Which Non-profits Qualify for Free Office 365 Subscriptions in Canada?

It’s been over a month since Microsoft announced that they’d be making subscriptions of their cloud-based productivity and collaboration tool Office 365 available to non-profits organizations around the world for no charge.

itgroove summarized the key benefits of the technology game changer in their press release “Microsoft Donates Free Office 365 Subscriptions to Canadian Non-profits” on September 25th.  To sum it up in even more brevity:


Free, easy to use, and loaded with value Office 365 empowers team collaboration with anywhere access to web-based versions of the Office software we know and are familiar with – including professional email, calendars, web conferencing and file sharing. The package even includes an Intranet site to store and share documents online as well as a public facing website – without additional hosting fees.


This donation has been available since September. According to a conversation I had with TechSoup Canada last Thursday, there is no identified cap or limit on the number of donations being made by Microsoft. There is also no identified cut off or end date for the donation program at this time.


Available in 41 different countries – Canada included. This number will increase to 90 countries by July 2014.




The purpose of the donation is to empower non-profit staff to “do more good” by enabling them to work on initiatives that directly reflect their organizations’ mandate. Instead of deviating their time, resources, and budget to managing their technology, non-profits can now focus their energy on addressing community and global issues.

Who is Eligible?

As there’s already been changes to the eligibility requirements, here’s a simple summary:

Non-profit organizations must:

  • hold recognized, charitable status in Canada,
  • operate on a not-for-profit basis, and
  • have a mission to benefit the local community.

Note: There is no minimum or maximum number of employees/volunteers required to qualify.


Who is Not Eligible?

  • Governmental organizations or agencies
  • Schools, colleges and universities including non-profit schools.
  • Most healthcare organizations
  • Commerce and Trade Associations without charitable aims or activities benefitting      non-members;
  • Sponsorships of events, tables, exhibitions, or performances;
  • Fund-raising events such as luncheons, dinners, walks, runs, or sports tournaments;
  • Political, Labor, and Fraternal organizations;
  • Religious or faith based organizations that have not obtained recognized charitable status
  • Individuals.

Exceptions That Are Eligible:

  • Independent non-profit community healthcare organizations, behavioral and women’s health clinics; hospices; emergency services; and blood banks.
  • Commerce and Trade Associations with charitable aims or activities benefitting non-members;
  • NEW: Religious or faith based organizations – churches, synagogues, and missions with a focus on worship and evangelism that have obtained recognized charitable status.

For a detailed list of specific eligibility exclusions.

Stay tuned for a step-by-step instructions on how to obtain a free Office 365 subscription for your organization.