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Donated Licenses of Microsoft 365 Business Now Available: What You Need to Know

Editor's note: As of April 21, 2020, Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium. This is only a name change, with no pricing, product, or feature changes. This post has been updated to reflect this change. To learn more about other name changes to selected Microsoft products, read this blog post.

For years, TechSoup has partnered with Microsoft to provide key software solutions to nonprofits so they can better serve their communities. Recently, Microsoft announced that individual organizations may now receive up to 10 free Microsoft 365 Business Premium licenses (additional licenses can be purchased at $5.00 per user per month). This offer is tailored for the smallest nonprofits in order to provide cost-free tools for them to make an even bigger impact in the world.

It's part of the global shift toward cloud-based solutions that's underway, and in order to support the adoption of these new technologies, TechSoup and Microsoft have also partnered to launch the Microsoft Digital Skills Center for Nonprofits, which combines product content from Microsoft with TechSoup's deep understanding of how nonprofits use technology. The result? Courses that allow you to acquire the skills you need to use Microsoft 365 effectively in your organization. Learn more about our course offerings (many of which are completely free!)

Combined, these products and services can do a tremendous amount of good for nonprofits and the way they use technology. But the timing of these offers is no coincidence: In 2020, Microsoft will no longer be supporting Office 2010 or Windows 7. That means Microsoft will not provide any feature updates, support, or essential security patches for these older software suites. This can pose a serious cost and security threat to your organization, and if you use any of these on-premises Microsoft solutions, now is the time to start taking these facts into consideration.

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Microsoft 365 Business Premium allows you to upgrade your Windows OS (Windows 10 Pro) and Office suite (formerly Office 365 Business Premium) with a single license, providing you with the most up-to-date versions of each. You'll also get the added benefits of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS).

TechSoup is committed to helping nonprofits that want to transition from on-premises solutions like Office 2010, to more dynamic, secure, and collaborative cloud solutions like Microsoft 365. That's why we're offering organizations an opportunity to join a community of nonprofit users with the Microsoft Cloud Starter Kit. This kit aims to help organizations get started with their new software, get support throughout the process, and learn from and share with other nonprofits that are going through similar journeys.

First, let's review what's included in your free Microsoft 365 Business Premium license. Then we'll take a look at all the great benefits available through a subscription to the Microsoft Cloud Starter Kit and discuss why all of this is valuable for your nonprofit.

What Do I Get with a Microsoft 365 Business Premium License?

You can learn more in this article, but essentially, Microsoft 365 combines all of the key needs that your organization may have for Microsoft products into one simple bundle.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium comes with

  • Productivity Solutions to Get More Done:  You can get both online and installed versions of your favorite Office applications like PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and Access (desktop only). Microsoft 365 also inherently has feature-rich applications such as Teams for collaboration and communication, Flow and AI Builder for custom workflow creation, and cloud-hosted exchange server for email.
  • Solutions to Ease Managing Your PCs: Upgrades to Windows 10 Pro provide subscriptions to the most up-to-date Windows operating system.
  • Secure Protection for a Mobile Workforce: Enterprise Mobility + Security allows you to manage the security of your accounts, users, and devices by leveraging Azure Active Directory.

Eligible organizations can receive up to 10 donated licenses of the solution outlined above. While extremely beneficial and feature-rich, all-in-one cloud solutions like these can seem challenging to set up and optimize. This is especially true for smaller organizations that may not have dedicated IT staff. And that's precisely why we developed the Microsoft Cloud Starter Kit to ensure that nonprofits are getting all they can out of their new Microsoft cloud solutions and learning and collaborating with each other along the way.


Join a Community of Nonprofit Users with the Microsoft Cloud Starter Kit from TechSoup

There are some very real hurdles to overcome when you make the switch from on-premises to cloud-based software, including time, planning, migration, and training. But TechSoup wants to make it easy for your organization to start on your pathway to the best available technology solutions.

