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Office 365 Nonprofit is available for charities and nonprofits in Canada!

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This post was originally written in September 2013 and has been updated in December 2015 and March 2016 to reflect Microsoft's latest changes to Office 365 Nonprofits.

Would you like to be able to access email and files on the go, work with staff and volunteers at different locations, and keep your IT costs down? Good news - Office 365, one of the leading solutions for bringing your back office to the cloud, have donated and discounted plans for nonprofits and charities in Canada.

Office 365 Nonprofit is a cloud application that provides you and your staff with web-based access to familiar Office applications, plus professional email, instant messaging, calendar, video conferencing, and access to your documents from anywhere. Microsoft has donated and discounted a range of subscription plans, so no matter how big or small your organization you can find an affordable plan that meets your needs.

To help your nonprofit learn more about Office 365 Nonprofit, here are some answers to common Office 365 questions:

  1. Is Office 365 Nonprofit right for my organization?
  2. What is the difference between Business and Enterprise?
  3. What programs are included in Office 365 Nonprofit?
  4. Is my organization eligible for Office 365 Nonprofit?
  5. How does my organization access Office 365 Nonprofit?
  6. How do I switch to Office 365's donated/free plan(s)? 
  7. My organization is already using Office 365 - can we access the nonprofit pricing?
  8. Does this impact the existing Microsoft software donations program at TechSoup Canada?
  9. What is the status of my Office 365 application?

1. Is Office 365 Nonprofit right for my organization?

To learn more about Office 365’s capabilities and to determine which subscription plan is best for your organization, you can read our article What You Need to Know About Microsoft Office 365 Nonprofits and the recap of our How Office 365 Can Help Propel Your Nonprofit webinar.

Strapped for time? Here’s a short intro from Microsoft on Office 365.

2. What is the difference between Office 365 Business and Office 365 Enterprise?

Office 365 Nonprofits offers two types of subscription: Business (up to 300 users) and Enterprise (unlimited users). Both subscriptions have free and discounted plans for nonprofits.

The two free donated plans are Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials and Office 365 Nonprofit Enterprise 1 (E1) plan, and the two discounted plans are Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium ($2.40 CAD per user per month) and Office 365 Nonprofit Enterprise 3/E3 ($5.70 CAD per user per month).

For a more detailed comparison between Business and Enterprise's free and discounted plans, read our post What You Need to Know About Microsoft Office 365 Nonprofits.

3. What programs are included in Office 365 Nonprofit?

The free donated Office 365 Nonprofit plans, Business Essentials and E1, include Office web apps, Outlook web app, Skype for Business, OneDrive and Sharepoint.

The discounted Office 365 Nonprofit plans, Business Premium and E3 plans, include Office web apps, Outlook web app, Office for mobile devices, Skype for Business, OneDrive, Sharepoint, and allows users to download and install Office Suite deskptop applications on their devices.

For a full list of features, see Microsoft’s Office 365 Nonprofit website for more details.

4. Is my organization eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits?

If you are currently a member of TechSoup Canada,

  • Log into your account and click on the “Validation Token” tab.
  • Generate a validation token and copy it.
  • Next, go to Microsoft’s Product Donations portal, enter your token and click ‘Validate Token’.

    It will show you the organization associated with the token. Click “Yes, this is correct. Continue to check my eligibility” to proceed to the next step.

  • If you’re eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits, you’ll see “Cloud Services” listed on the page of Microsoft programs your organization can access.

[TIP] If you are qualified for our Microsoft Software Donations program, you’re most likely eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits as well!

If you are not a member of TechSoup Canada, you’ll need to create a free TechSoup Canada account and register your organization in order to see if you’re eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits. Once our team verifies your account, you can follow the steps above (log into your account, use your validation token, check eligibility on Microsoft’s Product portal, etc.).

