Everything You Need to Know About Office 365 for Charities

office 365 charity licencing
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Last Updated on 8th July 2021

Everything You Need to Know About Office 365 for Charities

Formerly known as Office 365, Microsoft 365 is a Cloud based product that can provide your organisation with email, Microsoft Office and other business applications on a subscription basis. In most cases, if you’re a charity or non-profit organisation you can claim your Microsoft 365 licensing as a donation from Microsoft. The donation will give you free or highly discounted licensing.

There are different Office 365 plans and options available to charities and non-profits. Some plans are dependent on how many users you have and which applications you want to have access to. It’s important to also make sure that your organisation is eligible for the donated licensing.

Are You Eligible for Charity Office 365 Licenses?

Microsoft’s donation programme globally gives away $2 million to charities and non-profits every day. Microsoft try and make the programme as accessible as possible and specify some eligibility criteria.

Charitable Status

The first step to eligibility is that you must be a registered charity in the UK. You will need to register with Microsoft and prove your charitable status either through your registration with the UK Charity Commission or tax exemption with HM Revenue & Customs. Public libraries can qualify as an eligible non-profit organisation without charitable status when the software is made available to the public.

Your Mission

You will then need to make sure that your mission as a charity or non-profit is eligible for the donation programme. Your mission will need to benefit the local community, this could include activities like providing relief to the poor, advancing education, improving social welfare, preserving culture, preserving or restoring the environment, promoting human rights or the establishment of a civil society.

There are some organisations that may still be ineligible for the donation. Non-profit organisations that do not have charitable status despite their mission will not be eligible for donated licensing. Government organisations, professional, commerce and trade associations, political organisations and individuals are also not eligible for the donation.

Schools, colleges and universities are not eligible as there is a dedicated programme for education licensing in addition to the non-profit programme.

Healthcare organisations are also not eligible for donated licensing if they are part of the Microsoft Health programme. Exceptions to this rule are independent non-profits with missions revolving around community, women’s health clinics, hospices, emergency services and blood, tissue and organ banks.

Housing associations are also unable to claim donated licensing for Office 365. They are able to claim on-premises software (Office 365 is not on-premises) if it is made accessible to their tenants in communal IT facilities.

Your Staff

The third step to ensuring your organisation is eligible for donated licensing is all about who will be using the software. Discounted licensing is intended for paid non-profit employees or unpaid full-time equivalent staff who have day-to-day managerial, operational and fiduciary responsibilities and will not use the license for personal income generation. Volunteers, members and beneficiaries are not eligible for non-profit licenses and subscriptions.

Office 365 Charity Pricing

Microsoft 365 Business Basic (Office 365 Business Essentials)

Price: Free

What’s included: Microsoft Cloud Services

Best for: Small and medium-sized charities that need email, cloud file storage and sharing and web conferencing.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard (Office 365 Business Premium)

Price: £2.30 per user per month

What’s included: Microsoft Cloud Services and Office Applications

Best for: Small and medium-sized charities that need email, cloud file storage and sharing and web conferencing, as well as familiar Office applications.

Office 365 E1

Price: Free

What’s included: Microsoft Cloud Services

Best for: Large charities that need email, cloud file storage and sharing, web conferencing, corporate social networks, work-management tools and compliance solutions.

Office 365 E3

Price: £4 per user per month

What’s included: Microsoft Cloud Services and Office Applications

Best for: Large charities that need email, cloud file storage and sharing, web conferencing, corporate social networks, work-management tools, compliance solutions combined with Office applications.

Office 365 E5

Price: £12.30 per user per month

What’s included: Microsoft Cloud Services, Office Applications and security tools

Best for: Large charities that need email, cloud file storage and sharing, web conferencing, corporate social networks, work-management tools, compliance solutions combined with Office applications and advanced security tools.

Should Your Charity Migrate to Microsoft 365?

Here are a few things to consider before migrating your charity to Office 365:

Internet Connection

Cloud Services live and breathe via the Internet. If you’re considering migrating your email and applications to Office 365 then you need to be sure that you have an Internet connection that can handle it. While you can access your Office applications offline, you won’t be able to gain the full benefit of the mobility and productivity of Office 365 if you can’t have full synchronisation via the Internet. Make sure that you have a good enough Internet service to ensure that you aren’t creating a problem by using Cloud Services.

Tools in the Cloud

Office 365 goes beyond the Office suite and email. It comes packed with extra tools such as Skype for Business, OneDrive, OneNote and Teams. These tools can make your charity or non-profit organisation operate in a way that you never really thought that you would be able to. If you provide care to patients then instead of having to take paper notes and having to deal with the administration later of typing them up, you can use a device to make your notes and know that they are saved to OneDrive.

Operating Expenditure vs Capital Expenditure

If you’re able to get fully donated licenses then you are on to a winner and it’s also the case if your licenses are partially donated. Office 365 works on a subscription basis where you pay a small fee per user per month. You may find that this is a much easier model to manage than having to deal with an ageing Exchange server every 5 years with high costs.

Benefits of Office 365 for Charities

Cheap Office 365 Licenses

Charities looking at Microsoft 365 Business Basic (which comprises Exchange, OneDrive and browser versions of Office applications) can get their licences for free for up to 300 users. If you want to have access to the full Office suite with Business Standard, then it’s currently £2.30 per user per month, compared with the standard price of £9.40.

Cost-Effective

By migrating your emails to the Cloud and Microsoft 365 you will no longer have the hefty hardware costs that come with replacing your Exchange server. Plus, you will no longer have to worry about paying for the heating, cooling or power of that server.

Scalability

If you are taking on more staff or are taking on a group of volunteers for a single campaign then it is easy to get them up and running with new licenses. It’s also easy to close their accounts once the campaign is over.

Mobility

A lot of charity and non-profit organisations have mobile workers, always out and about. By migrating to Cloud Services, technology is no longer a barrier. Microsoft 365 allows for files and folders to be synced across all devices and accessed wherever you are. You could begin a Word document on your laptop in the office and then complete it on the train on the way to a meeting on your tablet.

Security

Having your data sitting in a Microsoft data centre, with its full James Bond-style security, is much better than it being in a server on-premise protected by a locked door and the odd security camera. Cybersecurity is becoming a real issue, especially for charities, so it’s important to know that your data is being protected. You might have sensitive data like information regarding patients or clients that needs to be kept secure.

Office 365 for Charities

Talk to one of our consultants about setting up Microsoft 365 in your charity. Book a free consultation today.