Nonprofit organizations deserve tools that support their mission. There is a difference between having a tool work for you and having a tool working you – one brings ease and the latter, frustration. We also know the positive impact of tools readily available at low to no cost.
Unfortunately, nonprofits are often not taking advantage of the various opportunities and services available to them. Is the hesitation because you believe training your staff in a new service will be time-consuming? Are you a stickler for the saying, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it?” Or does the idea of technology just bring shivers? Perhaps you are open to innovation, but you are unsure of which direction to go.
As a charitable organization, your access to technology can help you deepen and expand the impact you have. The democratization of technology was created with your nonprofit in mind. In this blog, we will cover recent Microsoft programs that support the vision of nonprofits with affordable tools such as document storage, not-for-profit licensing, and cybersecurity.
Your Collaboration Is as Good as Your Communication
Technology changes what it means to communicate. Collaboration is redefined by contributing ideas and sharing documents across devices. As technology advances, access and demand for IT grow. Therefore, interacting using tools from the early 2000s and before is not as effective as it once was. But having a service that responds to the current age of technology without compromising human necessity is still a possibility.
Nonprofits benefit from the services Microsoft offers. Dynamics 365, for instance, enhances communication and collaboration from donor databases to volunteer management to process automation. One of our nonprofit clients implemented Dynamics 365 and drastically streamlined how they connect with their communities by eliminating the complexity of juggling multiple software tools. They are now simultaneously, in real-time, working side by side with other contributors.
Are you aware your nonprofit can receive grants to share documents across your organization? Electronic document storage is still new for some nonprofits. Others may have been five or ten years ago and are now paying substantial fees to keep those older systems going. The tools Microsoft provides to maintain and enhance collaborative spaces within your organization can help you meet your compliance or regulatory requirements as a nonprofit.
We are currently making electronic document storage available to clients by creating a routine that makes all their PDFs searchable to help them get out of their custom environment. Pulling all their PDFs out of a custom environment, putting them into SharePoint, and making them searchable by SharePoint will give their team easier access and save thousands of dollars a year.
Side note: If you have Office 365, you should not pay licenses or manage an additional document storage system.
Many nonprofits have non-Microsoft or disparate systems. Having a lot of different processes can become counterproductive. The sectors within nonprofits have different responsibilities, but different demands do not require different systems. Everything is available within the Microsoft framework so that you can consolidate.
Not-for-Profit Licensing is a Thing
Assuming you meet the requirements, Microsoft gives charitable nonprofits free and heavily discounted software services. If you are a charity, you want to have not-for-profit licensing. Nonprofits are unlike other organizations. Businesses and trade organizations pay full price for their licensing; you do not have to.
Microsoft used to have a limit on not-for-profit licensing. Nonprofits had to go through a group called Tech Soup; they could only get 25 licenses and had to do it a certain way. It was arduous. But now, qualified CSP (Customer Solution Providers) like us can provide Microsoft’s discounted pricing to approved nonprofits. Licensing is more available and affordable now than before.
Microsoft offers a $3,500 annual Azure Grant: Azure cloud solutions | Microsoft for Nonprofits
Secure Your Nonprofit and The Community You Serve
All organizations are susceptible to intrusion, especially nonprofits that regularly store personal information. It is vital to reinforce protection over the names, addresses, and other personally identifiable information. There is so much going on in the cybersecurity world that it is hard to keep old systems secure.
Nonprofits with more than one software to manage more than one device have an even harder time securing their systems. With so many devices that need securing, the likelihood of keeping them up to date is slim. On the other hand, if you have a Microsoft platform, it can perpetuate through your entire environment when you log in and set the security. Microsoft software can also create kiosks or devices or wipe them if needed. All your solutions are backed in the cloud, which means your work is automatically saved.
The shared security Microsoft offers also locks down the documents you keep in the organization. If you have one software package for document management and another for donor management, they are not natively communicating. However, if you have Microsoft Cloud doing document management with SharePoint and Microsoft Cloud doing donor management with Dynamics 365, all is managed under Microsoft Security.
Microsoft Webinar February 24, 2022: Modernize Nonprofit Security & Defend Against Threats with Microsoft and TD Synnex
How Will You Move Forward?
Nonprofits are so committed to their community they often sacrifice sleep, health, and family. You do not have to offer up these pieces of yourself to be a force for good in the community. We know sacrificing comes with the territory because you work with what you have to get the job done. However, sacrifice is not necessary with the right solutions. When you find a technology solution that can help you lift the load, you can focus on what matters – your impact.
If you bought something ten years ago and have not updated or changed it, hopefully, you know now that you can. It is okay to let go of software made five or ten years ago – their refresh rates are slow, and your nonprofit deserves the agility to adapt and pivot when necessary.
Everyone is not tech-savvy, it is understandable if you have concerns about your team learning something new, so you maintain what they are comfortable using. But what substantial growth comes without nudges outside of the comfort zone? The great news is the Microsoft platform is a common software, so your team may know more about the service than you realize.
As a Tier-1 CSP, we support and coach clients on Microsoft products and services for all things IT.
Our team wholeheartedly thanks nonprofits for working tirelessly to better the world. Therefore, we desire to offer tools to you that can make your jobs easier. Making decisions that keep core values in place is common among many clients. Tools are available to you that reinforce your mission while optimizing your experience with document storage systems, licensing, and cybersecurity.
Every nonprofit can do well with these opportunities and services at its fingertips to continue impacting the world one person and one community at a time.
Contact us for a complete understanding of all available Microsoft opportunities and services at low to no cost for your nonprofit organization.