Utilize Enterprise-grade Office 365 with best practice setup for your small Nonprofit organization

Now that you have Office 365 at Free or greatly reduced cost, it is time to setup it up in a way to get the most benefit out of it. All don’t need to be done at the same time. Change is hard. Take one at a time and as you and your staff and volunteers become comfortable try taking on the next step.

Firstly, we need to setup users and mailboxes in a way that is managed, appropriately shared and manages continuity.

Adding Users

Each user should get their own login, like firstname.lastname@organization.com. You maybe tempted to create account with the roles that people have such as president@organization.com, or secretary@organization.com since they can then handover the account when they move on. That is not the recommended approach as it removes the auditability, history and is less secure than giving each their own login.

Adding individual users is an easy task in the Office 365 admin center. The steps are detailed clearly in Microsoft’s help Add users individually or in bulk to Office 365 – Admin Help.

When complete it should look something like this:


Note the status column indicates the subscription they are assigned. Here we have most on the completely free Office 365 Enterprise E1 Nonprofits pricing subscription giving access to all Office Online (Word, Excel etc. online in the browser) which are assigned to our Executive Committee. Our staff members however, have the Office 365 Business Premium subscription at $2.80/user/month, which gives them all the online tools, and the local familiar install Office application like Word, Excel and PowerPoint on their computers (PC or Mac) and their devices (phones & tablets).

Coming Topics

  • Best Practice Email
  • Best Practice Online File Storage
  • Best Practice Team Communication

TechSoup Validation Token in Australia with Connecting Up for small Nonprofit Organizations such as Kindergartens and P&Cs

The TechSoup Validation token is required to utilize Nonprofit pricing on service like Microsoft Office 365. Connecting Up is the organization in Australia responsible for verifying eligibility and issuing token. Connecting Up provides other technology discounts and donations that are worth investigating for your organization.

Sign up with Connecting Up

  1. Go to https://www.connectingup.org/
  2. Click Sign Up at the top right
  3. Enter your details and click Create New Account
  4. Complete the Organization Registration and Qualification form
    If you are a Kindergarten or any Nonprofit registered with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC) it will just take a couple of days for your qualification to be completed. If you are a P&C or other small organization however, you need to provide more information which will be requested as below:
    Your organisation is close to completing the registration and qualification process. We simply require evidence of your organisation’s charitable or not for profit status.
    Currently we do not have any evidence of your organisation’s charitable or not-for-profit status because it is not reflected on the Australian Business Register http://abr.business.gov.au/SearchByAbn.aspx?SearchText=55781012322

    It is a core requirement for the program that organisations are income tax exempt, you must fill out and return to us a self-assessing review worksheet for income tax exempt not-for-profits, which can be downloaded here: http://www.ato.gov.au/Forms/Income-tax-status-review-worksheet-for-self-assessing-non-profit-organisations/

    NB. The tax review sheet must be signed

    1. Please also provide us with a copy of your organisation’s constitution noting its not-for-profit and/or dissolution clause. You can find out more on the ATO’s website. If you don’t have a constitution let us know and we may be able to accept other documentation.

    All documentation may be scanned then emailed to customercare@connectingup.org or send a faxed copy to 08 8311 5213.

    For a P&C you will find information on P&Cs Qld website in a document, Fact Sheet: P&C Non-Profit and Charity Status, where it states, “A P&C is considered a ‘non-profit’ organization by the Australian Taxation Office”.
    The two documents you will be required to return are the Income tax status review worksheet for self-assessing non-profit organisations and Constitution.

TechSoup Validation Tokens

  1. Once your organization is qualified login to Connecting Up, https://www.connectingup.org/user/login.
  2. Go to My Account, select TechSoup Validation Tokens
  3. Click Add New Token, fill out the form and you will have a token generated for you


Next Step: Registering Office 365 with Nonprofit pricing for small Nonprofit Organizations

Registering Office 365 with Nonprofit pricing for small Nonprofit Organizations such as Kindergartens and P&Cs in Australia

There are a few steps and parts of the process have to wait on others to be complete. It is best to have a quick review over the steps before getting started to see if you need to get some other things sorted first (like a domain name).

  1. Go to Nonprofit plans and pricing page, https://products.office.com/en-au/nonprofit/office-365-nonprofit-plans-and-pricing.
  2. Click Get Started
  3. Here you will see 4 steps. Firstly is eligibility and availability. Kindergartens & P&Cs in Australia are acceptable.
  4. Get your TechSoup Validation Token. This is a process in itself and will take a few days to acquire.
    Clicking the Register with TechSoup will take you to a page to find out who the register provider is. In Australia, it is Connecting Up.

