By Scott Paul, Senior Director – Microsoft Alliance for AppRiver
Doing the right thing is in line with solid business practices; it’s a proverbial win-win for all involved. Microsoft has a rich philanthropic history, and its Microsoft for Nonprofits program is a perfect example of how corporate giving can make a real difference for those in need while also benefiting resellers who participate.
For years, Microsoft — directly and through resellers — has committed to donating millions of dollars in software, licensing and expertise to nonprofit organizations. While Microsoft’s productivity tools are appropriately priced for commercial businesses, the same price points are often too high for budget-conscious nonprofits.
Because of these budget constraints, nonprofit staff members are often working without the necessary productivity tools to perform tasks and accomplish goals in a timely fashion. Or if they purchased a Microsoft solution at one point in time, the resources may not be available to update original operating systems, putting the organization at a significant disadvantage and introducing unnecessary network security risks via unpatched vulnerabilities. Without question, the nonprofit program has given Microsoft and its resellers the opportunity to empower organizations that are diligently trying to make the world a better place.
Microsoft’s traditional model of selling heavily discounted boxed-software was disrupted, primarily, by its own innovation — the 2011 introduction of the cloud-based Office 365. Microsoft intended to help nonprofits migrate to this new platform, but it took some time to develop new licensing models for nonprofits.
In early 2016, the company made a commitment to donate $1 billion in cloud-computing resources over a three-year period with a goal to help 70,000 nonprofit organizations “digitally scale their impact and serve the public good.”
In September 2017, Microsoft had met its goal and announced a decision to accelerate efforts — reorganizing its structure and moving licensing for charities and nonprofits out of the commercial services organization and realigning it into Microsoft’s Technology for Social Impact (TSI) group, which is part of Microsoft Philanthropies. This was a landmark decision for Microsoft, one which helped better focus the initiative and unlock its potential.
Microsoft Philanthropies understands that the demands on nonprofits are perhaps greater today than ever. In its announcement for the Technology for Social Impact group, Microsoft noted:
“As an industry, we can help nonprofits digitally transform to raise funds, improve productivity, accelerate innovation and ultimately have a greater impact on the world’s most pressing issues. That’s why we’re announcing the formation of Microsoft’s Technology for Social Impact group, dedicated to serving the world’s nonprofit organizations. This new team will build the kind of robust ecosystem that today works so well for businesses, to help nonprofits move to the cloud and provide the support they need. We will continue to donate and discount cloud services for nonprofits.”
Microsoft initially debuted two offers for the nonprofit community and the partners that support them, as follows:
This was only the beginning of a robust program to help nonprofits and create new opportunities for managed service providers (MSPs), consultants and resellers. Microsoft further stated its commitment to the program by …