It almost goes without saying that most nonprofits run on modest budgets. At IT Smart Solutions, we often see nonprofit staff getting by with ageing technology, toggling between point solutions, sharing passwords, or relying on a clunky old server whirring in the corner.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! You can (and should) improve your IT, and, thanks to Office 365 for nonprofits Australia, you can do so without it impacting your budget.
In the first of our blog series for nonprofits, we looked at some of the benefits of Cloud computing; security, collaboration, accessibility, and cost efficiency. Now it’s time to delve into why it’s easier, safer and, to be honest, just plain better, – to have a single, consolidated Cloud solution and how you can make the switch with ease.
As our last article flagged, there are many compelling benefits associated with moving to the Cloud. Think business continuity, predictable ongoing spend, improved communication and mobility. But when it comes to making the change, there are several misconceptions and cost is a common one.
Nonprofits and commercial entities alike, often view IT transformation as costly projects. Indeed, the upfront costs associated with replacing or purchasing a traditional on-premises server are large. However, with no physical hardware to purchase, and thus no significant upfront costs, according to Steve Ranson, CEO at IT Smart Solutions, replacing your server with a Cloud solution is actually more affordable.
“There is a common misnomer that moving to the Cloud is expensive. But actually, because moving to a consolidated Cloud solution, like Microsoft Office 365 for nonprofits, requires no capital investment, it can help move your organisation away from a CapEx model and into an OpEx one, which is preferable when you are managing tight budgets,” explains Steve.
According to Steve, a major drawcard for nonprofits considering a move to a Cloud-based modern workplace is Microsoft’s line of free and heavily discounted Office 365 plans. If you already have a licence, and you fit the criteria, you may be eligible.
To take up an Office 365 nonprofit donation, your organisation must meet five criteria:
1. Organisation eligibility
2. Mission eligibility
3. User licensing
5. License restrictions apply.
“If you meet the criteria then the chances are that your organisation is eligible. At IT Smart Solutions, we work with our customers to assess eligibility and complete the necessary applications. Microsoft then provides up to ten complimentary subscriptions with significant reductions for any additional users,” says Steve.
By taking advantage of Microsoft’s Office 365 nonprofit donation subscriptions, organisations can unlock a raft of benefits.
“Aside from the donation subscriptions, there is significant financial benefit to migrating to the Cloud, using Office 365 for nonprofit organisations. The single subscription includes lots of applications, so where you once were paying for Zoom and Dropbox, you now have access to Teams and SharePoint which are included in every subscription of Office 365 for nonprofit organisations,” says Steve.
On top of this, by having your IT eggs in one basket, organisations immediately increase both their security and accessibility.
Take the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), for example. Until 2018, CIS relied on on-premises servers. Following a comprehensive review, IT Smart Solutions recommended a plan to future-proof CIS by moving to a Cloud-based modern workplace.
The project involved replacing all the individual platforms previously used with a single Microsoft Office 365 for nonprofit organisations subscription. A decision that proved fortuitous as the organisation subsequently experienced office flooding, destroying nearly all onsite hardware, rendering the premises unusable.
“Because the staff at CIS were using Microsoft Office 365 for nonprofit organisations, they were able to continue to work remotely, with access to all their data and files. There was no need to email and forward documents, which is a major cause of version issues and also a challenge to secure,” notes Steve.
Further, the single sign on nature of Microsoft Office 365 for nonprofit organisations meant that CIS’ files were secure.
“Multiple solutions mean multiple logins and really all this does is increase opportunities for hackers to find an entry point,” adds Steve.
The flooding proved to be a good practice for the subsequent arrival of COVID-19. Moving to a remote working model, staff were already able to access information and collaborate with ease, regardless of location. At the same time, organisation leaders had complete confidence in the security of their data.
Steve and the team at IT Smart Solutions have been supporting nonprofits for years, becoming very familiar with the sector-specific challenges they face.
“I really enjoy working with organisations that have a clear cause and purpose. Testament to this, we have launched several nonprofit specific plans. These include our own service offering, which we have discounted, paired with Microsoft’s Office 365 nonprofit donation.”
Find out how IT Smart Solutions can help your organisation, check out the newly released IT Services for Nonprofits plans now.