Office 365 for Non-profit Organizations

Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud version of the venerable Office suite of programs. Instead of installing Office on your computer, you use a web browser to access the programs. Your data is stored either in the cloud via Skydrive or on your local machine.

According to Microsoft the main advantages for users are:

  • not worrying about updates,
  • not having to install Office on each computer,
  • eliminating the possibility of having users with different, maybe incompatible, versions of Office,
  • ability to use Office from anywhere with an internet connection (think tablet users),
  • potential for world-wide group collaboration on documents,
  • not having to worry about security (if you trust the ‘cloud’), and
  • not having to purchase an Office license for each computer.

Instead of purchasing a license for each computer, an organization subscribes to Office 365 much like you would subscribe to a magazine: $ per user per month. The advantage to Microsoft is that it receives a more consistent stream of revenue.  Face it – even though a user may be completely satisfied, Microsoft is not making a dime from someone using Office 97 on a Windows XP machine.

Realizing that non-profit organizations may have very tight budget constraints, Microsoft has announced that qualifying non-profits can receive the basic E1 version of Office 365 for free through its software donation program. Groups that need a little more ‘muscle’ for their applications can obtain the E3 version for $4.50 per user per month rather than the regular price of $20.00 per user per month.

This is the link to the official Microsoft press release.

You can find more information about what is included with Office 365 for non-profit organizations here.