How to get started with Office 365 for Nonprofits

We’ve answered some of the top FAQ on getting started with an Office 365 Nonprofit subscription in this quick how-to guide.

Chloe Green | 15th May 19
Image of computer with Windows logo and text saying 'getting started'

The future of Microsoft Office is officially in the cloud. While there are still plenty of organisations doggedly hanging on to their desktop Office software, many charities are finding that the Office 365 for Nonprofit plans fit their needs a lot better than having to own and update software that will very soon stop recieving support from Microsoft (we mean as soon as next year).

In terms of convenience and efficiency across different devices Office 365 is a real game changer – we’ve listed a few of the pros and cons in our recent article. And there are some great deals on subscriptioons for eligible non-profit organisations on Charity Digital’s Charity Digital Exchange platform. But for charities that have already decided to move to the cloud for their Office apps, it can be confusing to navigate the initial set-up for organisations and users. There are some key differences in Office 365 when it comes to accessing and managing the apps.

We thought this quick guide below to getting started in Office 365 for Nonprofits would be helpful, answering some of the key FAQ. For more information on accessing and setting up Office 365 for your charity, we recommend getting in touch with the Charity Digital team.


Q: I’ve got Office 365, now what?

Now that you have Office 365 you can add users, sign up for subscriptions and start streamlining your charity’s work and processes. Your Office 365 account is managed in the Admin centre, which you can reach by clicking on the icon on the top left-hand corner, scrolling down and select Admin:

The Admin centre provides a handy snapshot of services to help you navigate and manage your organisation’s Office 365 account.

Q: How can I get staff up and running on Office 365?

To help your colleagues access Office 365, stay in the Admin centre and click on Users to expand. As your organisation grows and evolves, you can manage users, create groups for them to collaborate and keep information secure if they leave:

Q: How do I access my plans and subscriptions?

In the Admin centre, please click on Billing and then on Purchase services to see the range of subscriptions available. If you haven’t already bought a plan and are looking at which plan you would like to use, you can contact the Charity Digital Exchange team for help.

Q: I’ve added subscriptions to my account, how do I access them?

Scroll down to Billing, then click on Subscriptions. On the left-hand side, click on the active subscription that you want to assign, then select your preferred user(s).

Q: How can I use Office 365 on my mobile device?

If you have a paid Office 365 subscription you can download and access some of the Office apps on your mobile or tablet device. The apps are available on both iOS and Android devices, but just for this example we will look at downloading Word on an iPad.

First, visit the App Store on your device and search for Office 365:

  1. Select which App you wish to download (in this case Word).
  2. When downloaded you will then need to launch the App, once launched you will be prompted to sign in.
  3. On the sign in page use your Office 365 username and password to access the required programme:

Q: How do I access the apps?

Log into your Office 365 account and the online portal to access the range Office apps available in your plan, from familiar ones such as Word and Excel to newer apps such as Teams and Sway. You can use these apps in your office, home or on the go provided you are connected to the internet.

Q: How do I use the offline Office software?

Office 365 comes with both web-based and downloaded/desktop versions of the apps. To install the offline Office software on your computer, you will need to have one of the paid plans, otherwise the free version gives you browser-only versions of the apps (that you must be online to use).

To install the Office software on your computer, log into your Office 365 account and you will be viewing the Home page. Towards the right-hand side, you will see an option to install Office on up to 5 computers: