This is the final installment (for now) of our Office 365 vs. Google Enterprise for Nonprofits. You may want to read the first blog in the series which provides overall context or the feature comparisons between products in the second installment.
It is important to note that both companies donate a lot of services for free to nonprofits. Both companies do a great service to the nonprofit sector by providing free and low-cost services to nonprofit organizations and have done so for a very long time. Let's look at what you receive as a donation and what investment you might consider.
Google provides a lot of solid functionality all within their Google Apps interace for free for nonprofits: The free nonprofit plan includes the follow cloud based services:
- Create unlimited email accounts for your staff on your own branded domain (ex:firstname.lastname@example.org) through Gmail.
- Store files in the cloud: 30GB of storage space per account across Gmail and Google Drive. (You may purchase more storage)
- Collaborate in real time with colleagues on grant proposals, meeting agendas, and more through Google Docs.
- Conduct surveys, training assessments and event sign ups through Google Forms.
- Manage appointments and schedules in Google Calendar.
- Monitor group discussions and distribution lists through Google Groups.
- Hold video conference calls for up to 15 participants at a time on your desktop or mobile device; audio and screen sharing tools included with Google Hangouts.
- Free 24/7 support by phone, chat and email.
All of the Google tools are browser based so there is no software. They do have an Outlook sync tool and a nnumber of free iOS and Android applications to work on mobile.
Microsoft has long been a great partner in the nonprofit community through their donation program operated by Techsoup and is no less generous to the nonprofit sector in their cloud offerings. The Microsoft's equivalent Office 365 services to Google Entrprise suite are also donated/free to nonprofits. The free plans for smaller and larger organizations include:
- Branded email with your own domain with 50 GB of storage.
- Online version of MS Office including Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote.
- 1 TB of storage in One Drive for Business.
- Skype for Business which includes unlimited online meetings, IM, and audio, HD video, and web conferencing.
- SharePoint online for intranet sites.
- Yammer enterprise social networking site.
- Other sophisticated features such as Delve for document discovery and Office 365 Groups.
- Solid phone and email support.
While you get a lot including the cloud based online version of Office with the free plans, if you want the full Microsoft Office, you will need to pay for it. You can pay for it a la carte at $2.00/user/month or as part of the business or enterprise plans. The Nonprofit Business Premium Plan is appropriate for a small to mid-sized organization while E3 plan is appropriate for mid-sized to large nonprofit with IT staff to be able to manage and take full advantage of the IT administratiion features. The forthcoming E5 plan will include even more advanced functionality for IT administrators, as well as telephony through Skype for Business and advanced Business Intelligence tools.
At the end of the day, both Google and Microsoft are serving the nonprofit sector very well (unlike some other well known tech companies: Apple and Facebook, I'm looking your way and giving you the side eye). If I had a smaller startup nonprofit Google may be the better option for you given its ease and simplicity. However, if you are an established nonprofit, choose Microsoft's Office 365 for a more robust feature set and a pace of innovation that is delivering improved and new tools month after month while Google fails to keep pace.