Trees for the Future Grows Up with Microsoft 365

As a long-time Google shop, international NGO Trees for the Future “woke up one morning” and realized their current platform wasn’t sustainable. Trees for the Future (TREES) works with thousands of farming families across sub-Saharan Africa. In its 30-year existence, TREES had accumulated a lot of content, which people were frustrated trying to find. Field workers in its nine countries weren’t connected to Headquarters in Maryland. External stakeholders were withholding business due to the lack of security of the Google platform. 

Part of TREES’ mission is to train farmers in agroforestry and sustainable land use – so that they can grow vibrant regional economies, thriving food systems, and a healthier planet. To provide a more vibrant workplace and a thriving business, TREES set out for a change. A big change, and in a hurry. The initiative led them to fully migrate to Microsoft 365, using nearly all of the available services, including SharePoint and Teams Phone System. 

We sat down with Humphrey Mensah, Senior Director of Finance and Administration at Trees for the Future. Humphrey explained the urgency to move, how Microsoft is enabling the organization to fulfill its mission, and how eGroup | Enabling Technologies helped get them there. 

Technology is the Equalizer

First, Mr. Mensah shared his remarkable view of how “technology is the equalizer” for non-profits, and how M365 is helping TREES: 

Choosing and Getting Funding for The Right Solution

Prior to migrating from Google, TREES looked at their options, including other Google services. They found Microsoft 365 to be the best cost/benefit. Humphrey also shares with us some techniques for getting funding from the NGO’s supporters in this clip. 

Short-Term Timelines Met by eGroup | Enabling Technologies

After many user complaints about their old system and realizing that the US Government required TREES to use a more secure platform, multiple critical priorities were set 

Learn how they managed to meet these auspicious goals with the help of eGroup | Enabling Technologies.

Enabling Worldwide Collaboration

TREES has just under 300 employees, but only 10% work in the Maryland Headquarters. The other team members are in the project regions, to better understand local context and truly help both the farmers and their land thrive– based on their individual and community needs. Here you’ll learn how their sub-Saharan community finds value in using Teams and the Microsoft 365 stack on their mobile devices.

Training and Adoption Changes

When rolling out a new platform, eGroup | Enabling Technologies and TREES agreed that it’s critical to meet the user community “where they are.” It’s no surprise, training is in the DNA at TREES. Education is foundational to help farmers gain independence. In fact, most of the TREES team is made-up of trainers that travel daily to educate farmers on techniques and ensure they are successful. 

Enabling’s training (in English and French) helped successfully explain how to use the Microsoft 365 stack, but there were challenges! Hear about both in this segment, where Mensah describes the tradeoffs between minimizing privileges in SharePoint for security’s sake, without disrupting the user experience. 

Unsustainable land use is at the root of the world’s most pressing challenges. Trees have the power to support communities, improve lives, and restore the planet. Similarly, software has the power to change the way TREES worked, but one of the board’s main concerns was adoption. Mensah said, “With any new technology, you want people to adopt it.” After years of using Google, TREES enlisted eGroup | Enabling Technologies to ensure a proper Microsoft 365 rollout to maximize return on investment (ROI). Here’s how…

Business and Board Reaction

Trees transform lives & landscapes, and Microsoft 365 transformed the security and scale of services that TREES provides. Board Member Humphrey Mensah explains how migrating from Google to Microsoft 365 has improved TREES’ ability to win new contracts with stakeholders that expect a secure, easy to use system. 

Furthermore, Mr. Mensah has seen some impactful Microsoft 365 use cases at the NGO. Here he explains his experience with TREES: 

What do board members think about using Microsoft 365? As a board member himself, Humphrey explains the boardroom improvements seen with Microsoft 365.  

On Working with eGroup | Enabling Technologies

Watch Mr. Mensah outline the key enablers of the success.

It is with great respect and honor that eGroup | Enabling Technologies is able to assist NGOs like Trees for the Future. We’re proud to have a small hand in improving their life-changing, and ecologically changing, mission. Thank you for the partnership, and keep growing, TREES! www.trees.org