We utilise industry leading Microsoft 365 Enterprise for Non-Profits platform for our email, document storage, collaboration and online conferencing tools. With the features that Microsoft 365 provides, we’re eager as a District to expand the platform to our Groups and Units. For group management and communicating with parents we use Online Scout Manager.
These tools and hosting would normally cost thousands of pounds year but we are delighted to be able to offer it to Groups and Units for free!
What is Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 provides anywhere access to professional email, calendar, HD video conferencing, and more. Designed to help charities do more good, this fantastic suite of tools provides groups with access to Office Online and Microsoft’s best-in-class cloud-based productivity and collaboration software.
What are the advantages of using privately hosted email?
- All emails are hosted on a private enterprise class server meaning potentially sensitive information is kept safe. Free email accounts are consumer products and do not provide users with the same level of privacy, protection or support.
- Data is backed up so you can retrieve something you may have deleted by mistake.
- With a custom domain name such as firstname.lastname@example.org as well as advanced security features such as SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Parents and outside organisations can be a lot more confident of your identity when receiving emails and access can be revoked during a suspension or after dismissal. Anyone can set up a free Gmail or Hotmail account with something similar to email@example.com and pose as a leader. We want to make sure our adult members are protected from identity theft and safeguard our young people from imposters.
- A Scouting email address allows you to manage and maintain a Scout-Life balance by keeping your Scouting mailbox separate from your personal inbox. Going on that well earned holiday? Temporarily turn off your Scout email without interrupting your personal emails.
- Microsoft 365 has the ability to send and share documents as protected links requiring the recipient to authenticate rather than sending as unprotected attachments.
- It looks professional. Quite often Scouting will lead you to have contact and dealings with public officials, MPs, Councillors, Business leaders or grant funders and having your own official scout email address will give a much better impression.
- When your group sign up for the system, you will automatically get a address book of all the people in your own group as well Mersey Weaver which will update as people join the organisation and leave – so you can always get hold of the people you need to and respect the privacy of those who have left.
- Centrally managed distribution lists can be setup so that you can be confident everyone who is supposed to receives your email.
What else does my Group get?
By hosting your Group’s email with us, you will receive for FREE:
- a free domain name provided by us (e.g. 1stmoorescoutgroup.org.uk, 4thwidnesscoutgroup.org.uk)
- Secure personalised business class email, calendar, and contacts with a 50 GB inbox (Microsoft Exchange)
- Personal File storage and sharing with 1 TB of OneDrive storage
- Collaboration services to securely store & backup documents (SharePoint). Essential for succession planning.
- Unlimited online meetings, instant messaging, audio, HD video, and web conferencing (Teams)
- Secure social media and networking platform (Yammer)
- Power Automate for Automation of processes and integration with third party services.
- Microsoft Forms for secure data collection.
- Web versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and more
- Kanban style management tools to help teams create plans, organise, assign and collaborate around tasks (Microsoft Planner).
- Professional digital storytelling tools to create interactive reports, presentations, newsletters and more (Microsoft Sway)
- District-based technical support when you need it.
- Access to the Mersey Weaver members area based on SharePoint.
- Access to the District Directory
- Full GDPR compliance & alignment.
What is Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with our Microsoft 365 subscription and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products.
Microsoft Teams is a comparable to services such as Slack, WhatsApp and Zoom and is the evolution from Skype for Business. Teams allows communities, groups, or teams to join online voice or video meetings through a link or invitation or host live broadcasts as well as direct message, have group chats and share or collaborate on documents.
- Video conferencing
- Live broadcasts
- Screen sharing
- Chat & instant messaging
- File sharing
- Document collaboration
- Apps and workflows
Where can I find help?
What is Online Scout Manager?
Online Scout Manager (OSM) is a youth management system and platform for Scout Groups and Explorer Sections. As well as managing personal data it enables leaders to email parents, track badge progress, organise and publish a programme, track growth, manage event attendance, handle payments, claim gift aid, maintain and inventory of equipment and much more! Every Section in the district is provided with access to a Gold+ OSM subscription for free.
How do I access OSM?
Access to Online Scout Manager is given to you once you have completed a DBS, GDPR training and been issued with a Scout email account. Your Group Scout Leader or District Explorer Scout Commissioner will give you access using your Scout email.
What are the advantages of OSM
- GDPR compliant data storage.
- All data related to running your section in one place.
- Time and effort completing admin.
- Data is accessible to everyone in the group that needs it
- No more paper! Better for the environment and on your purse!
- Smooth handovers when leadership changes / volunteers join and leave.
- Smooth transfers between sections and groups
- No trips to the bank or wasted time collecting forms, cash or cheques.
- Easy gift aid claims
What does my Group/Unit get?
Every section/unit is provided with a Gold+ Subscription worth £42 per section per year. Included in the package is the ability to:
- Send emails and newsletters with read receipts
- Track Attendance register
- Track Badge records & calculate eligibility
- Share badge progress with parents
- Badge stock & shopping lists
- Plan your programme
- Manage events and attendance
- Massive activities database
- Parent rota
- Quartermaster’s database
- Parents can pay for events and fees
- Parents can sign up to events
- Parents can view the programme
- Parents can see their child’s badge progress
- Parents can keep their contact and medical info up to date
- Collect payments via direct debit or credit/debit card.
- Parents always kept informed with automated emails
- Integration with the Gift Aid system for easy claims
- Census Aggregator
- Expense Tracking + Receipt Uploads
Where can I find help?
You can find help from within Online Scout Manager it self via the help menu in the bottom right. Alternatively why not ask in the OSM Teams channel and see if another leader in the district can help you?
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