Over the past year, Charity Digital has been helping Microsoft to run a handful of Tech4Good Days around the UK, teaching digital skills to charities for free.
The last event was attended by 70 charity representatives at Microsoft’s Paddington HQ.
Over a series of blog posts we’ll be detailing what happened on the day, reporting what each Microsoft expert shared in the sessions they led and how they believe technology can best be used by charities to help your achieve more.
The session which kicked-off last Monday’s event was led by Eve Joseph, Microsoft’s UK Responsibilities Manager.
This talk took attendees through the software, hardware and training Microsoft offers to UK charities and showed them how they can access it.
Eve began by explaining a little about Microsoft’s Philanthropies team, whose top priority is connecting the benefits of technology to those who need it most – an act which will help to drive inclusive growth of the global economy.
With 49% of charities lacking basic digital skills (Lloyds Bank UK Digital Business Index 2016), charitable organisations rank even above small business in their need for better digital skills and better access to technology.
The need to address this skill deficit becomes especially clear when considering that digitally mature charities are 28% more likely to report an increase in funding, enabling them to do more good for their cause.
So how do Microsoft actually connect those in need to the technology which can help them?
First up – the Office365 suite. Microsoft run a global Office365 donation programme which it’s great to have on offer for UK charities, offering a range of packages for eligible charitable organisations.
These offerings differ in the complexity of the features they offer, but all are priced at a significant discount with the starter package, E1, available as a donation to qualifying charities.
If you would like to understand our eligibility guidelines, you can review there here.
The upgrade package, E3, begins at £4.00 per user per month. This package includes the Office applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote fully installed on up to 5 PCs or Macs per user, and additionally on tablets/mobile phones. E3 also offers 1 terabyte of storage, unlimited online meetings, 24/7 IT-level phone support for critical issues and online versions of all the office apps installed on your desktop.
You can see more of what’s included, and compare the different packages available, by searching for https://aka.ms/charitycompare.
Eve explained Microsoft also discount cloud services, including Azure and Power BI for UK charities – offering up to $5K per year donation credit for Azure and a special PowerBI Nonprofit package as a donation for eligible organisations.
For more information on the product offerings we have for charities, this website is really valuable: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/philanthropies/product-donations/.
Microsoft also offer on-premise software donations through Charity Digital in the UK.
To get started and apply for a donation, charities can visit www.charitydigitalexchange.org/getting-started.
Though Microsoft are unable to offer hardware donations, they offer professionally refurbished hardware with software preinstalled through their refurbishment programme.
To see what’s on offer, and how you can get your hands on some of their donated devices, visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/refurbishedpcs.
Training and education
Finally, Eve finished her session by covering the training and education offerings available for charities.
For starters, there’s Microsoft’s Digital Literacy Curriculum – this is a free training curriculum with 3 levels (basic, standard and advanced) helping users develop their basic skills to use computers with confidence and achieve more with the technology.
You could use this curriculum for your internal staff and volunteers at your charity or indeed, extend further and encourage service users you may be working with the utilise this free training. For example, young adults looking to improve their digital literacy.
This curriculum can then be extended to the Imagine Academy, an educational tool offering a higher level of training in technology skills and technical courses, as well as recognised certifications.
The Imagine Academy has 4 learning paths – Productivity, Computer Science, IT Infrastructure and Data Science – contained in a complete framework for both learning and teaching, with ready-to-use lessons.
If you’d like to find out more details about these training offerings, visit www.microsoft.com/philanthropies.
More to come…
Hopefully that summary helped to explain a little about what Microsoft has to offer charities and where you can go to access what’s there
You now know what’s available – but you might still be wondering: What exactly IS Azure? How can I use Power BI? What programmes are included in Office365?
Check in with us again in on the Charity Digital blog over the coming weeks to read more about these technologies and how Azure, LinkedIn, Skype for Business, Power BI and Office365 tools like Yammer and Sway help your charity be more productive, work happier and do more good.
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