Microsoft Nonprofit Licensing Shake Up – How Does It Affect You?

Microsoft announced big changes to its nonprofit donation and discount programs on April 4th. These changes will affect your nonprofit's future purchases of Microsoft licensing including Windows, Office, Office 365, Server operating systems and Azure.

Office 365 for nonprofits helps small teams communicate more efficiently, saving time and increasing productivity so the organization can further its mission. Be prepared to make the best productivity and budget decisions for your nonprofit by understanding the changes. You can take advantage of Microsoft’s mix-and-match approach to optimize your purchases. We will focus on Windows and Office Suite in this post. Here is what’s changed:

Volume Licensing

Hopefully, you have been purchasing volume licenses of Windows and Office Suite through TechSoup in the past. You can still do this but the titles and purchasing limits have changed.

Windows 10 Professional – can be installed by the manufacturer with new purchases. If not, you can purchase Windows 10 Professional from TechSoup.  Up to 50 Upgrade licenses at $16 each. Additional licenses can be purchased for $183 each.

Microsoft Office Suite changes:

Office Standard (Word, Excel, PPT, Outlook, Publisher, OneNote) – up to 50 licenses available at $29 each. Clients can purchase additional licenses for $154 each.

Office ProPlus (Word, Excel, PPT, Outlook, Publisher, OneNote, InfoPath, Skype for Business and Access) – only available for $211 each (no longer $40) with unlimited licensing.

Cloud Licensing

Microsoft is stressing the value of cloud licensing for nonprofits to use the subscription based Office suite included with Office 365. Office ProPlus 2016 subscriptions are available in the following licenses:

Business Premium - $3/user/month. Very few of our MS clients use this license.

E1 – you can add Office ProPlus to E1 for $3/user/month

E3 – included, E3 is $4.50/user/month

E5 – included, E5 is $15/user/month


You can mix and match these licenses. A typical nonprofit scenario:

Tech Impact employs 60 staff in a variety of roles. Some of our users (like me) are very mobile.  I use several computers and mobile devices and need to connect to Office 365 SharePoint online to access shared files. Because of my user profile, I have an E3 license which we pay $4.50/month. This gives me the ability to load Office 2016 ProPlus on up to 5 devices including mobile app to ensure a consistent working environment.

Meanwhile, our Help Desk technicians work from the office everyday using the same computer. They use E1 licenses to access our SharePoint information. We purchased Volume License copy of Office 2016 Standard through TechSoup to install on their desktop computers.  We paid $29 rather than $3/month for the subscription.

Purchasing Office 365 Licenses

The other big announcement from Microsoft is that you can now purchase the Office 365 licenses from various sources. The vendor options have price variance and support options.

Microsoft Direct – you can still go to and purchase your licensing direct. Pricing shown in the table above is direct from Microsoft. Advantage is that you go directly to Microsoft. Support is also provided direct from Microsoft. This is fine for IT Pros that are used to providing user support and going to Microsoft for more technical issues. It may not be the best choice for small organizations that may need first level support.

Cloud Solution Provider – Microsoft has selected a few vendors, including Tech Impact, to sell licensing to nonprofits directly. Each CSP can set their own price for the licensing which may be higher than going directly to Microsoft. Why would any nonprofit want to pay a higher price for the license? The answer is for better support. CSP pricing model often includes more support than going to Microsoft directly. This option is great for smaller organizations that do not have IT Pros on staff. It allows users to get help with Office 365 through Help Desk. Another scenario where paying a CSP for licensing is a good idea is for organizations that have complex Office 365 configurations that require HIPAA or other compliance, or using E5 or EMS licensing. These situations are difficult to manage on your own even if your organization has an IT Pro. The trick to using a CSP for licensing is to shop around and understand exactly what level of support you are getting for the price.

Tech Impact is in an interesting position. We are a CSP but we are also a nonprofit. We  participate in the CSP model because we believe that we are in the best position to support Office 365 use for organizations that want to take advantage of the full productivity and compliance features available. We have the most experience in terms of technical expertise AND nonprofit knowledge to guide you to select the appropriate licenses and support your use of them in the future. We are not interested in selling licenses just for “sales” sake. You have other options available for that. We are happy to discuss your situation and guide you to the right licensing and purchasing option. If you'd like to discuss Tech Impact's services, request a free consult with one of our Office 365 experts. 

Tune in next time to learn more about Office 365 licenses and features. There is more to your selection decision than just Office ProPlus. We will discuss security and data loss prevention options!


Want to hear more about these changes and licensing features? 

Watch our Licensing & Compliance in Office 365 webinar.


Have technology questions or want to learn more about how Tech Impact can help your nonprofit?