Office 365 and Nonprofit Organizations Are Made for Each Other

Free plans from Microsoft for nonprofit organizations

Jasper Oosterveld

by Jasper Oosterveld on 7/7/2014

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Date Revised:
11/17/2014


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We can't all save the world right? Well, there are people out there trying their best. Saving animals, the environment or children in war torn countries. These people are united into a nonprofit such as Greenpeace, War Child, or Amnesty International--to name just a few because many more are out there with their own specialties and goals. Nonprofits are everywhere and doing an amazing job protecting those who can't protect themselves. I really respect those people, trying to make a difference. You have to realize that nonprofits also have the need to connect and collaborate and share documents and information. They need high speed email access. Most nonprofits operate in multiple locations and countries. Their biggest challenge is money. They have to pay their employees wages and fund projects but also have to pay for local IT infrastructure and software. The latter takes money that they should spend on what really matters for their organization: hiring the right people and funding important projects. Unfortunately nonprofits work with legacy software and other old technologies. This results in loss of time, money and a lot of frustrations. What is the answer to this problem? Microsoft has the answer ready with Office 365!

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I really got inspired for this post during the Share Conference in South Africa by Laura Bergh. Laura worked in the oil industry for 10 years but made a radical change and is now involved in sustainability consulting and the social economy. During her session, Laura made a passionate appeal for informing nonprofits about the power of Office 365--especially SharePoint Online.

I really support Laura with her appeal and believe the message can help many nonprofits. Recently I was invited by Microsoft Netherlands to talk with RutgersWPF to advise them around using SharePoint Online and Office 365 within their organization. By using Office 365 they  have lowered their IT costs because they don't need on-premises infrastructure for email, Lync, and SharePoint. On top of that, the Office 365 licenses are free.

Office 365 comes with four Office 365 plans dedicated to nonprofits. Two plans are actually free and are donated by Microsoft! That's a great gesture by Microsoft and a real money saver. Let's take a look at the highlights of both free plans:

Small business (25 users)

  • 50 GB mailbox
  • Web conferencing and Instant Messaging
  • 1 TB personal storage for documents
  • Office Online

E1 for non-profits (unlimited users)

E1 comes with the same benefits as small business but adds the following:

  • Yammer Enterprise
  • Active Directory integration

What a great set of features for free! If your nonprofit really wants to use BI, Record Management, Office desktop, or the Office 365 Mobile Apps for editing, you can acquire Microsoft's E3 for nonprofits for $4.50 a month.

The use of Office 365 for nonprofits isn't only an unbelievable opportunity for the nonprofits, but also for SharePoint/Office 365 suppliers. The nonprofits want to invest money to save money!  Office 365 allows them to lowers their costs, connect anywhere and anytime, and stimulate innovation by using the latest cloud technologies.


Topic: Cloud

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  • We end up sending most of our non-profit clients to get the free Microsoft Office 365. It's a win-win all around.
  • This is a great thing for Microsoft to be doing, but one of the main roadblocks for me and the Non-Profit that I help run is that Microsoft requires charitable status. Not worth pursuing for us.