Flying Copilot With Microsoft’s New AI Tool
AI Published Date, 2024

Flying Copilot With Microsoft’s New AI Tool

Created By: Terry Cangelosi
February 13, 2024

As Orr Group continues to explore the benefits and risks of using AI to enhance work and reduce administrative burden for the nonprofit sector, a recent tool that we’ve been excited to test out is Microsoft’s Copilot for Microsoft 365. While the tool has been available for preview since the fall, it only became available to business customers with fewer than 300 users on January 16th.  Since then, our AI Taskforce has dug in to see what value it could bring to an organization. In this post, I’ll provide an overview of Copilot, some highlights and lowlights of its features, and generally share my experiences and recommendations.

A few things to keep in mind before we get started.

  1. This post is based off my experience as of February 13th, 2024. As with all things AI, these products evolve quickly. Microsoft’s roadmap identifies some exciting releases ahead.
  2. Orr Group is a Microsoft 365 house, meaning we can use Copilot for our email in addition to our document creation. While this tool could add value to Google Workspace users too, I’m looking at it through the lens of using Microsoft products internally.
  3. Microsoft Copilot has 3 different tiers, a “free” version, a “Pro” version, available for personal or family accounts only, and the business/enterprise-tier version. This post will focus on the features in the business/enterprise version.
  4. It’s important to consider your organization’s data security and access policies and practices before considering a rollout. While Copilot usage and data are secured within your environment (i.e. usage does not get used to train public-facing data), it’s only as secure as your organization’s governance.
Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 is Microsoft’s new AI-powered assistant that is integrated in many of the tools we use daily: Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Unlike ChatGPT or other tools, which require going to a separate site or app to access, Copilot is built into the Microsoft 365 apps directly, like a better version of Clippy. Using natural language to complete tasks, draft responses, or search your files, it is designed to cut down on the clicks and expedite your work.  

Based on my own usage, here are some of my highlights and lowlights:


👍 Without a doubt, the ability to quickly summarize long email chains with succinct, high-level summaries has been a game changer.  While cross-checking the content within the threads is still needed at times, getting the context of an email thread can be done with a click.

👎 While it can draft emails for you, I found that Copilot in Outlook struggles to capture my voice. I spent more time entering the prompt and revising the outcome than it would have taken to write the email.


👍 Using Copilot in Word, you can quickly get a document drafted and formatted with a few clicks. With long documents, you can summarize text blocks or ask questions directly in the document, like a living FAQ. Finally, you can reference previously created documents and have a new document created using “your voice.”

👎 “Something went wrong. Please try again in a moment.” Copilot provides me with this answer too often, especially on things I know it’s capable of handling. Its reliability is not quite there.


👍 If you’re looking to format data in a table, Copilot in Excel can handle that with ease, and can handle some data analysis.

👎 Personally, I’m not always working from a table, so the above highlight has limited added value. It doesn’t currently work with Pivot Tables, and I can’t prompt it to “create me a formula to do this,” or “fix this formula to accomplish that,” something I do often in ChatGPT.  I find the Copilot features in Excel among the weakest, however, it should be noted that Microsoft still considers Copilot in Excel in “preview.”


👍 Copilot does a decent job at turning your documents into a simple presentation if you’re looking for something to get started. It aptly separates sections into appropriately formatted slides and cuts out fluff from bullet points. Visually, it can add stock images and backgrounds.

👎 Many of the formatting features that Microsoft claims Copilot in PowerPoint can do are still in the beta stage. I was unable to get the tool to overlay organization branding (templates, fonts, colors) into the slides it generated, without doing it manually. There is a lot of opportunity here in the future, but in my opinion, is currently a stronger presentation creation tool.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 has some worthwhile features, and this post only scratches the surface (it is also integrated into Teams and OneNote, and has its own standalone chatbot).  At $30 per user per month, there is a steep cost for these AI features, and it’s up to each organization (again, with consideration to data security practices) to determine if it’s worth it or not. At this stage, with what Copilot currently has to offer, I’m not convinced it has the ROI yet for a full-staff rollout. However, this will very likely change in the coming months as Microsoft continues to invest in the product, and our Taskforce is excited to continue to test out the new features in an effort to maximize its potential!

Author’s Note: If you’ve gotten this far, you’ve long passed the absurd title for this post. It’s so ridiculous, I love it and I can’t blame AI for coming up with it!

At Orr Group, we’re enthusiastic about the future of AI and hope to share that enthusiasm with our nonprofit partners. We are ready to assist your organization in brainstorming ways to seamlessly and safely integrate AI into your fundraising and other operational efforts. Contact us to learn more about how we can help elevate your organization to new heights.

Terry Cangelosi is a Senior Director and Head of Operations at Orr Group. Terry brings 10+ years of nonprofit operations experience to ensure the most efficient operations in Orr Group’s workflows, technology, and infrastructure. Terry is a member of Orr Group’s AI Taskforce.

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