Microsoft Nonprofit Program: Partnering for the Greater Good


Thought Leadership

Microsoft Nonprofit Program: Partnering for the Greater Good

Scott Paul

Around the globe, Microsoft Word and Excel are the standard tools for conducting business, while Dynamics includes important applications for enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management applications. These tools are standard for any organization’s productivity needs, and while reasonably priced, they can represent a sizable portion of a nonprofit’s already restricted budget.

 Very often, nonprofit organizations aren’t in position to update to the latest versions, leaving staff and volunteers with less-than-productive tools that put them at a distinct disadvantage. Perhaps, more concerning, outdated versions introduce unnecessary network security risks via unpatched vulnerabilities.

That’s where the Microsoft Nonprofit Program comes in.

Microsoft has been working to address this issue for years – donating millions of dollars in software, licensing and expertise annually both directly and through partners. However, its traditional model of selling heavily discounted boxed-software to nonprofits was disrupted in 2011 when the cloud-based Office 365 was introduced. Microsoft always intended to help nonprofits migrate to this new platform, but it took some time to develop new licensing models for nonprofits.

In 2016, to address the issue, Microsoft made a commitment to donate $1 billion in cloud-computing resources over a three-year period with a goal of helping 70,000 nonprofit organizations “digitally scale their impact and serve the public good.”

Microsoft initially debuted two offers for the nonprofit community and the partners that support them, as follows:

Microsoft 365 for Nonprofits: A complete solution that encompasses Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. Surface Books and Surface Pros: Discounted devices to help nonprofits more easily access and utilize Office 365 and Windows 10, from inking to biometrics to 3D experiences, and help improve and impact the lives of others.

Today, more than 50 offerings are available for nonprofits, as the program works to make business technology readily available and enable these organizations to operate at the same level of productivity, efficiency and innovation as well-funded for-profit organizations.

In addition to the wealth of benefits Microsoft Philanthropies provides to nonprofits, it also creates multiple business opportunities and a broader market for managed service providers (MSPs), consultants and resellers to serve a wider base of clients for all their needs, from products to ongoing service contracts.

More than 100,000 small nonprofits currently operate in North America, and many have not been able to afford the most current enterprise tools. The Microsoft Nonprofit program helps resellers address these organizations with affordable options.

Resellers are very critical to the success of the program. While Microsoft always has handled large enterprise sales in house, it understands that smaller enterprises – and particularly small nonprofits – are best served by partners that can provide local, high-touch service. Microsoft already had the largest partner program in the technology industry, and the nonprofit program expands it even further for the benefit of the worthy organizations, its trusted indirect providers, and resellers.

Many business opportunities arise when helping to build up a nonprofit practice. Although the average revenue per-user is lower, based on the deeply discounted license fees, resellers often benefit from similar margins selling to nonprofits as they do with commercial customers. Beyond the licensing fees, resellers can potentially gain recurring revenue agreements with nonprofits to provide a variety of services, such as security monitoring and ongoing managed services.

If you are a nonprofit or a reseller, AppRiver can help introduce you to the program. We’ve been a Microsoft partner for more than a decade, and our experience with Microsoft cloud solutions dates back to AppRiver’s role in the Office 365 syndicated partner program - a precursor to Microsoft’s CSP initiative. We’ve since on-boarded more than 20,000 businesses to Microsoft’s cloud solutions.

 For more detailed information about the program, download our whitepaper, "Technology for the Greater Good: New Opportunities Through Microsoft's Nonprofit Program" or listen to our latest podcast. You can also learn more here.