Top five things charities need to know about Microsoft Office 365

We explore what Microsoft Office 365’s productivity apps can do for charities, and the essential info they need to get started.

Chloe Green | 18th Nov 19
Microsoft Office 365 for charities Image shows someone holding a cloud with 'Microsoft' written on it

Beyond meeting their basic productivity needs, there are many benefits of Office 365 for charities looking to save money and be more efficient in their operations. The cloud-hosted version of Office includes Microsoft productivity apps such as Word, Excel and Outlook.  Here are the top five things charities need to know.


It can help charities to be more flexible

Office 365’s main advantage is that it sits in the cloud. This means that compared to traditional Office products, it offers much more flexibility. With Office 365’s paid subscription you can download apps onto five different devices per user.

Because it’s a cloud subscription service, you pay per user per month: instead of buying licenses for a device, you buy it for the users. This is useful for organisations that have different staffing levels at different times of the year or need to equip temporary staff or volunteers.

You pay only for what you need at the time and you aren’t fixed as to the specific devices you use, so people can access documents and complete work on their own devices remotely (they just need to log into your organisation’s Office 365 portal online or download the apps).

> See also: ‘Office 365 vs. Office Desktop: which is really best for your charity?’ for more on how Office 365 compares to the traditional desktop-hosted version of Microsoft Office.


It can help charities be more efficient

There’s a lot more than just Word and Excel to explore. Office 365 also comes with some great bonus apps for organisation, planning, and collaboration that are particularly worthwhile for smaller charities to get to know.

Kate White, Manager of charity tech partner Superhighways, offers some nifty efficiency hacks and explains some of the useful lesser-known tools in Office 365 that you might not know about in our video from the Charity Digital Tech Conference 2019.

Our recent webinar with Microsoft also looks at tips for charities to improve employee collaboration in the cloud through Office 365.


Charities can get access to the absolute basics for free…

It’s possible to kit your organisation out with Office 365 for free for unlimited users, depending on your needs. There is a free version of Office 365 for organisations who only need the basics, through which you can get access to the browser-only versions of all the main apps.

This may be enough if you have a decent internet connection and you only need the bare minimum such as email and word processing. However, in order to download any of the apps to your devices, get some of the features, or get access to apps like Access and Publisher, you will need to opt for the paid versions.

The browser-only version of Excel is also missing quite a few features and may find it lacking compared to the app version.

or get an exclusive Office discount on the Charity Digital Exchange programme.

Eligible UK charities can get access to the discounted version of Office 365’s Business Premium or Nonprofit E3 (for larger organisations) by signing up to the Charity Digital Exchange platform for free. This gives them access to all the main Office apps, along with 1TB of storage in OneDrive and Sharepoint.


Charities can get support with migration and set-up

The Charity Digital Exchange team offer a Cloud Manager Service to help with implementing your charity’s new Office 365 plan, helping you take the hassle out of set up and configuration. Find out more here.

You might also want to check out our recent article ‘How to get started with Office 365 for Nonprofits’.