Subscriptions to the Microsoft Cloud Starter Kit are available for an administrative fee of $3.00 per user per month. It's perfect for organizations that are considering making the switch to Microsoft 365. It provides you with

  • Complete Microsoft 365 setup, including
    • Consultation by one of our cloud experts to help select the right licenses for you
    • Nonprofit registration and Office setup for up to 25 users in your organization (if your requirements exceed this, please contact us so we can best configure a plan to support your needs)
    • Courses for key Office applications and features, including Teams, PowerPoint, Excel, and Word
  • Ongoing support to help you access, use, and get the most out of your solutions, including
    • Unlimited calls for support, help, and questions as you navigate your new solutions
    • Sponsored community chats and events in which you'll talk to our team and to other nonprofits that are tackling similar issues
    • And more to come, including customized content, solutions, and courses around Power Applications and Power BI

Microsoft 365 is more than just a bundle of productivity apps. Once you're familiar with the basics, really exciting innovations in custom-built apps and deep data analytics become possible.

The Microsoft Cloud Starter Kit was developed through feedback that we have heard from nonprofits like yours. It's a central point of access to services that are designed to help overcome some of the initial barriers that come with implementing new technologies. It's also an active community, consisting of courses, seminars, and Q&A sessions that will help us all learn and adapt to this new global IT landscape together. At day's end, the effectiveness of a comprehensive cloud solution like Microsoft 365 is reliant on how it's implemented and the comfort levels of its users. For many organizations, this is a great way to get started on the right path.

How Microsoft 365 Can Benefit Your Organization

Beyond the fact that Microsoft will be discontinuing support for on-premises solutions like Office 2010 and Windows 7, there are a number of ways that making the switch to Microsoft 365 can benefit your nonprofit.

First, because Microsoft 365 is subscription-based, you never have to worry about updates. That means that once this software is set up, each user will automatically receive all the critical security patches and product improvements released by Microsoft, resulting in big savings on costs related to time and staffing.

Here are just a few other highlights related to Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Enterprise licenses..

Improved Security

Small businesses and nonprofits are often the most vulnerable organizations to security threats. Fifty-eight percent of breaches take place in small businesses, with an average cost of $120,000 to the organization. Security solutions featured in the Microsoft 365 Business Premium license include

  • Defense against cyber threats with Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection and Azure Multi-factor Authentication
  • Business data protection with Office 365 Data Loss Prevention
  • Device management with Microsoft Intune

IT security is more important now than ever, and especially if your organization works with sensitive user data, security should be top of mind, not a post-breach afterthought.

Increased Productivity

After they install the new Windows 10 OS, Microsoft reports that users experience

  • Boot times reduced from 3 minutes to around 30 seconds
  • A 95 percent reduction in blue screens of death
  • Stability increases on their operating systems from 91 to 916 days

The result? More time to spend delivering on your mission, instead of dealing with frustrating (and resource-draining) IT mishaps.

A Streamlined IT System for Nonprofits

Instead of purchasing your operating system separate from your productivity suite and juggling multiple software programs for collaboration, meetings, and chat, you can deploy one solution that supports all these needs. This ultimately reduces your costs and overhead, because you no longer need to maintain multiple systems and solutions.

It also consolidates a bundle of critical software needs into a single subscription. You have access to Microsoft Teams, cloud versions of all your productivity apps, and document storage, all within one suite of software. And with Microsoft 365 Business Premium or Enterprise licenses, you can download installed versions of the Office suite if you would rather work with desktop solutions or in places with limited Internet access.

Even a quick glance at some of the benefits provided by Microsoft 365 shows that there is much to learn in order to fully realize the software's full potential. Reach out to TechSoup and learn more about the Microsoft Cloud Starter Kit and join a community of nonprofit users. We'd love to help.

Either way, if you use — or plan to use — Microsoft products at your nonprofit, the new offer of 10 free Microsoft 365 Business Premium licenses is a significant development worth looking into today.