5. How does my organization access Office 365 Nonprofit?

If you are currently a member of TechSoup Canada,

  • Request a free trial of Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium or Nonprofit E3 on Microsoft's site (prices in screenshot are in CAD). Note: You can switch to the donated Nonprofit E1 or Business Essentials plans later!
    Screenshot of Office 365 Free Trial Sign-up

    Microsoft, with help from TechSoup Canada, evaluates your eligibility during the 30-day E3 trial period. Approvals can take 1-4 weeks, but the process will be faster for organizations already registered with TechSoup Canada.

  • Once your request is approved, you’ll receive a confirmation email directly from Microsoft
  • Now that you're approved, you can login to your Office 365 Nonprofit account and access the two free, donated plans: Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials and Office 365 Nonprofit E1. For a step-by-step guide on how to switch from a discounted subscription to a donated plan, follow the next set of instructions, “How do I switch to Office 365’s donated/free plan?”.

If you’re not a member of TechSoup Canada, you'll need to create a free TechSoup Canada account and register your organization. Once our team verifies your account, then you can follow the instructions outlined above.

Note: the Office 365 for Nonprofits program is not delivered through the TechSoup Canada website, but we do have Windows operating systems and Office products that can support and compliment your Office 365 subscription.

Still unsure how to get started with Office 365 Nonprofits? TechSoup US produced a short video (4:30 mins) that takes you through the process of requesting Office 365 Nonprofits.

6. How do I switch to Office 365's donated/free plans?

Before you can gain access to Office 365’s donated/free plans ((Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials and Office 365 Nonprofit E1), your organization needs to meet Microsoft’s eligibility requirements. Microsoft, with help from TechSoup Canada, evaluates your eligibility during the 30-day trial period. Approvals can take 1-4 weeks, but the process will be faster for organizations already registered with TechSoup Canada.

If you qualify, you will receive an email approval from Microsoft:

  1. Login to Office 365 and click on the Admin icon.
  2. On the left hand menu, look for Purchase Services and click on it.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page, look for Office 365 Nonprofit E1, and click “Buy Now".

  4. Select number of user licenses (choose more than you’ll use), and click “Check out now”.
  5. Click “Check out” ...
  6. Click “Check out” again!
  7. Click “Next”.
  8. Click the checkbox, read the corresponding agreement, enter your name as it's displayed above, and click “Next”.

  9. Click “Continue”.
  10. Wait up to 30 minutes for the license to be installed on the account!

  11. Navigate to Admin -> Users -> Active Users and change all active license from E3 to “Microsoft Office 365 E1 Plan”.

  12. Navigate to Admin -> Billing -> Subscriptions and CANCEL the "Office 365 Nonprofit E3 Trial”.


And that’s it! Your nonprofit is now on the donated Office 365 Enterprise E1 plan for Nonprofits.

7. My organization is already using Office 365 - can we access the nonprofit pricing?

If your organization is on a commercial subscription, you will need to go through a validation process to find out if you qualify for Office 365 for Nonprofits. To start your validation process, follow the steps outlined in question #4: “Is my organization eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits?

If your organization is on a nonprofit pilot subscription, you can call Microsoft's customer service line ( 1-877-568-2495) to have your subscription adjusted.

8. Does this impact the existing Microsoft software donations program at TechSoup Canada?

Nope! The Microsoft software donations program has not changed, nor has your cycle or allotment. If your organization is eligible for Microsoft, you can continue requesting Microsoft donations as before. See our Microsoft FAQ to learn more about how the program works.

9. What is the status of my Office 365 application?

Please direct any questions about the status of your application, as well as other information about the Office 365 for Nonprofits program, directly to Microsoft.

Comments

O365 and Azure hosted on Canadian datacentres

Are the Microsoft cloud services hosted on Canadian datacentres ?

RE: O365 and Azure hosted on Canadian datacentres

Hi there,

Thanks for commenting!

Microsoft does indeed have datacenters on Canadian soil, however, you have to specifically request access to them to ensure your data doesn't end up in the US.

Hope this helps!

