As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Southern Africa, organisations, business and corporates are encouraging their staff to work remotely if possible. While a planned transition to a remote workforce would typically be staged over time, one may need to be implemented quickly in this scenario.
Because the current situation with COVID-19 is changing so rapidly, the resources we’re providing below (most of which are free) are options that can be implemented relatively quickly, with little to no external IT support needed to do so and with a focus on remote communications and information sharing solutions.
Of course, there are many types of nonprofits that are not able to implement work-from-home policies due to the nature of their work, including museums, shelters, and health care providers. But if you are part of an organisation that is able to continue to operate if your staff are all working remotely from home, we hope that what follows is of use to you and your nonprofit.
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Office 365 Nonprofit + Microsoft 365 Nonprofit
Communications and Collaboration
- Cloud-hosted email (Outlook)
- The most up-to-date versions of productivity apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Teams (powerful communications and collaboration software)
File Storage and Collaboration
Remote Access Management
- Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) for mobile device management (with Microsoft 365 only)
- Windows OS Defender (with Microsoft 365 only)
The Microsoft Digital Skills Center offers courses on how to make the most of these Microsoft tools.
G Suite for Nonprofit Users
G Suite for Nonprofits provides access to G Suite Basic, using your domain, for free. Like Office 365, G Suite offers the core solutions your nonprofit needs via a comprehensive array of cloud-based apps.
Communications and Collaboration
- Cloud-hosted email (Gmail)
- Productivity apps including Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
- Google Hangouts Meet (premium functionality is free until July 1.)
- Google Drive
Zoom is a video and audio conferencing platform that enables both simple online meetings and group messaging. Staff can participate in Zoom meetings from both mobile devices and laptop or desktop computers.
As organisations increase the use of remote work tools, Zoom usage has skyrocketed. With this, some basic flaws in Zoom’s native and default security have come to light, along with increased concern over privacy.
See guidelines on how to set up your Zoom account correctly here.
Workplace from Facebook
Workplace from Facebook is another great option that’s free to nonprofits. It’s sort of like an internal Facebook just for you and your employees and volunteers, but it’s on a separate application from your personal Facebook accounts. Workplace is designed to help teams communicate, share, and make decisions together in a secure and private space online that’s independent of whatever other platforms you use for email and document storage. Here’s a recent blog post from the folks at Workplace that highlights how this tool can be used to stay connected during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Box is another great option for small organisations (needing 10 or fewer licenses) looking to move documents quickly into the cloud. Box is relatively easy to get set up, but if you need help, please contact us here.
To help nonprofits during the COVID-19 outbreak, Asana and TechSoup South Africa have reduced the admin fee for Asana Premium or Business licenses to eligible NPOs.
Learn more about how your NPO can use Asana here.
TeamViewer is a cloud-based service that provides remote access and collaboration tools. Access a 60% discount offer on TeamViewer licenses here.
DocuSign is a cloud-based software tool that is used to send documents for electronic signatures (e-signatures). The DocuSign donation programme at TechSoup provides e-signature and transaction management software to eligible nonprofits, charities, and public libraries.
Cyber attacks can be especially devastating to Nonprofits resulting in a loss of contributions and reputational harm.
The Bitdefender donation program at Enclude provides antivirus and security software to eligible nonprofits and charities throughout the United States.
You can use Bitdefender software to enhance security on networked Windows and Mac computers, Windows servers, and mobile devices.
AWS – Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a broad set of global cloud-based products including compute, storage, databases, analytics, networking, mobile, developer tools, management tools, IoT, security and enterprise applications. These services help organisations move faster, lower IT costs, and scale.
The AWS Credits Programme for Nonprofits provides credit for cloud services to eligible nonprofits and public libraries throughout TechSoup South Africa. This grant provides US$2,000 in AWS credits valid for 12 months that can be applied toward usage fees for AWS on-demand cloud services. Organisations may request one grant of US$2,000 in AWS credits per fiscal year.
We have partnered with TechSoup USA and TechSoup Kenya to provide Nonprofit Organisations and Libraries in Southern Africa access to the eLearning range of TechSoup Courses. TechSoup’s Course content is designed specifically for staff at nonprofit organisations and libraries. We work with subject matter experts who also have deep experience with nonprofits.
Start eLearning here.
- Remote Work Policy and Agreement – click to download
- Pandemic Planning Policy – click to download
- Nonprofit Technology Policy Workbook – click to download
- Pivoting to Remote Work – COVID-19 Response for Nonprofits – click to join free online course
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