More than a year and a half after Covid-19 swept across the globe, we’re all still grappling with the enormity of the changes we have experienced and the lessons we have learned in our personal and professional lives. At this juncture of the pandemic, however, I think it’s safe to say that at least two things are clear. The first is that the millions of nonprofits around the world have made a huge difference in people’s lives by stepping forward under the most difficult circumstances to provide care and relief when and where it was needed most. The second is that the dramatic acceleration in the adoption of cloud-based tools and technologies has transformed how organizations of every kind operate – including nonprofits.
Here at Microsoft’s Tech for Social Impact, a key part of Microsoft Philanthropies, we’ve been inspired by the resilience and commitment of the nonprofits we support. In fiscal year 2021, Microsoft provided $2.5 billion in technology grants and discounts to some 295,000 nonprofits – 45,000 more than last year. And we were excited to begin to make grants available to over 75,000 eligible aged care nonprofits that continue to be at the frontlines of the response to the pandemic.
But we also know that, in a cloud-first world, if we are going to truly help nonprofits harness the potential of technology to transform productivity and collaboration, ensure greater flexibility and scale, improve efficiency and protect the security and privacy of donor and program participant data, we need to update our grant and discount program to focus on the capabilities of the Microsoft Cloud.
This is why, beginning in April 2022, we are shifting to a cloud-first grant program to ensure that nonprofits of every size in every part of the globe have access to the world-class cloud technology they need to accelerate the work they are doing to accomplish their missions.
Our grants span the full portfolio of Microsoft cloud solutions, including: Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which provides industry-leading cloud, security and on-premises productivity capabilities; recently added grants for Power Platform, which enables efficient and secure app development; Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise, which can be used for industry specific-solutions like Fundraising and Engagement in Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit; and a $3,500 annual Microsoft Azure grant for use across the entire portfolio of Azure solutions and services.
To help protect nonprofits against the growing threat of cyberattacks, we are announcing the AccountGuard for Nonprofits program, which will be made available to eligible organizations at no additional cost. AccountGuard for Nonprofits proactively monitors for nation-state attacks and notifies organizations if their organizational or personal email accounts have been compromised.
We recognize that some nonprofits are not yet ready to move to the cloud. So, while we will no longer provide grants for most of our on-premises software beginning on April 4, 2022, we will continue to provide on-premises software to nonprofits at a discount of up to 75% through Microsoft partners. For nonprofits in markets where Azure is not yet available, we will continue to provide grants for Windows Server and SQL Server.
Additionally, to ensure nonprofits can take advantage of Windows Professional, we are simplifying our licensing options with grants that make it simple to upgrade from Windows Home to Windows Professional. And, for the first time, we will provide grants for the full version of Windows Professional. All registered nonprofits will be eligible for up to 50 granted licenses with the option to purchase additional licenses at a discount through Microsoft partners.
We are also expanding our training programs that help nonprofits get the most out of the tools and technologies we provide. Our goal is to provide training to 500,000 nonprofit staff members and volunteers this fiscal year and to reach 1 million through the Microsoft Digital Skills Center for Nonprofits, the free live Microsoft training sessions available at the Microsoft Store, and through on-demand training that will be available as part of Microsoft Viva Learning in Microsoft Teams later this fall. Beginning in early 2022, we will provide new training to help nonprofits manage technology grants from Microsoft, administer technology and lead change management through their digital transformation.
Because many nonprofits provide computer training labs and other public access computing opportunities, we are also excited to announce new grants that cover standard public access lab licensing options for Office Standard, Windows Professional, Project, Publisher, Visio and Visual Studio. Nonprofits will be able to take advantage of this new program through TechSoup.
These changes reflect the evolving nature of technology and Tech for Social Impact’s focus on supporting digital capabilities for nonprofits by dramatically expanding our grants to reach more organizations. We are committed to supporting 75,000 additional nonprofits this fiscal year and, by 2024, we expect to support up to 500,000 nonprofits through grants and discounts for the full range of Microsoft’s cloud solutions.
To learn how your small- or medium-sized nonprofit can take advantage of the transformational power of the cloud, I encourage you to visit the Microsoft Nonprofits website or contact a Cloud Solution Provider near you. If you work for a larger nonprofit, connect with your Microsoft account team or your Cloud Solution Provider (CSP). And organizations can get started with AccountGuard for Nonprofits today through their nonprofit hub.
Tags: Azure, broadband access, connectivity, cyberattacks, digital access, digital divide, digital skills, Internet access, Microsoft AccountGuard, Microsoft Cloud, Microsoft Philanthropies, nonprofits, Skills, Tech for Social Impact