Many non-profit organizations do tremendous work but are not able to take advantage of the technologies that for-profit firms use. Because they have restricted budgets, spending on expensive tech products is not possible for many non-profit and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
However, Microsoft is trying to fix the tech gap that exists between NGOs and typical businesses by offering a discount for its Office 365 product to qualified NGOs. According to PC World, such organizations in 41 countries are eligible to take advantage of the offer. As a result, NGOs may be able to afford the Microsoft training that can help employees be able to navigate many of the software company's useful collaborative tools.
The source reported that it's not the first time Microsoft has offered software donations programs but it has never before included Office 365 in such initiatives. The useful nature of cloud computing was the primary factor in the company's decision to create the cost-effective model for NGOs.
"Nonprofits are seeing more and more the advantages of cloud computing, but they often can't access it because of costs and other reasons," Lori Harnick, Microsoft general manager, told the source.
The stipulations of the program allow NGOs to obtain free, unlimited subscriptions to Office 365 Enterprise E1. The free service will allow NGO users to access Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and other Microsoft software platforms, PC World noted. Also, for just $2 per month, NGO customers will be able to use the full range of Office ProPlus applications.
History of donations
Information Week recently reported that Microsoft has been offering such programs for much of the company's 30-year history. So far in the 2013 fiscal year, Microsoft has donated $795 million in funding, software and services to more than 70,000 NGOs across the world.
For many years, Office products have been used by businesses and consumers. In many industries, the software is the standard for word processing, spreadsheet creation and a number of other computing tasks. More recently, however, the company has integrated its more sophisticated business tools with Office 365, allowing companies to use SharePoint and other programs that let workers connect with each other while sharing complex project files and documents.
Because there are many features included in the software, Microsoft certification courses for SharePoint, Lync and other programs may be necessary. By using an online training provider, NGOs can have their employees learn about SharePoint features in the office, eliminating the need to pay for travel expenses related to getting employees to classroom-based sessions.