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How to Choose an Office 365 Nonprofit Plan

May 8, 2017


Microsoft publishes all of the details behind the different nonprofit plans available but here are some simple questions to help you decide what you need.  Let's get to the point.


Overview of Nonprofit Plans

There are three main plans available and not everyone in your organization needs the same plan.  For example, volunteers may only need a basic plan while your full-time staff may need more capabilities.

  • The Office 365 Nonprofit E1 plan supplies basic functionality for free (Microsoft donation).

  • The Office 365 Nonprofit E3 plan includes additional capabilities for standard office workers at $4.50 per user per month.

  • The Office 365 Nonprofit E5 plan adds advanced security, tools and controls at $10.00 per user per month.

Some of the core benefits you get with all plans include

  • Web-based email accounts and calendars

  • File storage and sharing

  • Online meetings

  • Instant messaging and desktop sharing

  • Video storage and sharing

So how do you decide what plan to purchase?  Here are some basic questions that should help you make a decision.


Do you want Microsoft Office installed on different devices?

This is a typical reason to move up to the E3 plan.  While the E1 plan allows people to do some light editing of Office documents in the browser, the E3 plan gives you the full functionality of Microsoft Office (including the ability to edit on mobile devices).  The E3 plan also allows you to open and edit documents that are not stored in Office 365, like a shared folder in the organization.


Do you want to better protect your devices and information?

While the E1 plan gives you some great options to archive, audit and retain important information in the organization, the E3 plan you can protect your organization even more by preventing information from being changed, printed or shared.


Do you want to better analyze your data?

If your organization is producing or consuming a lot of data you may want to find ways to analyze the information to get more value out of it.  The E3 plan will give you Microsoft Excel which is very powerful in analyzing data.  The E5 plan will extend that power to dynamic reports and dashboards to take the analysis to another level.


Do you need dial-in access to meetings or are looking at options for your phone system?

The E5 plan adds advanced telecommunication options and could completely host your phone system if you desire.  If you don't want an entire phone system replacement, you can also add dial-in access to meetings for a minimal cost.


Hopefully these simple questions help you decide what you need but if you still need some advice, contact us at and we can help, too.


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