NGOs get Office 365 free

Attendees at  the Microsoft NGO Connection Day held recently at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.
Attendees at the Microsoft NGO Connection Day held recently at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad.

Non-governmental organisations can now get a boost in their capabilities though Office 365 software being offered to them free of charge, Microsoft announced at its recently held NGO Connection Day.

Microsoft partnered with the local arm of the international NGO, United Way, to host the event held on June 13 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Over 40 local NGOs attended the session which aimed to encourage them in boosting their efficiency through the use of technology, and is part of Microsoft’s drive to engage these charities and equip them with state-of-the-art practices and technology.

Speaking at the event, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender Youth and Child Development Sandra Jones commended Microsoft for engaging these NGOs. “The international Connection Days are a progressive initiative that brings together development advocates and local partners, to advance non-governmental organisation programmes and operational activities through increased access to, and use of, information and communication technology,” Jones said.

Since 2007, NGO Connection Days worldwide have helped charities strengthen their resources through technology and best practices workshops.  NGO Connection Days are hosted annually and feature the company’s latest products and programmes as well as other topics of interest and importance to nonprofits. Presentations at the local Connection Day focused on good governance and accountability in the management of NGOs.

“NGOs must be able to become aware of and integrate the technology that is available to them, not only to increase their internal efficiency but also so that they are able to deliver effective and responsive programmes and services,” said Pamela Francis, chief executive officer, United Way Trinidad and Tobago.

The event is one of several Microsoft initiatives in Trinidad and Tobago. It comes ahead of the launch of a Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) in August 2014. The MIC will provide facilitates to promote and support innovation through the use of Microsoft technology with nonprofits, University students, faculty, community and start-ups.

“Non-profits operate in the same way as other businesses.  Microsoft is committed to empowering these NGOs through initiatives like YouthSpark, NGO Connection Day, the Office 365 donation, and Microsoft Innovation Centre, to help them manage and grow their organisations in today’s knowledge economy,” said Frances Correia, country manager Microsoft Trinidad & Tobago, Eastern & Southern Caribbean, LATAM New Markets. “With the best practices shared at the event, combined with the donation which offers best-in-class cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools, we hope NGOs spend less resources and time on IT and focus on their missions to address global issues like disease eradication, education and literacy, and environmental sustainability.”

Nonprofits and NGOs interested in implementing Microsoft Office 365 can check eligibility here