    Side Step: Get your TechSoup Validation token small Nonprofit Organizations such as Kindergartens and P&Cs


  5. Sign In with your TechSoup Validation Token
  6. Verify the details are correct and click, Yes, this is correct. Continue to check my eligibility.
  7. Continue to configure Office 365 under the Cloud Services item
  8. Fill out the Office 365 Registration form. You’ll see that it configures it for Office 365 Enterprise E3 (Nonprofits Pricing) Trial which may not be the subscription you want, but you can change it later.
  9. Setting up Office 365

    Continue through the setup as guided and you will be taken through the wizard to verify your Nonprofits eligibility again with Microsoft. If you choose to skip the setup for later it can cause delays in the eligibility process.

    1. Firstly the anti-discrimination status
    2. Domain name. Note: If you do not have a domain name you may not need to add one. It will be required however that you raise a support request with Microsoft to validate your Nonprofit pricing eligibility. If you do not have a domain name, you can get one very easily at GoDaddy, Namecheap, Crazy Domains or many other providers.
    3. Confirm ownership of your domain name. The instruction provided my Microsoft make this task easy for the major providers. It may be intimidating at first, but you’ll find it straight forward just following the steps.
      image[123]Note: This will take a few days before eligibility is confirmed and you have the option of purchasing (free included) Nonprofit pricing subscriptions that are not trials. If it has taken a couple of weeks, raise a support request before your trial runs out so you can maintain continuity of service.

Next Step: Utilize Enterprise-grade Office 365 with best practice setup for your small Nonprofit organization

How to Set Up FREE Office 365 for small Nonprofit Organizations such as Kindergartens and P&Cs in Australia

Microsoft Office 365 is a subscription service giving you access to the Office application and productivity tools and services from Microsoft at a much lower price than buying outright, while always being up to date and containing supporting cloud services. The great news for Nonprofit Organizations is that Microsoft have a technology donation program which allows you to subscribe to Office 365 for free or at a greatly reduced price.

Unfortunately there is quite a few steps to getting this setup. I’ve split it into steps to make it easier for anyone to get started but it is recommended to have a quick review overall to know where you have days wait in between during process and what things you will need.

What is Office 365 and Nonprofit pricing?

Office 365 refers to Office applications and other productivity services that are Internet enabled via subscription plans. The image below gives quick overview of the breadth of productivity tools and services available upon logging into Office 365. Some tools will be familiar, like Word, Excel & PowerPoint, others like PowerApps, Flow and Teams are likely new to most.

Office 365 Welcome Screen

There is actually even more available than shown above like Skype for Business and this highlights on of the biggest issues getting started with Office 365 is the complete overwhelm of options available. With a little guidance however, we can start taking advantage of the offerings that you know and slowly expand as you become more comfortable. These can be rolled out to staff and volunteers to benefit the entire organization.

For Nonprofits Microsoft currently offer the following pricing, as seen at https://products.office.com/en-au/nonprofit/office-365-nonprofit-plans-and-pricing.

Nonprofit pricing


Compared to the standard business pricing, they are the same plan just free or significantly cheaper.




Benefits of Office 365

Knowing these are the same tools large enterprises are using to be more productive and efficient one must wonder if for a community group or small organization, is this overkill? This is where the benefit of Cloud software fully comes in. Enterprises have been benefiting from these tools for decades, but the time and expertise for configuration, support, servicing, updating etc was expensive, yet still worthwhile. With Office 365 that is all management is handled by Microsoft as the service in the cloud. This gives you centrally managed Email, Document storage, Collaboration and Communication tools, something previously out of reach for smaller organizations without the skillset available.


Next Step: Registering Office 365 with Nonprofit pricing for small Nonprofit Organizations

Paper is not as reliable as you think!

We cannot deny that the digital era is here to conquer and stay. There is a major proliferation of smart gadgets like phones, tablets and cameras that makes everything easier for you with just one click. This is especially true for those who have a ton of documents to file and wants to do it efficiently.

digital paper

Digital over Paper

Documents and filing has always been under the umbrella of paperwork. A lot of people are still counting on this method to date and we will outline general ways on why it is time to switch your gears to digital mode:

  1. No to Losing Documents

Compared to paper filing, losing documents in digital form is so much harder. This is because you can store a single document in multiple platforms, do it via cloud, your email or through an online storage provider. People still have the fear that computers will fail and documents will be lost. Although this can happen, with a good system in place, it is far less likely than paper. How many receipts do you have that are now blank with the ink faded? How many times have you looked for notes you jointed down on paper? Digital is more reliable, albeit for most less comfortable.

