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:
- Is Office 365 Nonprofit right for my organization?
- What is the difference between Business and Enterprise?
- What programs are included in Office 365 Nonprofit?
- Is my organization eligible for Office 365 Nonprofit?
- How does my organization access Office 365 Nonprofit?
- How do I switch to Office 365's donated/free plan(s)?
- My organization is already using Office 365 - can we access the nonprofit pricing?
- Does this impact the existing Microsoft software donations program at TechSoup Canada?
- What is the status of my Office 365 application?
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.
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.
The free donated Office 365 Nonprofit plans, Business Essentials and E1, include Office web apps, Outlook web app, OneDrive and Sharepoint.
The discounted Office 365 Nonprofit plans, Business Premium, E3 and E5 plans, include Office web apps, Outlook web app, Office for mobile devices, OneDrive, Sharepoint, Skype for Business (only in E5) and allows users to download and install Office Suite desktop applications on their devices.
For a full list of features, see Microsoft’s Office 365 Nonprofit website for more details.
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.).
If you are currently a member of TechSoup Canada,
- You'll need to start a free trial of Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium or Nonprofit E3 (Note: You can switch to the donated Nonprofit E1 or Business Essentials plans later!).
To start the trial, you'll need to click on "Get Started" on the Office 365 Nonprofit plans and pricing page.
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.
- Follow the steps and instructions, including copying and pasting your validation token (outlined in question #4: Is my organization eligible for Office 365 Nonprofit?)
- 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.
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:
- Login to Office 365 and click on the Admin icon.
- On the left hand menu, look for Purchase Services and click on it.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page, look for Office 365 Nonprofit E1, and click “Buy Now".
- Select number of user licenses (choose more than you’ll use), and click “Check out now”.
- Click “Check out” ...
- Click “Check out” again!
- Click “Next”.
- Click the checkbox, read the corresponding agreement, enter your name as it's displayed above, and click “Next”.
- Click “Continue”.
- Wait up to 30 minutes for the license to be installed on the account!
- Navigate to Admin -> Users -> Active Users and change all active license from E3 to “Microsoft Office 365 E1 Plan”.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.