Matt, Communications Coordinator

Never received confirmation

I have twice tried to register for Office 365 for Non-Profits using my Techsoup validation token. In each case, the trials expired without any confirmation from Microsoft accepting our NP status. In each case, I have attempted to follow up with MS to find out why our status is never validated, and Microsoft has never adequately responded or followed up.
When I go to "Purchase services" in the Office 365 admin, there are no licensing options available to my organization at all!
I'm posting here because I have yet to receive any kind of useful assistance from Microsoft despite numerous phone calls and emails.
Our non-profit status was validated by Techsoup months ago and I was able to retrieve my validation token without any issue, and yet my organization is prevented from using Office 365 for some mysterious reason that I cannot seem to find out.
Is there anyway for Techsoup to intervene or find out what's going on on our behalf?
Thanks,
Rob Costain
LEARN

RE: Never received confirmation

Hi Rob,

Sorry for the late reply here, and sorry to hear you're having issues with Microsoft.

It sounds like this would be best handled by our customer service team, so email or call in today.

e: customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca
t: 1-855-281-5499 (toll free),10am - 4pm EST Monday - Thursday

Hope this helps!

Matt, Communications Coordinator

Approval

Hi!

How will I know if my agency has been approved the Non-Profit rates of Office 365? There is only 11 days left of my trail and I have not hear anything.

Thanks,
Mary

RE: Approval

Hi there,

Thanks for reaching out!

Do you have the donated E1 licences in your admin panel with Office 365? If you do, that means you're eligible and can switch to the Nonprofit version right away!

If you don't see those E1 licences, you need to contact Microsoft customer support: https://products.office.com/en-ca/business/office-365-for-business-support-options

If you have further questions or concerns, our customer service team may be able to help.

e: customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca
t: 1-855-281-5499 (toll free)
10am - 4pm EST Monday - Thursday

Hope this helps!

- Matt, Communications Coordinator

Office 360

I would be interested in 50 user how do I go about this?

RE: Office 360

Hi there,

The answer depends on the nature of your organization, so I would contact our customer service team and they can help you out!

e: customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca
t: 1-855-281-5499 (toll free)
10am - 4pm EST Monday - Thursday

Sorry for the late response, but thank you for reaching out.

Matt, Communications Coordinator

Staff Stations

Can we use office 365 or office 2016 on our staff stations? I am with a Public Library Region.

RE: Staff Stations

Hi Mel,

Yes, you can use Office 2016 and Office 365 for staff!

If you have any further questions, you'll get a quicker response contacting our customer service team.

e: customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca

t: 1-855-281-5499 (toll free)
10am - 4pm EST Monday - Thursday

Hope this helps! Thanks for reaching out.

Matt, Communications Coordinator

Office 365 for nonprofits E3 trial ending February 2016

We want to purchase 10 subscriptions, and eventually need another 300, but we are still on the trial testing right now.
Can we use the trial we setup and just "activate" it or do we need to setup the Office 365 for nonprofits E3 again?

Ken
MIS

RE: Office 365 for nonprofits E3 trial ending February 2016

Hi Ken,

Thanks for reaching out!

I'm assuming you setup an E3 trial, in which case Microsoft will email you confirming you are approved for Office 365 for Nonprofits E3. This confirmation will look like the screen shot here:

https://www.techsoupcanada.ca/en/community/blog/office-365-for-nonprofits-is-now-available#E1

Once you're approved and have the full program, you can add and subtract unlimited numbers of licences from your account!

If you run into any other problems here, feel free to email customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca with any questions or concerns.

Hope this helps Ken!

- Matt, Communications Coordinator

Difference in Business essentials and non-profit version

When I search what is included in 365 Business Essentials, it includes 1TB of storage. Now that we've been approved by Microsoft and I am purchasing services in the Admin Centre, I see that the 365 Business Essentials for Nonprofits does not include the One Drive symbol in its list under "Plan Includes". Does this mean we won't have access to that storage in this nonprofit plan?
Thanks, Chris.

Microsoft Support

Hi Chris,

Sorry for the delayed response! Our Microsoft donations are actually handled by Microsoft themselves, so unfortunately we can't provide support on this issue.

However, you can log in to your Microsoft account and create a support ticket and have your problem addressed directly by them.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/assistedsupportproducts

Hope this helps! Thank you for reaching out.

