Office 365 volunteer discounts

If you want to get a clear view on MS licensing for non-profits (and get offers on other software as well) join TTExchange/TechSoup. The have advisors who can help, but also provide a central point for licensing and registering with MS and other big software corporations.

@bp908 - we don’t care about Microsoft Office; I’d just like to get some volunteers in Teams (for sound booth, maintenance board, etc.). It looks like you can get Teams for free up to 300 users so it’s a little puzzling that there doesn’t seem to be a way to extend just Teams to volunteers within our Office 365 subscription so we can keep everything in one place. Am I missing something or is the only real path here?

There is the $0 E1 “paid staff” offering that is capped at 300 (we are well below that - less than 100) - can we use that for this role?

Again we don’t want people to get a Microsoft Office license or Exchange mailbox - just access to Teams (Sharepoint would be a bonus but Teams is the big one).

Any insight you can provide would be welcome!

The free E1 license is meant for FTEs (Full Time Employees). You can read the earlier posts about it in this thread.

You might want to consider adding those volunteers as Guests in Teams. No license needed.

And on a side note, Office 365 Business Premium has a limit of 300 but Office 365 E1 and E3 is unlimited. Which means that a non-profit can get unlimited E1 licenses for its staff.


Awesome - thanks!

It still amazes me guests are limited to 5 per E3 sub which seems a bit daft since again, if I use my personal Microsoft login I can set up teams and invite 300 people for free. Oh well - not the first time MS licensing was more restrictive to paying customers than freebies they offered. Luckily I thing we will have just enough slots for the teams we need.

You might want to confer with TechSoup/TT-Exchange regarding Microsoft’s support for charitable organisations. My guess is they do not want to lose their commercial license revenue by having too many business organisations exploiting the tools via a charitable front.
The alternative is - don’t use Microsoft and find something else that does the job

It’s a little daft on the surface, but as an anti-abuse measure I can see it being somewhat reasonable. Remember, the licenses don’t have to be assigned and in a non-profit the E1’s don’t cost anything so you can just “buy” the number of E1’s you need to fulfill your guest-access needs.

My guess is they do not want to lose their commercial license revenue by having too many business organisations exploiting the tools via a charitable front.

What commercial license revenue is threatened? I can set up Teams for free and invite 300 people already. I just want that exact same functionality - not Exchange mailboxes, installable or even Office mobile apps - just the free teams experience that any business can sign up for today and get.

So far Guest access seems like it will fit the bill perfectly so thanks to @Norman for pointing it out.

I couldn’t get it to add people as guests - a fellow volunteer with more experience with Office 365 pointed out you have to enable guest access. Quoting his instructions that worked perfectly:

Login to the Office 365 portal ( as a global admin
Admin Center
Org-wide settings
Guest Access
Turn on “Allow Guest Access”

This takes 12-24 hours to take effect

For those who find this thread via search and want to follow in these steps - be sure to enable guest access and wait for it to take effect or you will get an unhelpful error message.

For anyone finding this now - this discussion was about E1 nonprofit ‘donation/free’ for staff vs E1 ‘volunteer’ paid licences - they are identical other than the target audience. Neither of them would give you the Office suite, Track Changes, and so on, so finding out who is or isn’t a volunteer is only useful if that licence already does what you need it to do.

There is nothing stopping you buying E3 licences, or in fact better Office 365 Business Premium licences, to get the Office suite for people, whether that’s a volunteer or staff or FTE.

E1 Volunteer literally just allows you to remain compliant with the licensing of E1 by not using a completely free licence for a volunteer user. E3 and Business Premium, being paid already, don’t care who you give them to.

I hope the OP found a solution they were happy with, but it looks like determining who is or isn’t a volunteer wouldn’t have helped that much if E1 doesn’t have what you need.

That said, this post did help me work out our own volunteering situation, so thanks everyone for the input.

It looks like the Microsoft Nonprofit FAQ has been updated, it now reads:

Q. Which persons affiliated with the nonprofit organization are eligible to receive donated or discounted user licenses?

Nonprofit donations are permitted only for paid nonprofit employees, and unpaid executive staff who act as leadership for the nonprofit. Nonprofit discounts are permitted for all nonprofit staff and volunteers. Nonprofit beneficiaries, members and donors are NOT eligible for nonprofit licenses and subscriptions. Please visit the eligibility page for more details.

Q. How can I license volunteers in my nonprofit?

If your nonprofit has volunteers that you would like to invite to collaborate with your staff and employees as external guests, you can invite these external users to sign into your site and resources using a personal Microsoft account.

Alternatively, discounted offers are available if you want to provide full Office 365 capabilities, including an organization email address, to your volunteers.

I know this has been a while now, but Track changes is now visible in Word in Office online. :slight_smile: