IM, audio, and HD video, meeting broadcasts over the Internet to up to 10,000 people, a corporate social network, work-management tools, compliance solutions, data protection with DLP, and other services.

  • Desktop versions of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and Access (Publisher and Access are available on PC only) on up to 5 PCs or Macs per user
  • Optimized Office experience on 5 tablets and 5 phones
  • OneNote: Access to additional OneNote features (features vary)
  • Web versions of Word, Excel, and more
  • Unlimited personal cloud storage4
  • Business class email, calendar, and contacts with a 50 GB inbox
  • Unlimited online meetings, IM, and audio, HD video, and web conferencing
  • Get a hub for teamwork with Microsoft Teams
  • Intranet site for your teams with customizable security settings
  • Corporate social network to help employees collaborate across departments and locations
  • Work management tools to help teams create plans, organize, assign and collaborate around tasks.
  • Professional digital storytelling tools to create interactive reports, presentations, and more
  • Personalized search and discovery across Office 365 using the Office Graph
  • Corporate video portal for uploading and sharing your corporate videos across the company
  • Meeting broadcast on the Internet to up to 10,000 people, who can attend in a browser on nearly any device
  • Enterprise management of apps with Group Policy, Telemetry, Shared Computer
  • Self-service Business Intelligence to discover, analyze, and visualize data with Excel
  • Compliance solutions to support Archiving, Auditing, eDiscovery, mailbox and internal site search, and legal hold capabilities depending upon subscription type
  • Information Protection including Rights Management and Data Loss Prevention for emails

TechSoup has a dedicated group of people trained to provide advice and guidance to nonprofits about Office 365’s nonprofit options — come talk to us! To see if your organisation is eligible to access Office 365 Nonprofit licensing, see Microsoft’s Who’s Eligible.

Getting Started with Office 365

Office 365 is designed for easy management. For nonprofits without IT staff, the Office 365 admin portal lets accidental techies configure settings and customize user licenses, permissions, and services according to their staff’s needs.

Compatibility with Other Office Products

You cannot install the Office applications from one of the Office 365 discounted plans on the same device as Office products obtained through Volume Licensing. This applies to all Office products available as donations through TechSoup, including Skype for Business, Visio, and Project. You’ll need to uninstall any Office products that you’ve received as donations through TechSoup before installing the applications provided through the discounted plans.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.

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