Sincerely,

Matt, Communications Coordinator

Office 365 Non Profit Pricing

Hi,
I would like a quote for 18 licences for Office 365 please.

Thanks,
ROse

casacciar@cmhapeel.ca

E1 Licenses are free

My apologies for the delayed response! To answer your question, 18 licenses for the E1 plan is free (the donated E1 plan includes unlimited licenses), and if you want to go with the E3 plan, then it's ~$94 CAD per month.

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us at customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca.

Thanks!
Joyce Hsu, Communications Lead

Google Apps and Office 365

Hi, We are already using Google Apps for Work. Can we still apply for Office 365 and use the cloud software, like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher and OneNote? Does Office 365 OneDrive comes with 1 TB of free storage? Thanks for your help. Syncia

Short Answer: Yes!

Yes, you can apply for Office 365 and still use Google Apps for Work (which btw, is free through Google for Nonprofits: techsoupcanada.ca/support/google). However, keep in mind that you can only use one domain for hosting your emails (i.e., either your email is hosted on Google via Gmail or Office 365 via Outlook).

And Office 365 does indeed come with the 1 TB of free OneDrive storage :) Hope this helps!

Cheers,
Joyce Hsu, Communications Lead

exchange and Lync

Hello, We already have all the desktop versions of office that we need. What we are looking for is to add the online exchange and Lync. Is that the $5.20 per user option? And is Lync even available through TechSoup?

Hi, It sounds like the E1

Hi,

It sounds like the E1 plan might suit your needs, since you already have the Office software, which is completely free. You can find more info here

Lync Server and CALs are also available through TechSoup Canada, but presumably you would be going the online route through O365. We also have the Lync Desktop connectors that work with either the server or online versions of Lync. 

Tierney Smith

Program Manager, TechSoup Canada

Mixed of E1 and E3 possible?

Is it possible to mix E1 and E3 non-profit subscriptions? We have a management team that would require E3, but a large group of field workers that E1 would be just fine for.

E1 & E3 Can Be Combined

I have managed IT for organisations that combine both licensing models. Once you are approved for the free E1 licenses, you can add any additional services/licenses needed through the Admin portal. The additional licenses are charged monthly to your credit card and can be [re]assigned to any user at will - just [un]check the features you want each user to access.

My understanding is that you

My understanding is that you have to go with either E1 or E3, and that you can't mix and match. However you'd have to check with Microsoft to be sure.

Tierney

Waiting for account to be verified - about to run out

Green Communities has the trial Office 365 for nonprofits but still waiting for it to be verified? if it runs out, do we have to start over? we have jumped through all the hoops with the domain... any suggestions? Bruce @ GreenIT / GCC

Hi Bruce, The best way to

Hi Bruce,

The best way to check your status is always to contact Microsoft as they will be able to see the status of your application.

Tierney

Office 365

Hi I logged in and registered for trial (30 day), and it expired but I did not get any message for the approval of non-profit pricing. Could you please let me know if our organization is eligible for non-profit pricing. Please email me with the details at info@asaap.ca Warm regards Ranjani

We'll connect with you via email

Hi Ranjani,

I'll be in touch with you via email.

- Joyce Hsu
Communications Coordinator
TechSoup Canada

Office 365 without using Email Function

I would like to use Office 365's IM, Sharepoint and web conferencing function, but I would like to keep our Email in house for now. Is it possible to sign up for Office 365 but don't use its Email function? Eric

Yes!

Hi Eric,

Sorry for my late reply! You can certainly choose to leave your email inhouse for now and only take advantage of certain Office 365 programs. You don't have to use all the features they have available, but it's always good to know you have options :) Hope this helps!

