In any business setting, having and maximizing the right tools is a key ingredient to success. In today’s digital world, that often encompasses having the right technology to facilitate anything from day-to-day tasks to big picture goals. That’s no different for charities or nonprofit organizations. Charities and nonprofit organizations (NPOs), while having different missions and legal classifications from corporations, require many of the same technologies as for-profit institutions.
Technology services for nonprofits overlap with those of the corporate sector in several ways. For example, both need accounting softwares. Both require scheduling and communication softwares. The similarities go on. The nuances and differences come into play when you think about what things really matter to a charity or NPO.
Nonprofits often operate on more stringent budgets, meaning they are looking to maximize the value returned on every cent spent. To that end, free, freemium, or discounted technology services can be particularly attractive to decision makers at charities and nonprofits. One such set of applications that many churches and other NPOs are usually interested in is Microsoft Office 365. In this blog, we go over Microsoft nonprofit pricing, Microsoft grants for nonprofits, and more!
Microsoft does provide a free version of Microsoft 365 to eligible nonprofit organizations. Essentially, the most limited version of Microsoft 365, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, is available to qualifying nonprofit organizations, churches, and charities through a Microsoft grant (more on this later). Just because this is the basic version does not mean it isn’t jam-packed with usable features. With the basic version, nonprofits have access to:
Now that we have covered the features Microsoft 365 Business Basic, let’s look at how your nonprofit or charity can qualify for a grant.
Microsoft nonprofit eligibility for grants is determined by three categories of factors, per their website. Let’s take a look at them individually.
Your organization or institution must be a nonprofit or non-governmental organization with recognized legal status in their respective country (equal to 501(c)(3) status under the United States Internal Revenue Code).
In addition to your organization’s legal classification criteria, institutions must also operate on a not-for-profit basis with a mission to benefit a specific community. Examples of these missions may include but are not limited to:
Due to Microsoft’s value and respect for individual and cultural differences, and its commitment to providing an inclusive environment free from discrimintation:
“organizations are not eligible to participate in the Microsoft nonprofit program if they have a policy or mission of discrimination in hiring, compensation, promotion, termination, retirement, training, programs, activities, and/or services based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, political affiliation, union membership, or veteran status.”
After establishing the eligibility of your organization based on these three criteria, there are two other questions you need to answer. They are who should register your organization and who can use the license.
According to Microsoft, only an employee or strategic volunteer of the nonprofit organization may register for a grant. Third party IT providers (like us at Computers In Ministry) cannot fill out the registration on behalf of the organization.
Since nonprofit grants are provided for specific employees and volunteers to use, only paid employees and unpaid executive staff members may use a license. In addition to user amount limits, organizations are also expected to remove access for licenses that are unused or no longer in use. For specific guidelines and definitions, visit the Microsoft website linked above.
At Computers In Ministry, we know what it’s like to be a nonprofit or a charitable organization. Your mission drives you every single day to make the world a better place. At CIM, our mission is to help you do that, as an IT partner. Whether it’s Microsoft Nonprofit support, setting up accounting softwares, installing a CRM, or just creating a more effective approach to technology in your NPO, we are here to serve you. We don’t see people as clients, we see them as partners. We want to become a seamless extension of your nonprofit’s family and help you harness the power of technology to magnify your impact. Contact us today to see how we can make your mission a reality.
*NOTE, as of April 21, 2020 Office 365 was officially rebranded as Microsoft 365.