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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 September 2017 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 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. Does this impact the existing Microsoft software donations program at TechSoup Canada?
  8. 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. Which Office 365 plan should I choose?

Office 365 Nonprofit offers several different plans with different costs and features. Plans range from accommodating up to 300 users while others support unlimited users.

For a detailed comparison between Office 365 Nonprofit plans, see Microsoft's Office 365 Nonprofit website for more details.

3. What programs are included in Office 365 Nonprofit?

All Office 365 Nonprofit plans include include Office web apps, Outlook web app, and services such as OneDrive and Sharepoint. Some Office 365 Nonprofit plans also allow 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.

4. Is my organization eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits?

To be eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits, you must meet all three of Microsoft’s eligibility criteria:

  1. Hold recognized, legal nonprofit status as defined in Canada.
    Canadian Charities registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Canadian Federal Non-profits registered with Industry Canada, or Canadian Provincial Non-profits registered with their corresponding provinces or territories. 
  2. Meet Microsoft’s criteria for eligible organization activities.
    To see the full list of ineligible organizations, please see Microsoft’s eligibility guidelines.
  3. Attest to Microsoft's anti-discrimination policy.

5. How does my organization access Office 365 Nonprofit?

To get access to Office 365, you’ll need to register with Microsoft Philanthropies and have your account validated by TechSoup Canada:

  1. Go to Microsoft Philanthropies’ Nonprofit Portal page, select ‘Canada’, and click ‘Continue’.

    Screenshot: Welcome screen

  2. Review Microsoft’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, and if you agree, click ‘Continue’.

    Screenshot: Anti-Discrimination Policy

  3. Fill in your organization’s information, and click ‘Next’.

    Screenshot: About your org

  4. Enter your organization’s address, and click ‘Next’.

    Screenshot: Org Address

  5. Select your registration type and enter the legal identifier for that type (i.e. if you select “charity number”, then your legal identifier will look something like this: 123456789RR0001). Once you’ve added your registration type, click ‘Next’.

    Screenshot: Registration type

  6. Create your Microsoft Nonprofit Portal account. This is used to access Microsoft Cloud Donations, such as Office 365 Nonprofits. You can also use this account to check the status of your Office 365 application.
    Screenshot: Create MS Nonprofit Portal Account
  7. Create your user ID. This will be used to sign into your Office 365 account. If your organization has its own custom domain that you want to use instead of the default, you can change this later in Office 365 Admin Portal.

    NOTE: The checkbox “Microsoft Partners may contact me with information about their products, services and events” is us :) ! Use this checkbox to opt into updates from TechSoup Canada, including the Microsoft Software Donations program.

    Screenshot: Create User ID

  8. Once you create your account, you’ll need to complete a CAPTCHA to verify that you are indeed, human.

    Screenshot: CAPTCHA

  9. And that’s it! Now all you need to do is wait to receive an email from Microsoft with your eligibility results. If you are eligible, the email will include a link to the Microsoft Nonprofit Portal to review the nonprofit offers.

Please note that the validation process can take up to 20 business days after submitting your application. While you wait for eligibility validation, you can view your application status by logging into your Microsoft Nonprofit Portal account. If you have questions throughout this process, please contact Microsoft Philanthropies directly.

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

Once you receive your email approval from Microsoft,

You'll need to:
  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. 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.

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

To view your Office 365 application status, log into your Microsoft Nonprofit Portal account. If you have questions about your application or the Office 365 Nonprofit process, please contact Microsoft Philanthropies directly.


office 365 sub

im having trouble getting this subscription.

is there a way to do this with a new product key number??

Contact us please!

Hi there!
Thanks for your message and sorry to learn that you're having trouble getting the subscription! Please contact us at 1.855.281.5499 (toll free) (Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10am-4pm, EST) and one of our Account Managers will be happy to help! Also, you can email us at customerservice[at]
Take care,Yasmine, Communications Coordinator

office 365 renewal

We are currently running Office 365 on 5 computers in our office - the program was donated by Microsoft and expires on August 6th. Are we eligible for a free renewal?