  1. File Documents Easily and Save Room Space

All you need is a laptop or a computer to store files. You don’t need to dedicate an archive room for it like how people used to do. Moreover, it is easier to tag documents in categories using a computer compared to printing and pasting labels on folders.

  1. Search for Files Faster

When looking for a digital file, all you need to do is type the file name or put keywords on the search feature of your gadget, no need to go over piles of paper for hours. It will only take you seconds to do this which saves you time to attend to other important matters.

  1. Clean

Having your files online or on a digital platform is so much cleaner aesthetically. There are no dusts or ununiformed tags. It is more presentable especially if you are in a department that is heavy in meeting clients.

  1. On the Go

Take your files with your wherever you are on the globe! Literally! Scan paper files if you need to and bring them with you during a meeting or a trip abroad.


Are you still running your association or not-for-profit on paper? It’s time to make the move to an easier more reliable way. Check out how Process PA makes all the paperwork easier without paper.

What Millennials want from a Not-for-profit

Every wise not-for-profit leader knows that Millennials are a force to reckon with in the non-profit industry. They have emerged as donors, volunteers, employees and leaders. A research paper published in 2013 reported that 72% of Millennials are eager to join non-profit organizations while 50% are willing to donate to charities on a monthly basis. This data shows the impact that millennials can contribute to non-profit organizations if they are tapped properly.


What Millennials Want

The first step in creating your plan and strategies in tapping millennials to join your organization is to uncover what they are looking for or want from a not-for-profit organization.

1. Go Digital

Almost every millennial has access to the internet through a wide array of platforms that can either be via smartphones, tables, laptops etc. Ensure that your organization has strong visibility online. Optimize your website and keep your content as fresh as possible. Millennials are keener in sharing and campaigning for causes that are timely using materials that are visually appealing and easy to share. So put ample time and effort in updating your social media accounts to successfully keep millennials engaged. Make sure you are using modern technology systems internally, if you want them volunteering within your organization.

2. Show Results

Millennials are results-oriented individuals. They are highly motivated by success stories and emotional visuals. Use materials that show the difference or the impact of their contributions. They will not take interest in your cause if they do not know how their efforts and time can help in achieving the organization’s mission and vision.

3. Experience

Millennials value camaraderie and teamwork. They like building relationships with senior people within the organization and receiving recognition for their efforts. Offer training and references to your millennial volunteers to give them experience to build their careers. This is a key factor in keeping millennials engaged and motivated.

Benefits of going digital for your committee


Landscape Change

The world is constantly changing and organizations need to step their game up a notch to keep up. Along with it is the evolution of digital technology which made keeping up much tougher. Digital transformation has been an essential part of our everyday lives most especially to that of organizations. It has changed the way ordinary people and organizations work, communicate and decide. If fully adopted, it can accelerate processes, activities and competencies to be fully utilized in a strategic way.

Digital Value

Digital innovations can bring value not only to the committee but for the organization as a whole. Digital tools are invading committees and organizations that provokes vital changes in processes. It has paved the way for a lot of opportunities and challenges as well. So understanding how everything works is of utmost importance.

Why Go Digital?

Here are the benefits that should be considered in planning the digitization of your committee.

  1. Better insights

Going digital provides important data in the everyday operations of the organization. If the committee is equipped with sufficient analytical tools in reading this data, then they are sure to make better decisions on current activities and events.

  1. Work anywhere

With the digital integration among smart gadgets, committee members can access important files anytime, anywhere. This can save them time and help them prepare well for the next meeting.

  1. Faster communication

Excellent communication is essential in running or in being a member of a committee. If digital communication tools are employed by the committee, sharing updates and information becomes faster and more accessible.

  1. Encourage transparency

Enabling transparency is vital in keeping the morale of committee members and stakeholders high because it increases the integrity of the group. Through digital tools, monitoring of how information is shared to correct people becomes easier and faster.

  1. Measure success

Digital tools help measure the success of your project more accurately. This can help the committee plan and strategize the long term targets of the organization and evaluate the shortcomings of activities that did not perform well.