Remote meetings and collaboration

In these times of COVID-19 and the measures imposed on us by government, we want team up with the other JCI families to keep you informed. Many people have questions about JCI events on all levels: are they being postponed, cancelled, what can we do to keep working on projects, etc. Jeroen Huylebroeck, member of JCI Aalst, wrote this article to inform you about the possibilities Microsoft offers to work remotely and collaborate online.

There are quite a few tools to share online, like Google Drive, Dropbox, WeTrransfer or OneDrive. There are also many ways for people to chat or do (video) conferences online: you probably know Skype, WhatsApp, Slack and so on. Often they offer Freemium models: a number of features is available free of charge, but if you want more, you need to start paying.


While many of these services work correctly, there are 2 common pitfalls.

Fragmentation: These specialized services are not part of 1 platform. As a result, users have to register individually, a separate login is required for each platform and information is often distributed through various channels. This can lead to people getting lost, data getting lost, duplicates and complex version management, multiple and longer learning curves, and … potential data breaches.

Lack of “control”: Many of these services operate primarily through a “peer-to-peer” approach. This means that it is mainly individual people who create and share data, again with one or more other individuals. And that over as many channels as fragmentation has happened. This also has potential consequences for your local department. After all, it is responsible and liable (just think of the GDPR) for the correct management and handling of data and (in the slightest case) handling any data breaches.

And what now?

Now we are in the corona crisis. Suddenly we can no longer come together to meet and discuss. Suddenly, the need for technological aids is extra urgent. Suddenly that fragmentation and use of control become extra painful. While no single solution is foolproof and comprehensive, Microsoft has made great efforts in recent years on its “Microsoft 365” platform. This is a service where you can safely do email, file sharing, chat, audio and video conferencing, co-authoring, etc. But it also costs money …

Concretely: to be in order with your licenses, you also have to pay something as a non-profit unless you only use the “Freemium” version of 1 of the products: Microsoft Teams.

What does it cost

Actually… very little.

Microsoft applies the following rule for their entry-level formula (Office 365 E1) regarding free donation licenses: “Nonprofit offers are only for paid employees of nonprofits and unpaid FTW employees (full-time equivalent) with material day-to-day management, operational and fiduciary responsibilities, which do not use the license to generate personal income. Volunteers, nonprofit members, and beneficiaries are NOT eligible for nonprofit licenses and subscriptions. ” (source: In short: This does not apply in a JCI context.

However, there is also an offer for volunteers / members, called “Office 365 E1 for nonprofit volunteers”: This is not free, but it is cheap. After all, this costs EUR 2.05 (incl. VAT) per member, per month, or EUR 24.54 (incl. VAT) per member, per year.

However, during this crisis period, Microsoft also made this suite free of charge for a limited time! You can now use this service for free for 6 months. (source:

In short: you have no reason not to introduce this now. Once you have activated this suite, you will receive for each of your members:

  • A professional mailbox with calendar and contact management with 50 GB that you can link to your own domain name (“” eg). This is also the username with corresponding password for all other services.
  • Strong access security through simple activation of multi-factor authentication
    1 TB of personal cloud file storage via OneDrive for Business
  • Access to the full web and smartphone versions of the various Office applications
    • Become
    • Excel
    • PowerPoint
    • Outlook
  • Unlocking the premium capabilities of various Windows 10, Android, iOS and web apps such as
    • Microsoft To-Do (integrated with Microsoft Planner, Sticky Notes, OneNote & Outlook)
    • Microsoft Forms
    • Microsoft Sway
    • Microsoft Kaizala
    • (Controlled) access to all services of the local department, as configured in the management portal

In addition to that as a local organization you get:

  • Unlimited number of 10 GB shared mailboxes to which you can give members access (or deny them), such as,,, …
  • Centrally managed cloud storage and web portal with access rights management on Microsoft SharePoint. (1 TB + 10 GB per user license)
  • A central digital bulletin board for announcements, thanks to Yammer.
  • A simple system for division of tasks and follow-up thanks to Planner
  • A full-fledged platform to collaborate and meet with people inside and outside your local JCI department thanks to Microsoft Teams


How do you register for this offer?

  1. (Optional): Consult with a Microsoft Partner accredited for nonprofit licensing.
  2. Visit the portal:
  3. Click the blue “register” button at the bottom

  1. Click until you can enter data:

  1. Further steps are self-explanatory.

Accreditation after this process can take a few days, but usually goes quite smoothly once you have completed these steps. Techsoup / Socialware does the necessary administration behind the scenes for this. This accreditation also gives you some additional benefits (which do not cost money), but we will not elaborate on that.

Are you still reluctant to opt for this offer? Then there is also the “Freemium” version of Microsoft Teams, even if you lack all the other, at least as valuable possibilities that Office 365 E1 brings.

OK, now you are fully engaged, but you still have to get started. We’ve got you covered:

  • This video can already get you on the right track, and only takes 20 minutes of your time.
  • Techsoup offers a 90 minute course.
  • Microsoft offers a lot of support and additional training via their dedicated page.

Do you have any questions? This explanation was written for you by Jeroen Huylebroeck, member of JCI Aalst and partner at Flexamit. Flexamit is also a Microsoft Partner certified to support non-profit organizations. Feel free to contact him at or call him at +32 478 67 43 24.

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