Office 365 Nonprofit Pricing Tailored to Your Organization’s Needs

Written by Shawn Lyles

December 1, 2014

Office 365 Nonprofit Pricing Tailored to Your Organization’s Needsoffice 365 non-profit pricing

Interested in how Office 365’s pricing will impact your organization? In this article I will go over all the different pricing options and highlight which ones would be more suited for your organization.

Microsoft has recently changed some of its Office 365 choices for nonprofits, reflecting changes it made to its offerings to small businesses. There are now four plans available to nonprofits, two for smaller organizations, and two for larger. If your organization is already an Office 365 subscriber, things won’t change much for the E1 and E3 plans. If you have one of the plans based on the older small business plans, however, you will probably see some improvements.

If your organization is not yet an Office 365 subscriber, you need to find out whether you qualify for nonprofit pricing. Microsoft provides guidance on a Who’s Eligible page. For nonprofits in the United States, the basic rule of thumb is whether you have 501c3 tax status. 501c3 foundations of all types are eligible, for example. Microsoft has made nonprofit pricing available in many other countries, which you can see on its volume licensing page. CGNET will be happy to help you determine your status.

If your organization has more than 300 users, you will need either the E1 or the E3 plans. If you have less than 300 users, you can choose any of the four plans.

In terms of functionality, the big differences among the plans are that two of them (Nonprofit Business Premium and E3) include the desktop Office applications and more functionality in the apps for smartphones and tablets. All of the plans include Exchange Online, Lync, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Only the top-of-the-line E3 plan includes email archiving, advance compliance features and voicemail (see the detailed feature comparison below).

In terms of price, Microsoft donates the plans without the desktop apps to you for free. These are the Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials plan and the E1 plan. You get a bit more functionality with the E1 plan, so since the price is the same (free) why not take it?

The Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium plan costs $2/user/month, which is a nice discount off of the $12.50/user/month price to for-profit businesses. The E3 plan is available to nonprofits for $4.50/user/month, which costs businesses $20.00/user/month.

Should you take the Premium or the E3 plan? Beyond the specific differences in features, the key question is probably how your organization thinks of itself. If you want to have convenient access to all the available features and the price difference doesn’t matter that much, the E3 plan may be the answer. If you want to save some money and don’t mind the occasional limitation, the Premium plan should work fine. CGNET will be happy to discuss your specific needs with you and help you decide on that basis.

If you’re interested in getting any Office 365 plan, the first step is to sign up for a free trial. All the free trials are for 25 users of the E3 plan, but you can select any plan you want later in the process.  Let, CGNET help with this.

If you have questions about implementation or migration, which is likely, we’d be happy to help. Contact us by filling out the form in this page’s right-hand column.

Here is a detailed feature-by-feature comparison of the plans, provided by Microsoft.


Office 365 Nonprofit Business Essentials Office 365 Nonprofit Business Premium Office 365 Nonprofit E1 Office 365 Nonprofit E3
$2.00 user/month
$4.50 user/month
Free trial!

No automatic charge when trial ends

For up to 300 usersFor up to 300 users For up to 300 usersFor up to 300 users Unlimited usersUnlimited users Unlimited usersUnlimited users
Office applications:

Subscription to Office for up to 5 PCs/Macs per user.

Desktop versions of:Word Excel PowerPoint Outlook OneNote Publisher Desktop versions of:Word Excel PowerPoint Outlook OneNote Access Publisher Lync
Business-class email:

Get business-class email,2 shared calendars, 50 GB of storage space per user, and the ability to use your own domain name.

Included Included Included Included
Web conferencing, presence, and IM:

Conduct meetings over the web with HD video conferencing, screen sharing, and instant messaging. Share presence, IM, and audio calling with Skype users.

Included Included Included Included
File storage and sharing:

OneDrive for Business gives each user 1 TB of personal storage they can access from anywhere and that syncs3 with their PC. Easily share files internally and externally and control who sees and edits them.

Included Included Included Included
Spam and malware protection:

Premium anti-malware protection and anti-spam filtering.

Included Included Included Included
Community and phone support:

IT-level web support and 24/7 phone support for critical issues.

Included Included Included Included
Guaranteed 99.9% uptime:

Get peace of mind knowing your services are available with a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, financially backed service level agreement (SLA).

Included Included Included Included
Intranet site for your teams:

SharePoint sites provide workspaces with customizable security settings for individual teams within the organization.

Included Included Included Included
Office Online:

Create and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files via a web browser.

Included Included Included Included
Active Directory integration:

Manage user credentials and permissions. Single sign-on and synchronization with Active Directory.

Included Included Included Included
Site mailboxes:

Store and share email and documents in project-specific folders, allowing for easier team collaboration.

Included Included Included
Mobile apps:

Access, edit, and view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents on iPad®, iPhone®, Android phone, and Windows Phones. Use the OneNote, OWA, Lync Mobile, and SharePoint Newsfeed apps on most devices.4

Included Included
Yammer Enterprise:

Enterprise social networking with advanced support, security, administration, and integrations.

Included Included
Advanced email:

Archiving and legal hold capabilities, plus unlimited storage.

eDiscovery Center:

Tools to support compliance. Search across SharePoint sites and Exchange mailboxes.


Hosted voicemail support with auto attendant capabilities.

Business Intelligence:

Create and manage interactive dashboards with multiple data sources.



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