Not-for-profit organizations frequently contend with the lack of time and money needed to afford large IT investments that are critical for achieving efficiency in their operations. The few organizations that somehow manage to afford these technologies constantly have to deal with scarce resources and manpower needed to manage the technology.
There is another glaring problem within the nonprofit environment: the staff, Board members, and volunteers are often spread across several locations. Further, their rampant use of different devices and operating system (OS) versions tend to result in difficulties accessing the organizations’ latest files.
Microsoft Office 365 – addressing the challenges nonprofits face
Office 365 is Microsoft’s global offering designed to provide eligible users with access to the company’s top-of-the-line cloud-based tools for collaboration and productivity. The service is complete with web conferencing and high definition (HD) video, calendars, business class email, online Microsoft office suite, as well as file storage and sharing.
While Microsoft has a provision to offer these services to eligible, qualified nonprofits as a donation, the organization can purchase important additional functionalities at a small fee.
Beside the rich apps connected to the Microsoft Cloud always being up-to-date, they are available for users on a 24/7 basis.
If these are not reasons enough for you to jump aboard the Office 365 bandwagon, then read along to find out further why your nonprofit should invest in Microsoft Office 365.
Voice and web conferencing allows for easy collaboration
Successful running of any nonprofit heavily depends on the quality of collaboration between its members. Among the suite of tools that come with Microsoft Office 365 is the Microsoft Skype for Business, an all-in-one tool for web conferencing, video calls, voice calls, and instant messaging.
The HD video conferencing capability means that nonprofit teams can meet and collaborate with each other regardless of where they are located. Out-of-office personnel and volunteers can remotely share data and influence timely decision making.
You’ll also like to know that Skype for Business has a note-taking feature that works in real time. This can allow you to keep track of notes and new ideas from every meeting.
Social networking is easier with Office 365
Every Microsoft Office 365 Nonprofit plan comes with the tech giant’s internal social network, Yammer – designed for organizations like your own.
With your own Yammer site, it is easier than ever to bring teams together regardless of where they are located across the globe.
Yammer allows the organization’s internal staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders to connect, share, and collaborate seamlessly at all times.
Teams can edit and share documents on the go
Microsoft Office 365 also includes Microsoft’s cloud-based file-sharing tool SharePoint Online. With this advanced file sharing tool, teams can easily edit and share documents with one another, even on their mobile devices. Many users love the fact that they can actually edit documents simultaneously with colleagues on this cloud-based platform – effectively saving time and the possible confusion associated with back and forth emailing of documents.
There is simply so much you can accomplish with your documents in the cloud. Your board reports will be available in the cloud and you can share them remotely or access them, along with grant applications and other equally essential documents anywhere, at any time.
Microsoft’s online office suite, Office Online, also allows you to create and edit files using lightweight Microsoft Office web apps including Word, Excel, OneNote, and PowerPoint. So, your team will have the liberty to open, view, and edit various document forms right from their browsers, both on iOS and Android devices.
The staff and volunteers can use Microsoft Office 365 to open, view, and edit practically any document on up to five of their devices. This empowers them with the flexibility to work anywhere anytime.
There is guarantee of security and compliance
Data security is one of the greatest concerns to any nonprofit organization. Nonprofits also have to comply with applicable privacy and compliance laws. The good news is, Microsoft’s Office 365 is engineered to the highest level of privacy and security standards.
The service has built-in malware protection to safeguard your data in the cloud. As such, your nonprofit organization can have peace of mind storing its data in the cloud and sharing even the most sensitive information without running the risk of noncompliance with data protection requirements.
Nonprofit organizations enjoy 24/7 support
Office 365 offers the luxury of 24/7 professional-level customer support so you won’t need any IT staff to stay on call. The level of support your nonprofit organization gets depends on your organization’s Office 365 Nonprofit plan.
Technology-related problems can create indecisiveness and slow down efforts in the nonprofit environment, eventually taking a toll on important mission activities. This can hurt productivity overall. With its full capabilities as an installed software, as well as its cloud accessibility that ensures collaboration both online and offline, Microsoft Office 365 is an excellent tool for every nonprofit organization that wishes to achieve maximum efficiency.
Published on 6th June 2018 by Ian Brady.