Did you know that as a registered charity you can get some of the best bits of Microsoft Azure and Office 365 for free? We didn’t think you did because it’s not something Microsoft advertise very well and the registration process is just as confusing and undocumented. Luckily for you, here at Arcible, we’ve been through it all before and know what to expect and when to expect it.
Who can access the free services
If you are a registered charity in the UK, then you qualify. The registration process is quite complicated and can take a few weeks to fully validate. The process involves initially registering with Microsoft. Microsoft will pass your details to their partner, another organisation called TechSoup, to complete the validation. This is the part which can take some time and you may be contacted by TechSoup to verify your status but we’ve done it before so know what to expect and when.
What can we get for free
For free, you can access Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.
For Office 365, you can access an unlimited software grant of Enterprise E1 licenses allowing you to provide your team with access to Exchange Online for email, Skype for Business Online for communication, and SharePoint Online for collaboration, not to mention all the other free to access tools and services. Enterprise E1 does not provide you to with a license for the Office desktop applications: that is part of the E3 bundle but you can access Office Online web applications with the E1 provided.
For Microsoft Azure, a grant of $5,000 per annum is awarded to charities: that’s about £3,500 a year. You can use this £3,500 towards any of the Microsoft Azure services: third-party services are excluded as they are billed externally. So what does this mean in real terms? Three and a half thousand pounds a year is enough money to run a few decent sized servers, your charities website too.
What else is available
In addition to the free donations that are available, you may want more service. Maybe you need access to Office 365 ProPlus to use the Office desktop applications. Maybe you need Dynamics CRM to perform your customer relationship management, advanced anti-spam features, or anything else that Office 365 can offer? Microsoft operate a separate pricing model for charities who are confirmed on the programme. We don’t want to disclose the pricing here as doing so wouldn’t be right, however, it’s fair to say that the pricing is extremely competitive.
How to get started
If you want to start using these services available to charities, speak to us at Arcible and we can help guide you through the process and, if you like, help you start consuming Office 365 and Microsoft Azure services as you need.