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Migration to the cloud

Tips for Nonprofits Setting Up SharePoint Online

Microsoft Office 365 is a many-faceted jewel. In this article, we cover some of the benefits and features of one of its facets — SharePoint Online. We show you how to set up an intranet site, share internal documents with external partners, and set basic user and administrator permissions. Find out more about Microsoft’s Office 365 here.

Setting Up Your Organisation’s Intranet

Microsoft’s SharePoint Online is a cloud-based service that enables nonprofits to easily collaborate with co-workers, partners, and constituents. With SharePoint Online, you can conveniently access internal sites, such as your intranet, documents, and other information from anywhere — at the office, at home, or from a mobile device.

A well-thought-out intranet can be the nexus where staff can easily find relevant documents, organizational charts, staff directories, employee benefits, forms, general directions for operating as a member of your nonprofit, and more. SharePoint Online makes setting up and modifying your intranet super easy.

The one thing you’ll need to do before you get started creating your intranet is to make a plan and identify the resources that your staff members need access to in order to conduct day-to-day business. Ben Williams at Tech Impact shows you a few tips on how to plan for and set up an intranet site, including image libraries, calendars to monitor deadlines, and more.

Download video transcript

Follow these steps to set up your intranet.

  1. Identify resources that your staff needs.
  2. Prioritize organizational content by frequency of use. For example, if you frequently use photos in your work, plan to include a photo library in SharePoint Online
  3. Build your intranet pages using SharePoint Online.
  4. Ask for feedback from staff.
  5. Revise pages on an ongoing basis to reflect changes in organizational processes.

Sharing Internal Documents with External Partners

Most nonprofits work with external partners. These could include contractors or volunteers, other nonprofits, or special project teams where collaboration is necessary to save time and productivity. Nothing is more hair-raising than passing along an attachment to multiple stakeholders and forgetting exactly where you were in the editing or brainstorming process. And it does seem that someone invariably misplaces the attachment and asks you to send it again. Discerning which file to send or tracking down your sent email can be, well, a huge pain.

SharePoint Online has a few tricks that can help you both grant and control access to your documents.

Watch as Ben talks about two different ways to share files with your external partners.

Download video transcript

You can share files or folders with external collaborators in two ways.

  1. Anonymous links
    • The link can be set for a specified time period.
    • The link can only be used for sharing individual documents.
    • The creator of the link can remove access at any time.
    • No sign-in is required.
    • An anonymous link is less secure than an authenticated link.
  2. Authenticated links
    • The recipient of the link can access your organization’s documents, folders, and libraries.
    • The recipient must log in to an authorized account.
    • If the recipient does not have a Microsoft account, they can easily create one and then access your documents.

Understanding and Managing End-User Permissions

It’s only natural that your organisation wants to limit access to some folders and documents for staff and volunteers. You can do this in SharePoint Online via SharePoint’s flexible end-user permissions.

An end user is a person, like a staff member, who will be accessing information on your intranet. End-user permissions are managed by an administrator, and we’ll talk about them in the next section.

Here are some ways you can manage end-user permissions.

  1. Some content should available to everyone, including
    • Employee benefits
    • Holiday schedule
    • Staff directory and organizational chart
  2. Protected content
    • Items that only specific staff can or should access
  3. Types of permission
    • Full control — open to everyone
    • Unique — restricted to specific staff
    • Read
    • Edit
    • View only

There are some good rules to follow for setting user permissions and specific language that will help you understand best practices. Watch as Ben discusses permission functionality for end users and some recommended standard operating procedures.

Download video transcript

For the SharePoint Online administrator, establishing and setting permissions can be tricky to navigate. Be sure that you plan your permission strategy first before you assign permissions! Ben shares a few tips on this topic next.

Download video transcript

That wraps our tips for this time, but stayed tuned for more Microsoft Office 365 tips and video clips!

Get SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online is part of Office 365. Microsoft offers both discounted and donated plans to eligible nonprofits and our team is available to assist you with your application:

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