Charities across New Zealand are set to benefit from Microsoft's newly announced Office 365 Donation Programme for Nonprofits.
New Zealand is part of a list of 41 countries where nonprofits will have access to the programme.
Office 365 for Nonprofits is a cloud-based service that has been tailored for the needs of charities and provides access from anywhere to professional email, shared calendaring, instant messaging (IM), HD video conferencing, screen sharing, and personal online storage.
Qualifying organisations also gain the ability to view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files via a web browser, and can set up a public website without hosting fees and an intranet site to support internal collaboration.
Paul Muckleston, managing director of Microsoft New Zealand, says many New Zealand charities, including Royal New Zealand Plunket Society and The Child Cancer Foundation, have experienced huge benefits after implementing Office 365 and hopefully many more charities will now benefit from this software.
“Technology has long been a catalyst for progress on key societal challenges. The advent of cloud computing, connected smart devices, and new ways to communicate, interact and access information creates vast new opportunities and enables organisations to spend fewer resources and time on IT so they can focus on their missions,” says Muckleston.
Sue Jury, national manager Fundraising with The Child Cancer Foundation, says that implementing Office 365 across seven regions throughout New Zealand saved the Foundation up to $60,000 in the first year.
“As soon as we got Office 365 up and running our staff nationwide were able to access and share information more easily. The need for staff to travel to our offices around the country for meetings has been reduced, and we have made significant savings by no longer needing to pay for conference calls," she says. “Office 365 has also proved to be stable and reliable. During the Canterbury Earthquakes in February 2011 we were able to maintain our service levels, which is something we wouldn’t have been able to do without a centralised system."
According to Craig Le Quesne, general manager of Information Communication Technology, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society shares a similar story about increased collaboration and better time management: “Office 365 has changed how we do so many day-to-day tasks. The best thing I can do is facilitate conversations between our staff, because this sparks new ideas. Before Office 365 this was a costly exercise that usually required people travelling to meetings, but applications like Lync Online mean our staff can be in touch with each other all the time and get on with achieving."
Last year, Microsoft donated $15 million (FMV) in cash, software and services to 1,200 charities in New Zealand and this is set to grow with Microsoft offering Office 365 for Nonprofits as a donation to all qualifying charities.
Nonprofits and NGOs interested in implementing Microsoft Office 365 can check eligibility and order donations at www.microsoft.com/office365nonprofits.