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

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

Difference Between Managing Paid Workers and Non-Paid Workers (Volunteers)

Volunteers vs. Paid Workers

Not for profit organizations are comprised of a wide variety of people in order to carry out its mission and vision. Naturally, some work to get paid while others do it as volunteer work or for charitable purposes. It is important to understand the difference between those two categories before planning your management program or strategy.

There are three main categories for which volunteers and paid workers differ, these are:

  • Work
  • Hours
  • Reason


Paid Workers are given definite job descriptions for which their salary and position is based. They also undergo more complicated interviews and tests to ensure that the employer gets the best out of its money and hires the most qualified person in terms of skills and education.

Volunteer workers on the other hand have diversified job roles that does not necessarily have to be in sync with his or her experience. Moreover, every person who has the potential and drive to be a volunteer may be hired to an organization.

Regardless of paid or non-paid status, they are bound by the labor code of the area that they work in, with the same benefits and liabilities that may come with that.


Paid workers often have set hours per day or a specific count of days per week. Most of the time, whatever is in excess of that is considered as over time that the employer has to pay as well.

Volunteers may operate on the same time sheets as paid workers, however, they are mostly working around their other obligations, such as their paid work. Therefore more flexibility is usually expected.


Paid workers are employed in order for them to earn a living. Their main goal is to generate money from their employment to pay for their needs. That does not however preclude them from the same reason volunteers work at the organization.

Volunteers work because they believe in the cause that the organization is campaigning for. It may also be in line with their passion or talent. Their compensations comes in the form of fulfillment from carrying out the activities of the organization.

Management Difference

Given the aforementioned differences, we have lined up basic management guidelines for both paid workers and volunteers. It is important to note, however that management style varies depending on the type and culture of the organization and each individual.

Managing Both Similarly

1. Appreciation

Everyone wants to feel that what they are doing has a good impact. Always appreciate your staff either verbally or through written letters. This may sound simple but it can definitely go a long way in terms of motivating and managing people.

2. Sense of Responsibility

It is important to make volunteers feel that they own what they are doing and that they are headed towards the mission of the organization. This is similar to making paid workers feel accountable to the results of their tasks and showing them the impact of their actions for the advancement of their career in the organization.

3. Clear Communication

Always provide clear communication mediums for both volunteers and paid staff. Miscommunications and confusions can easily demotivate people.

Managing Both Differently

1. Tone of Command

It is important to take into account all the time that volunteers are not paid which means that the tone of command should always be evaluated. For volunteers the tone should often play around the idea that this is a teamwork project. People are teammates, there are no solid bosses or subordinates.

2. Working Hours

Again, the issue of not being paid is very important. When asking for volunteers to work overtime it is imperative that you ask them if they are comfortable with the time frame that you have in mind. This is to ensure that the volunteer and you are on the same page.

3. Resources

There are always expenses incurred when doing volunteer work, ensure at all times that costs that are related to working on organizational activities are reimbursed properly. Volunteers are often confused as donors, but they are not. Whereas employees have allowances to pay for these expenses beforehand, volunteers personal expenses need to be taken into consideration and acknowledged.