Office 365 for Nonprofits

Note: This article is not sponsored by Microsoft. Our team wants non-profits to know what is available to them so they can maximise online tools, allowing them to save time, money and headaches. The following interview was conducted with our Director of Fundraising Technologies, Mike Taylor. We’re available to answer any of your questions!


“So Mike, what is Office 365?”

In a nutshell, Office 365 for nonprofits is another way to license the latest version of office software. Office 365 (O365) is a cloud product which has several advantages, one of which is it’s always updating and up to date, much like an app or an operating system. This means that instead of buying the software in a box time a new version comes out, Office 365 is always the latest software.


“What are my options if I’m NOT using Office 365 for Nonprofits?”

When it comes to email, an organization can choose to run their own server which requires purchasing the server, the server software and the exchange server software. This can easily run over $2,000, including tech support for initial installation as well as ongoing maintenance. Another option is to not run their own server, they can pay a hosting company for email services but again, this can be an ongoing monthly expense.

As for the regular Office software, most nonprofits buy the Microsoft Office suite and install it on one device. This requires a purchase for each user and a repurchase to update the product after a few years. For each person!


“What makes Office 365 for Nonprofits so interesting?”

  1. IT’S FREE. EMAIL IS ACTUALLY FREE: email, outlook & exchange is free for charitable organizations. Therefore, at the very least, charities get Microsoft’s  email tool for free! In addition to email,  you can make a small upgrade to Office 365 for a small monthly fee. All you need is proper documentation to get started.
  2. It’s easy:  If you don’t live under a rock, then you know how to use Microsoft products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. So when you transfer your processes to Office 365, there’s little to no training required. Office 365 allows each user up to 5 PCs or Macs and up to 5 mobile devices (phone, tablet) on which they can install the software. What this means is that if a user wants to work from any of their personal devices, they can do so without additional costs. The result is having a constant, real-time and up-to-date information, on the cloud and across all of a users devices.
  3. Work from anywhere, with anyone: Another advantage to the cloud product is that everyone is connected online. Users are free to share, work, collaborate and communicate with coworkers from any device. Collaboration is facilitated and encouraged by the online Office capabilities. All the Office 365 plans come with tools for online meetings such as instant messaging (IM), HD video conferencing and Skype for Business App.
  4. Latest software version: As a cloud product and included in their low monthly subscription price, Office 365 is constantly being updated and maintained by Microsoft.


What can charities get?

What features charities get from Microsoft 365 depends on the plan they choose. However, all plans come with: online versions of Office (such as Word, Excel, etc.); 1 TB of storage per user; Business-class email, calendar, and contacts; Unlimited online meetings; Intranet site for your team’s workflow; Corporate social network, also for workflow; Personalized search and discovery across Office 365 using the Office Graph. All of that is free. Here’s a synthesis of the plan breakdown:

Plan Name

Office 365
Business Premium

Office 365
E1 Plan

Office 365
E3 Plan


$2 user/month


$4.50 user/month

Basic features

Includes full, installed Office Applications Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook, Publisher, and One Note
and allows for installation on tablets and phones

(maximum of 300 users)

Free email and it has Corporate video portal for sharing corporate videos and it has unlimited users

Includes full, installed Office Applications Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook, Publisher, and One Note
and allows for installation on tablets and phonefor enterprise management, compliance, business intelligence, etc.


Which plan is the best for my non-profit?

For most organizations, the Business Premium plan will suffice. While it is not completely free, it’s only $2.00/user per month it includes hosted Exchange for email and has the full suite of Office applications.


How can Phil help my non-profit adopt and integrate Office 365?

Through its partnership with eSimpleIT, Phil has a variety of communications and technology services to help organizations be more effective and efficient in their work including website development, database development, online fundraising tools, office technology and technology planning services. We are a bridge from the old to the new!


Send us an email or call us today to book a meeting: 514-932-0314