- Joyce Hsu
Communications Coordinator
TechSoup Canada

Confused when applying for Office 365 - E1

Hello, friend! When you access the Microsoft website, after following TechSoup instructions, to register for Office 365 as a donation: http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/non-profit/compare-office-365-for-nonprofits-plans-FX104081605.aspx you have no other choice than to apply to the E3 plan while I'm interested in the E1 plan. Since your instructions shows IN RED SQUARE the button to click on (the only Apply button available, that is for the E3 plan), I thought I would be able, further in the registration process, to specify that it is for E1 that I'm applying, but still, the E-Mail Microsoft sends me shows the following: Office 365 Enterprise E3 for Nonprofits Trial Trial Start Date: 2013-11-04 Trial End Date: 2013-12-03 QUESTION: Am I on the E1 plan or on the E3 plan? Or maybe will I be on the E3 plan for one month, and then downgraded to the E1 plan? This is not clear ... :-( Thanks, Techsoup, for the great info your are providing. -- Jean.

I don't blame you, the process can be confusing :)

Hi Jean,

The process of signing up for the E1 plan can be confusing mainly because we (and Microsoft) need time to verify if an organization is indeed eligible for the donated plan. 

Office 365 eligibility requirements are the same as our Microsoft Software Donations: https://www.techsoupcanada.ca/en/microsoft/support/eligibility. In your case, you qualify for the donated plan so you can easily transition to E1 from E3 (which you are currently on).

I also recommend creating reminders in your calendar around November 18-25 (close to the end of your E3 trial's expiry date), so you can give yourself plenty of time to switch to E1.

Hope this helps! 

Joyce Hsu
Communications Coordinator
TechSoup Canada 

Office 365 for Non-Profits vs Office 365 P1 plan

Our foundation ( 9 decentralized users) have been using Office 365 for Small Businesses P1 for almost a year on a commercial basis not knowing about Office 365 for Non-Profits. One of our IT challenges is that among the nine users, no two are exactly the same in terms of PC vs Mac, version of Windows, version of Office on their respective desktops etc etc. I have been evaluating the benefits of up-scaling to the P2 level as it includes the access to the latest full desktop Office Suite (either PC or Mac) and therefore all of us could at least be on the same generation of Office software. However I have just now discovered both Office 365 for Non-Profits, and TechSoup Canada and I have a dilemma. I have not been able to find a clear comparison between what comes with the Non-Profit version of Office 365 vs the commercial P1 plan for Small Business, let alone how the upgraded P2 version compares. Help? Terry Bolton

Another option for you

This may be too late, but here's what I learned from Microsoft this past summer...

The Px plans and the Ex plans are configured differently on Microsoft's servers.  If you use a Px plan, you have to use Microsoft's DNS servers.  The Ex plans don't require that.

Also, if you're on a Px plan and grow past 25 users/mailboxes, you will need to go through an Exchange migration project.  It's not as simple as just changing the licensing, and having Microsoft do it.  With the Ex plans, you can continue to add people as needed.

It looks like you could get the E1 plan for $0, and add the Office 365 Pro Plus for $2/user. 

Hi Terry, Great questions!

Hi Terry,

Great questions! A few things:

1) The nonprofit and commercial offerings are the exactly same product. "Office 365 for Nonprofits" is simply a donation/discount of the commercial offering. 

2) Here is our comparison of P1 vs P2... this may be too high level for where you are at but I hope it helps (you will need to scroll down to the bottom to see the chart): https://www.techsoupcanada.ca/en/learning_centre/articles/are-you-ready-for-microsoft-office-365-for-nonprofits

3) P1 and P2 donations/discounts for nonprofits are in the works but actually not currently available as of the writing of this post. They are expected to be coming soon but I do not have any details on the exact dates.

Hope this helps,

Tierney

Community Engagement Manager, TechSoup Canada

Office 365 Eligibility

Do you have any information on how eligibility is determined for Office 365? I'm just wondering in terms of what information we would need and how long it would take etc. Nathaniel Rand Bedford Baptist Church

Office 365 Eligibility

Hi Nathaniel,

Microsoft's eligibility information is available on their website here: http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/nonprofits/whos-eligible/. Also, Office 365 for Nonprofits is part of Microsoft's recent expansion of eligibility to faith-based organizations: https://www.techsoupcanada.ca/en/community/blog/microsoft-expands-eligibility-for-faith-based-organizations-and-hospices

The process of determining eligibility for Office 365 will be similar to the qualification process for our donations program in terms of what documentation is needed (it's a bit different for charities vs. nonprofits). Here's some more info on this: https://www.techsoupcanada.ca/en/support/how-to-register

In terms of timelines, to be honest it's very early days yet so we're still figuring that out. I'd like to say 1-2 weeks but I would allow for longer since this is such a new program.

