Here are some Microsoft 365 tips and hard-to-find tricks to make your nonprofit more efficient. 

Technology has had an incredible impact upon our lives. From the software we use to the devices that run them, our everyday tech has forever changed the way we work and communicate.

It’s no wonder technology plays such an important role in the success of a nonprofit. When your nonprofit maximizes technology’s ability to increase productivity and make work easier, nonprofits operate more efficiently and can achieve greater outcomes. That means you can spend more time helping others and succeeding in your mission.

Microsoft has long been at the forefront of technological innovation. And thanks to their Microsoft 365 resources for nonprofits, charities are able to run more efficiently and better engage with donors and volunteers.

Microsoft 365 comes with a host of Office apps. And if your organization uses any of them, you already know how versatile they are. Whether you’re working on a spreadsheet in Excel, watching a PowerPoint presentation, or responding to emails and checking your calendar in Outlook, Microsoft makes it easy to work efficiently.

Chances are you’re probably already familiar with many of the features offered in your favorite Microsoft products. But there are still plenty of lesser-known tips and tricks that you and your fellow coworkers and volunteers can use to take your productivity to an even higher level.

Here are some helpful Microsoft 365 hacks to boost productivity and ensure you’re making the most of your Microsoft 365 resources for nonprofits.


SharePoint is a cloud service that keeps you connected to your intranet, even when you’re on the go. If you use this a lot, make sure you’re maximizing your collaboration time with these features:

Update Alert: SharePoint lets you set alerts that inform you when changes are made to any items in your libraries or even the entire library. You can set up to be alerted through email or text message.

Restore or view previous versions: Sharing files for others to work on is less stressful when you can recover older versions. Restore is that lifesaver that lets you recover files that have been deleted.

SharePoint has two recycle bins: The site recycle bin is where an item goes first when it’s deleted. It then goes to the site collection recycle bin. You have 93 days before something gets permanently deleted.

You can also recover older versions of items that may have been deleted, corrupted, or infected with malware. It works with entire libraries of files as well. Just make sure your version history is turned on and you’ve chosen how many drafts and versions of files you want saved.


Outlook is a robust email program with features that not only let you manage your inbox but also helps keep your life organized. Here are some ways to help you save time and ensure faster navigation:

Recall or replace a sent message: Have you ever hit send on a message, only to realize it wasn’t finished or had a glaring error that you only noticed at the last second? We’ve all been there. Instead of wasting a second with regret, delete or replace the message. Go to your Sent Items folder. Double click the message. From the Message tab, select Actions > Recall This Message. If you and the recipient are both using a Microsoft 365 email account and are in the same organization, you have the option to delete the message or delete and replace the message before its read.

Shortcuts: Work your Outlook messaging like a pro. Some of the popular shortcuts include:

  • Reply to an email: Ctrl + R
  • Create a new email: Ctrl + shift + M
  • Check for new messages: Ctrl + M
  • Open address book: Ctrl + shift + B
  • Access keys: Alt or F6
  • Create an appointment: Ctrl + shift + A
  • Create a meeting request: Ctrl + shift + Q


Excel is a powerful spreadsheet application that makes it easier to crunch numbers. Whether you’re a pro with this app or a novice, these tips will help make it easier to manage data.

Copy format: Don’t waste time formatting rows and rows of data. Copy the cell that has the formatting you want. Right click in the cell you want to paste it in and select “Paste Special.”  Select the option that fits your needs.

Insert multiple rows and columns: Need to move a number of columns and rows and insert new ones? Just highlight the number of rows you want to move, right click the first column or row you highlighted, and click insert.

Shortcuts: Faster than using a mouse, keyboard shortcuts save time and make you more efficient at the tasks you’re performing. Try these Excel shortcuts:

  1. Shift between files: The Ctrl + Tab shortcut lets you quickly shift between all the files you might keep open.
  2. Filter data: To hide the data you don’t need and make viewing easier, select Data > Filter and then select the arrows in the column headers you want to filter. 


Microsoft Teams is a communication platform that lets you connect, collaborate, and work with team members. To maximize how you’re communicating, make sure to try these tips:

Polly: This is an engagement app that helps you create instant polls in your Teams channel. Polly is great because it can help you quickly gather feedback and insight. Polly even lets you track, analyze, and share real-time results.

Translate: If you have team members who are more comfortable speaking a different language, Teams has your nonprofit covered. Whether you’re speaking or reading a message in a different language, Teams can translate it and let everyone speak the language they’re most comfortable.

Shortcuts: Make your life easier by using commands. Just type / in the command box at the top of Teams, and you’ll get a list of commands. Some of the best include:

  1. /away: Set your status to away
  2. /call: This command makes it easy to call a number or Teams contact
  3. /dnd: Set your status to do not disturb
  4. /files: This shows you your recent files
  5. /goto: This takes you straight to the team or channel you’re looking for
  6. /keys: This gives you a list of shortcuts so you don’t have to remember them all
  7. /mentions: See all the messages you were mentioned in.
  8. /saved: See all your saved messages.
  9. /unread: Catch up on any unread messages.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Try out the @ symbol in the command box for a list of actions, including:

  1. @News: Provides easy access to what’s going on in the world
  2. @Places: Look up a business’ address, hours, reviews, and more
  3. @Praise: A great reminder to give people the recognition they deserve
  4. @YouTube: Makes it easier to find YouTube content


Yammer, the social networking tool, makes it easier to stay engaged with what’s going on within your organization and beyond. For a better experience, make sure you’re using these tips:

Customize your Yammer experience: If you’re a network admin, you can upload your nonprofit’s logo to display on your Yammer home page and in Yammer email notifications.

Question feature: Sometimes questions get lost in a general discussion post. The question post makes it easier to get and find the best answer. Start a conversation using the question format. Select the best answer from your responses, and it gets pinned at the top. Now you won’t have to search through discussion posts looking for an answer.

Bookmark feature: Bookmarking everything of value in Yammer makes it easier to find later. Just click the More icon and select Bookmark. If you like following a thread and getting updates when someone responds, this is the feature for you.

Topics: Add, edit, and remove topics in Yammer. This is a great way to keep track of multiple discussions that revolve around the same topic that throughout multiple conversations.

Announcement: Did you know that five times as many people in a Yammer group are likely to read and act on a message posted as an announcement? If you’re an admin of a group, there’s no reason to miss out on using this feature when you need an action carried out.

For more Yammer tips, be sure to follow the Yammer Twitter Account

Why it matters

Microsoft Office apps and cloud services make it easy for nonprofits to communicate and collaborate in a secure environment. But more importantly, thanks to Microsoft 365 resources for nonprofits, charitable organizations can receive grants and discounts on many Microsoft products. In the United States, if you are a nonprofit organization and have obtained 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, you’re eligible for a number of Microsoft products for free or discounted rates. This includes:

Microsoft 365 Business Premium: Eligible nonprofits can receive a grant for up to 10 seats and a discounted pricing of $5 per additional user.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise: Eligible nonprofits can receive a grant for up to five seats and 75% off the monthly rate for a reduced price of $23.80 per user.

So if you haven’t already invested in their time-saving, collaborative software, visit the Microsoft Office 365 Nonprofit site today to see if you’re eligible.

By Richard Morris