Disaster recovery is a critical part of computing for many nonprofits, but for the Heart of Florida United Way, based in Orlando, the threat of hurricanes and other heavy storms made it even more important.
The organization served over 347,500 Floridians last year in a wide range of philanthropic efforts, and that work is only made possible through massive fundraising campaigns and a lot of hard work by the organization’s staff.
With that in mind, the organization began a project to migrate its email network and file servers to the cloud with Office 365. Carolyn Shermer, director of information technology, said the potential for the organization’s email system to go down in the middle of a fundraising campaign was something they could no longer tolerate.
“Email is the lifeblood of this organization, at least at this time,” Shermer said. “In order to complete our fundraising efforts, we need to keep email going. When email goes down, all hell breaks loose around here.”
Shermer said power outages are not uncommon in the area, and the disaster recovery abilities offered by Office 365 and cloud computing offered a tremendous sense of security. The organization has about 150 users during a campaign, and the implementation project included the migration of over 300 mailboxes.
Working remotely wasn’t a huge concern for the organization, as nearly the whole staff works solely on site, but the accessibility and flexibility offered by moving the organization’s Exchange and file servers to the cloud was something to get excited about.
Like many other IT directors we work with, Shermer said the organization’s on-site servers had not only become a “bear to manage,” but she was also uncomfortable letting other people work with the servers in case a mistake was made and the entire system was compromised. By switching over to the cloud, and with Tech Impact’s expert support, Shermer felt a little more comfortable leaving the site for more than a few days at once.
Shermer met the people from Tech Impact at a conference several years ago, when we were still known as Npower, and recently learned about the possibility of nonprofit pricing on Tech Soup. With a little digging, Shermer found out that the Heart of Florida United Way was likely eligible for a grant to help out with the cost of switching to Office 365.
The organization’s ability to communicate with donors is a critical part of their daily business, and the move to Office 365 has given the organization a much greater sense of security and efficiency, Shermer said.
Check out the Heart of Florida United Way’s website to learn more about the great work they do to benefit hundreds of thousands of people each year.