The Caring Place
2146 Robinson Street
S4S 6R2

Contact Microsoft Philanthropies directly!

Hi there,
For renewals, you would need to contact Microsoft Philathropies  directly, and they can review your account and advise on you the next steps. 
Take care!
Yasmine, Communications Coordinator

achat office


Nous souhaiterions faire l'achat du pack office pour notre organisme, mais cela indique que nous ne sommes pas éligible, est ce la cas pour tout les packs office?

Comment pouvons nous faire pour l'acheter?

Merci beaucoup.


Pour répondre à votre question, vous pouvez nous rejoindre par courriel en tout temps à, ou au téléphone entre 10h et 16h (heure de l’est) du lundi au jeudi au 1-855-281-5499. Notre représentant francophone vous aidera à trouver l'information dont vous avez besoin.
Yasmine, Communications Coordinator

Significant changes to Microsoft's site and services

There have been enough significant changes to microsoft's site that this page needs a rewrite. I have no idea of what to choose on the office plans page that is equal to the Office 365 Non Profit E1.

Contact us please!

Hi there!
We agree, there have been many significant changes, so we’d love to chat wtih you to discuss what your options with Mircrosoft products would be. So please contact us at 1.855.281.5499 (toll free) (Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10am-4pm, EST) and one of our Account Managers will be happy to help!
Take care,


Do we get a reminder or do I pay the yearly subscription online and it gets added onto the 2017 subscription?

365 charity

To Whom it May Concern
I will like to register for 365 E1 for Charity
Aldwin Ragoonath


I will like apply for 365 charity, move from trial to month to month service
Aldwin Ragoonath

Great! Please contact our

Great! Please contact our customer service department to talk through registration and eligibility.

1.855.281.5499 (toll free)

Ben Losman
TechSoup Canada
Communications Coordinator

Office and google

We recently qualified for google for non profit and have been using it for our organization. However, Staff have run into functionality issues and have asked about using MS products.
I looked on Techsoup in our account and found Office Professional Plus and it allows me to add it to the cart for purchase. However, I am wondering if the Office 365 also allows for the download of the office products for use locally and if that would be our better option. Right now I am trying to determine if we should switch completely to the Office 365 for non profit if we are eligible to save the headaches of utilizing both if the office 365 also allows for local installs. (Basically having a program that can be used offline without an internet connection)


Hi there, Your best bet is to

Hi there,

Your best bet is to talk through your options with our customer service department. They'll be able to answer all of your questions and find the solution that best fits your organizational needs.

1.855.281.5499 (toll free)

Ben Losman
TechSoup Canada
Communications Coordinator

Microsoft office suite

How can we get access to your office suite Thank you

Hi, Please get in touch with


Please get in touch with our customer service department -- they can help you with registration and access to our product catalog.

1.855.281.5499 (toll free)

Ben Losman
Communications coordinator, TechSoup Canada

Office 365 Exchange online


Our organization already uses Exchange online office 365. How can we update to a non profit license and can we achieve this without changing our email account?


Hello, Our customer service


Our customer service reps can help you navigate this change. Please contact them directly either via email or phone.

1.855.281.5499 (toll free)

Ben Losman
TechSoup Canada
Communications coordinator

O365 and Azure hosted on Canadian datacentres

Are the Microsoft cloud services hosted on Canadian datacentres ?

Canadian Datacentres

Keep in mind that even with MS hosting in Canada, your ISP likely will not guarantee that the data won't pass through a US based Interconnect Point en route. To ensure this you may need to seek out a 3rd party service that own their own line and can guarantee this, or if you are in a covered region, look at Azure Express Route.

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?
Rob Costain

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.

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

Hope this helps!

Matt, Communications Coordinator



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.


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:

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

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!

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.


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?


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:

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 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.

Hope this helps! Thank you for reaching out.


Matt, Communications Coordinator

Office 365 Non Profit Pricing

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


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

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: 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!

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


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.


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.


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 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


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: 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: 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