I hope that helps! If you have any further questions, feel free to let me know or contact us directly (https://www.techsoupcanada.ca/en/about/contact).

Thanks,

Tierney

Community Engagement Manager, TechSoup Canada

Sport Organisations

This is great as it's a product I've considered trying but looking at the eligibility requirements it appears that we may be ineligible. "Fund-raising events such as luncheons, dinners, walks, runs, or sports tournaments;" I think it's the last 2 words that disqualified us from MS products through Techsoup until they changed their requirements about 2 years ago as we're a sport organisation. They also currently require participants to be charities, though, I think in the USA that is the equivalent to a non-profit in Canada. So I'm curious, do you think The OSA would be eligible? Tom

Sports eligibility

Hi Tom,

The requirements change that happened 2 years ago to open to sports organizations still stand, and also apply to Office 365. I can't say anything about your eligibility specifically - you would need to sign up for the free trial and go through the validation process to confirm anything for your organization. But the eligibility for our Microsoft donations program and Office 365 are basically the same.

Also, re. being "recognized as a charitable organization in your country": in Canada that covers both charities and nonprofits (for the Microsoft program, anyway). 

Hope that helps!

Tierney

Community Engagement Manager, TechSoup Canada

We've been using Office 365 since Beta.

We love the service and would love it more if we could reduce our costs by moving to the non profit program. I cannot however find a way to see if we can apply for it without going through a new trial account.. does anyone know what process would be best to take to try to get this transferred from an existing account?

Switching to Office 365 for Nonprofits

Hi Keven,

Great question! We had a few inquiries about this so we got clarification and have updated the blog post.

In your case, it sounds like you're on the commercial subscription. In order to switch to the nonprofit pricing you do have to go through a validation process, and the only way to do that is to sign up for the free trial on Microsoft's site. The good news is that the Office 365 for Nonprofits eligibility is almost identical to the Microsoft software donations program eligibility, so if you qualify for the one you'll likely qualify for the other.

Hope that helps; let me know if you have any more questions or if you get more insight on this process by going through it that we can share with others in your position.

Tierney

Community Engagement Manager, TechSoup Canada

Randy Thornhill

Hello Samantha; Does software assurance entitle us to access Office 365 or is it seperate from installed products. Thanks. Randy

Software assurance

Hi Randy,

Software assurance is for installed products only, donated through the Microsoft software donations program at TechSoup Canada. It does not give you access to Office 365.

Hope that helps!

Tierney

Office 365 Subscription Application

We are already approved for Microsoft products and are on a trial version of Office 365 E3 plan (through Microsoft).

We would like to know pricing on the E3 and E1 plans. I am not sure if the pricing is on your website but I could not find it. If you need any further information, please let me know.

Regards,

Samantha Williams

The Center for Epilepsy and Seizure Education

604.853.7399

Office 365 Pricing

Hi Samantha,

Great to hear that you are already trying out Office 365 - definitely stay in touch and let us know how that goes!

In terms of pricing, Microsoft is running this program directly which is why you can't find it on our site. They have pricing info here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/non-profit/compare-office-365-for-nonprofits-plans-FX104081605.aspx

Tierney

Office 365

Hello There,

We are contacting you again regarding this program. We do not want to replace our organizations existing products until we know what pricing bracket we'll end up in. We are a very small organization and the $4.50 per month is not viable for us.

Would you be able to advise us?

Thanks

No need to replace your products!

Hi Mae,

The $4.50/user is for the E3 plan. In your case, I would recommend that you start on the E1 plan (completely free) and link your existing Office products to your free E1 Office 365 plan.

If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at customerservice@techsoupcanada.ca.

Hope this helps!
Joyce Hsu, Communications Lead