Take advantage of this virtual tool for remote workers

By now, most of us are seeing the benefits of actually seeing our friends and colleagues when we meet with them remotely. While most nonprofit organizations already have some sort of conferencing software available, the use and adoption of those systems presents some challenges.

Before rushing out to adopt a new system, don’t overlook the one you may already have!

Microsoft Teams for Nonprofits

If you are an Office 365 subscriber you have access to one of the best video chat and web event platforms available, Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams was added to Office 365 back in 2017 and has been continually updated over time. You can get to it by going to https://teams.microsoft.com

Microsoft Teams is secure by design and follows Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Security Development Lifecycle. The detailed guide to their security practices is outlined in their Teams Security Guide.  Teams provides a secure way to collaborate with colleagues on Mac or Windows computers using chat, audio and video calls.  It also integrates seamlessly with Outlook and Microsoft Office.

What can Teams do?

Teams really shines when there are 4-5 participants in a meeting. While in a meeting, you can chat with other participants and even share files. You can also easily record meetings and have them automatically stored in another Office 365 service, Microsoft Stream. Teams also allows you to add the ability to dial-in to a meeting or call someone from Teams to have them join an active meeting. This requires an audio conferencing add-on that’s just $1.60/user per month for nonprofits.

Microsoft is updating the capability of Teams to show up to 9 participants on the meeting stage starting in April. It will likely take a few months until it is rolled out to all tenants. Another anticipated new feature update is the ability to display custom backgrounds. Teams now provides a set of custom background images in addition to the standard background blur option. You can have fun putting yourself on the beach, in a spacecraft, or just a mod loft apartment.

There are many resources for getting started with Microsoft Teams as a nonprofit both from an IT Admin perspective and as an end user. Here are some curated resources to get started:

Other Video Conference Options

If your organization is using Zoom, be sure to check out the discounting available through TechSoup for their Business and Pro subscriptions.

Microsoft Teams for nonprofits and Zoom aren’t the only options available for video conferencing, popular as they are. For GSuite/Google users, there is Hangouts for group video calls.  

If privacy and nonprofit cybersecurity are the utmost requirements then solutions such as Signal or Keybase can be used to ensure the privacy of your communications. These solutions are known as “zero knowledge” encryption solutions where the service provider doesn’t hold the encryption keys for the data that flows through their platform. Google also provides Duo for end to end video calls

Need other remote working solutions?

At Community IT, we have supported nonprofits as they have moved to the cloud, and helped enable remote workers for years. We know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for remote support that works. We accurately assess, implement, and manage cloud solutions for nonprofit organizations so that you can spend your time building your remote team, not worrying about the technology to support them.

We created this roundup of remote work tips and resources to assist our community.

And we always consider cybersecurity concerns front and foremost as we help our clients and community work successfully from home.

Ready to support your staff working from home?

At Community IT Innovators, we’ve found that many nonprofit organizations have already made moves to not just allow remote work but actually embrace remote workers and develop a supportive culture.

Our techs are well-versed in supporting organizations that support remote work. We constantly research and evaluate new technology solutions to ensure that you get cutting-edge solutions that are tailored to keep your organization thriving. And we ensure you get the highest value possible by bringing 25 years of expertise in exclusively serving nonprofits to bear in your environment.

If you’re ready for nonprofit IT support that supports your remote workers, whether Microsoft Teams for nonprofits or other options, let’s talk.