Microsoft 365 (formerly branded as Office 365) is free for churches, religious organizations, and other nonprofits and charities. This is one of the game-changing technology services for nonprofits that can make all the difference in engaging your congregation and achieving your mission. Computers In Ministry (CIM) created this short guide to help churches understand how to take advantage of Microsoft nonprofit pricing and use its features to improve efficiency and productivity.
Yes, qualifying nonprofits (including churches) can access Microsoft 365 Business Premium for free, for up to ten users. If you have more than ten employees or volunteers who need Microsoft 365 to do their work for your organization, there are a few options. One is to pay $5 per month, per additional user, but this can quickly become a budget-buster for organizations with limited resources. Another option is to apply for a Microsoft nonprofit grant. Approved organizations can receive free access to Microsoft 365 Business Basic for up to 300 users.
One of the main differences between Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Microsoft 365 Business Premium is how they integrate Microsoft Office.
In a Business Basic package, only the online versions of Word, Power Point, Excel, and other Office programs will be available to users. One of its benefits is that users can access their saved files simply by logging in to Office.com from any device, anywhere. However, this could also be a security risk depending on the location of the login and other factors.
In a Business Premium package, users will be able to download Office and other programs to their desktop and use them without an Internet connection. This is considered more secure but can also limit productivity and collaboration in today’s remote work world. Helping nonprofits navigate these considerations and make the best decision for their organization is our specialty at CIM! We are committed to starting with an understanding of your needs from software and then working backwards to find the perfect fit between functionality and your budget.
Whether you choose free access to Microsoft 365 Business Basic or Business Premium, Microsoft Teams is included. This collaboration platform is a one-stop solution for video conferencing, instant messaging, and file sharing. Such features allow organizational leaders, remote employees, volunteers, and other users to communicate in real-time and share information. If your church has multiple congregations, hosts community events, or collaborates with other orgs to achieve greater impact, Microsoft Teams could be a blessing where you are truly getting something for nothing!
If you’re convinced that Microsoft Nonprofit is the right solution for your church, the next step is qualifying to get the program for free. This is a simple process of providing Microsoft with documentation of your nonprofit status, as well as other basic information like your church’s name, primary address, and defining a point of contact for them to reach out to. Microsoft also works with a nonprofit partner, TechSoup, who will reach out to you within a few business days of completing your application. They will not only verify the information you provided, but also share insights about additional Microsoft deals for nonprofits, and other tech discounts or freebies you might be eligible for. Other programs and discounts that CIM can help you qualify for through TechSoup include:
CIM was founded to help nonprofits, including faith-based organizations like churches, accomplish their mission by providing IT direction and support. We want to help you choose the best tech solutions possible while also using your resources to their fullest potential. As an IT consultant for churches, our first role is to listen to your needs, challenges, and goals. Then, we work with you to create a Technology Roadmap between where you are now and where you want to end up. Our services include IT policy development, software evaluation and selection, cybersecurity planning, and project management as you migrate your files and processes to new platforms.
At CIM, we are an extension of your team and a partner in your ministry. Let us help you align today’s technology to your mission and keep you aware of future opportunities to keep improving. Contact Computers in Ministry to share your needs with a listening ear and get the support you need to grow your mission through technology.