Microsoft Cloud Resources for Non-Profits are Making a Difference

Technology has enabled companies in every industry to simply do more with less. That has been great news for businesses everywhere with perhaps one exception, non-profit organizations. What is ironic but hardly funny about that is this, of all the companies and organizations that could most benefit from being able to do more with less, non-profits most certainly head the list.

There are some apparent reasons for that but all of those reasons may soon be a distant memory. One article (regarding NGOs specifically) said this:

“…Office 365 has caught up with their need for a reliable, consistent, high performance set of productivity and communication tools.”

Cost, resources and capabilities were the most vile culprits preventing non-profits from integrating such proven and effective tools such as Office 365 into their operations. For anyone questioning Microsoft’s sincerity or commitment to the non-profit community, Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella announced a $1 billion dollar donation of Cloud Services.

Nadella was later quoted in that article saying, “Microsoft is empowering mission-driven organizations around the planet…more than 70,000 organizations will have access to technology that will help them solve our greatest societal challenges and ultimately improve the human condition… .”

Yes, Microsoft is sincere, committed and invested in lending a hand and doing their fair share to support non-profits.

The Azure Answer

Non-profits come in every shape and size, like the communities and countries they serve. Larger non-profit organizations require different tools and methods opposed to smaller local non-profits. Accessing services at manageable rates (think “non-profit budget here) was only one hurdle. Obtaining services suitable and effective for various organizations from the smallest to the largest was another issue. Microsoft provided an answer for that dilemma with Azure.

Azure is essentially a portal that avails an integrated suite of cloud services ranging from networking to storage and basically everything in between. Utilizing these services non-profits will be able to make more informed decisions, gain valuable insights and maintain the highest levels of security. These are a few of the key features that afford these advantages:

  • Big Data and Analytics: Large non-profits and big operations require big data and analytics. The larger the scale the greater the need to be aware of all pertinent data. That also requires being able to digest and analyze the information in meaningful ways. Azure opens the door to these capabilities.
  • Disaster Recovery: Any size operation should have a recovery plan in place. Once again this is a particularly vital need for those big non-profits with potentially massive amounts of personal, financial and business information to protect.
  • Web and Mobile Apps: Big or small no business, organization or non-profit will find the highest level of success without being connected. Online, social media savvy, mobile and on the go define the world today. This is where non-profits must be to succeed. Azure helps non-profits get “out there” by enabling access to powerful Web tools and mobile apps.
  • Microservice Applications: Small non-profits that are growing, medium-sized non-profits getting ready to take the next step and large non-profits who are ever-growing will all benefit from Microservice applications. This attribute of Azure will equip non-profits to scale and deliver applications faster to meet the changes of your business.

Of course one of the greatest benefits will be the access and use of Microsoft’s coveted Office 365…

The Office 365 Solution

Literally from a team of one to ten thousand Office 365 will improve your office, your efficiency, your operations and make your non-profit better. Some of you reading this wouldn’t be able to function without programs like Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. Imagine trying to run an office without these programs. This software and these programs have now become  standard tools in offices all over the world.

With Azure and Office 365 non-profits can now work as efficiently, effectively and be as productive as any business anywhere. The cost concern has been resolved, the need for resources has been met and the capabilities are now endless. Microsoft Cloud Resources for Non-Profits are making a difference in powerful and meaningful ways. These are some of the key features of Office 365 that will improve the operations of any non-profit:

  • Document Sharing: A foundation of any seamless, efficient and connected organization is file sharing. This is afforded through Office 365 in addition to features like being able to edit multiple documents simultaneously.
  • Hosted Email: Microsoft Exchange, a part of every Office package, delivers many options for hosting email. Up to 25GB of mailbox storage and accessible via PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone this is an ideal forum for in-house business communications for non-profits.
  • Social Networking: If you aren’t familiar with Yammer, you need to get familiar. This internal social network designed for organizations will help members connect and make it easier to collaborate with partners and share valuable information. This option is standard to every Office 365 package.

The qualifications for non-profits to be eligible are straightforward and simple; Office 365 also has a range of packages from zero expense (there are two “donated” Office 365 packages) to drastically reduced rates for more extensive packages.

Non-Profit Eligibility

NGOs and non-profits who have obtained 501(c)(3) status according to the Internal Revenue Code of the United States are initially eligible. (In some instances Public Libraries may also obtain eligibility).

The next requirement is to verify that the organization is working a; on a not-for-profit basis and b; have declared a mission to assist local communities. Such examples of these missions may be:

– Bettering social welfare

– Delivering relief to the poor

– Human Rights promotion

– Environmental causes

The last requirement to determine eligibility is validating a non-discriminatory policy. That applies to pay rates, opportunities and hiring policies. Once eligibility is approved non-profit businesses can take advantage of donated services and more elaborate packages at greatly reduced rates…

Pricing for Non-Profits

Ask anyone who has ever run a non-profit office, the word free is music to the ears! From furniture to office equipment and volunteers free is a large part of how non-profits make magic happen for so many. So being able to get Azure and Office 365 as a donated service must be quite the tune.

Azure grants eligible non-profits $5,000 free to use toward any of the services Azure provides. Office 365 has 5 packages they offer to non-profits, two of those are absolutely free. The savings available to non-profits combined with the benefits of these services are too impressive to be ignored.

Getting Involved

If your non-profit would like to take advantage of these tools or would like to get more information about these programs then contact us. Obviously for any eligible non-profit, opportunities like these demand attention and consideration. Running your non-profit office and operating your business like the Fortune 500’s of the world would allow you to do how much more?

Hats off to Microsoft for such generous gifts and the utmost of admiration and respect for the work your non-profit does and continues to do. With these tools and resources perhaps we really can change the world and make it a better place.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you  can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

– John Wesley

That is the goal of non-profits and those goals have become just a little easier to reach now.

 

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About the Author

Jeff Collins

Experience and Expertise make the difference when searching for top cloud providers. Appliedi has provided managed cloud services since 1999.