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Like any nonprofit, we like to take advantage of the product donations that are on offer for charities, churches, foundations, and libraries. This is our story on how we use Box, the online file-sharing, content management, and collaboration service. We have come to rely on Box because we share documents across programs inside our organization and with our partner organizations around the world.
TechSoup is a pretty big nonprofit with 200 staff people. We have a main office in San Francisco, plus an office in London and one in Warsaw. We also have more than 60 partner NGOs who bring our product donations to other countries.
We needed a simple and easy-to-use solution to share PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, photos, and videos within and outside the organization.
We found a great solution in Box, which we've been using for the past year for multiple purposes but mostly as a digital asset management tool.
We use a Box Business Plus account. The Business Plus account includes unlimited storage. See this matrix for more account features.
We especially like the metadata (data about data) feature. An example of a metadata tag is one we use for our branding across different countries. This tag allows us to search and quickly find all images and logos we and our partners use for TechSoup product donations.
We have lots of photos, and they're a challenge to organize. In Box, photos can be reviewed in either list or tile (large thumbnail) view to make identification easy. Uploading, downloading, and sharing permissions for each folder is also easily done.
And we've enjoyed the sync function. It allows staff to view and reorganize documents in folders on individual laptops and then sync changes to the Box online platform.
Reorganizing and moving folders within our account is also easy. That's important so that our naming conventions and the organizing of folder hierarchies is kept nice and tidy. We found it necessary to establish naming conventions and folder hierarchies before adding lots of content to Box.
Although we use SharePoint for secure internal document sharing, we like to use Box for its easy bulk downloads and photo thumbnail views. It also has good permissions management; administrators can get to any document, but most other users have access to just the specific documents they need. Box also makes it easy to share documents with outside organizations.
We're actually a pretty heavy user of Box. Our needs are beyond the basic Box Starter Edition offer. We use the Box Business or Enterprise Edition, which is discounted by 50 percent from retail pricing.
Our monthly charges are determined by the number of licenses. We are currently using nine licenses, with more planned.
Another Box benefit is customer support. On the rare occasions when we have a need, Box responds quickly. One of our users accidentally deleted a user license with many images in it and Box was able to restore it within a day.
Even though I wear many hats at TechSoup, Box' good support has enabled me to supervise our account. Supervising entails managing team and individual permissions, knowing how to search and find where specific documents are located, and helping our staff and partners in several locations use the service.
The only item on our wish list for future Box releases would be batch tagging. Batch tagging would give us the ability to tag all the photos in a particular folder without the necessity of manually adding metadata tags to each individual picture or document.
Box has generously made its product donations available to NGOs in nearly every country in the world through the TechSoup Global Network of 69 partner organizations. Box allows NGOs to have their critical data securely stored in the cloud. This functionality is immensely important to the many international NGOs working in the field of human rights and other mission areas that require confidentiality.
TechSoup is actually not so different than your organization. We love to use the donated and discounted products from our generous donor partners.
The Box Donation Program on TechSoup offers a standard or starter plan for up to 10 users and 100 GB of storage. For unlimited storage and special features like metadata tagging, business and enterprise accounts are available at a 50 percent discount. Larger organizations (more than 25 employees) can work with a Box account executive to determine the best plan based on organizational requirements.
Learn more about Box
Image 1: Glenn Hirsch
Image 2: TechSoup
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.