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 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)?
- 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 three discounted plans are Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium ($2.40 CAD per user per month), Office 365 Nonprofit Enterprise 3/E3 ($5.70 CAD per user per month), and Office 365 Nonprofit Enterprise 5/E5 ($12.60 CAD per user per month).
For a more detailed comparison between Business and Enterprise's free and discounted plans, see Microsoft's Office 365 Nonprofit website for more details.
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.
To be eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits, you must meet all three of Microsoft’s eligibility criteria:
- 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.
For public libraries without charitable status, you’ll only be eligible for on-premises software donations and only where such software is made accessible to the general public. Please visit the Microsoft Volume Licensing website for more information about licensing programs for public library operations.
- Operate on a not-for-profit basis and have a mission that benefits local community. To see the full list of ineligible organizations, please see Microsoft’s eligibility guidelines.
- Attest to Microsoft's anti-discrimination policy.
[TIP] If you are currently a member of TechSoup Canada, then you're eligible for Office 365 Nonprofits as well!
To get access to Office 365, you’ll need to register with Microsoft Philanthropies and have your account validated by TechSoup Canada:
- Go to Microsoft Philanthropies’ Nonprofit Portal page, select ‘Canada’, and click ‘Continue’.
- Review Microsoft’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, and if you agree, click ‘Continue’.
- Fill in your organization’s information, and click ‘Next’.
- Enter your organization’s address, and click ‘Next’.
- 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’.
- Create your Microsoft Nonprofit Portal account. This is used to access Microsoft Cloud Donations, such as Office 365 Nonprofits and Azure Web Credits. You can also use this account to check the status of your Office 365 application.
- 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 .onmicrosoft.com, 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.
- Once you create your account, you’ll need to complete a CAPTCHA to verify that you are indeed, human.
- 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.
Once you receive your 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.
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.
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.