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Microsoft Software Donation Program – Eligibility, Allotments, and Returns

Microsoft Software Donation Program's guidelines for eligibility, requesting software, and returning donations

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TechSoup - April 13, 2015
Learn more about the Microsoft Software Donation Program's guidelines for eligibility, requesting software, and returning donations.

Organization Types Eligible for Microsoft Donations

Microsoft donations are available to nonprofits with a 501(c)(3) designation, charities, and to public libraries. Some types of nonprofits are not eligible, such as educational institutions, political organizations, healthcare networks, and nonpublic libraries.

Organizations that engage in discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training or services, promotion, termination, or retirement on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, political affiliation, union membership, or veteran status, other than as allowed by law, are not eligible to participate in this program. Organizations must be willing and able to attest that they do not discriminate on any of these grounds in order to receive donations.

Special Rules for Public Libraries

Public libraries may request Microsoft donations through this program for public access computers only. Donated software is available only for use on public access computers or computers used directly in the management of the public access computers or the library's public access program.

Participating libraries must also make their collection and basic services available to the population of their legal service area without charges to individual users (excluding incidental fees such as printing charges). If they choose to do so, libraries may impose charges on users outside the legal service area, and they may provide products and services (beyond basic services) to the public at large, with or without individual charges.

Check Your Eligibility

You can use our Eligibility Check tool to find out whether your organization might be eligible to receive donations from Microsoft.

Quantity and Frequency of Microsoft Requests

Microsoft provides nonprofits, charities, and libraries with an allotment of product donations that can be requested per two-year cycle. Your organization's first donation request after July 27, 2011, marks the beginning of its recurring two-year cycle. Within a two-year cycle, each eligible nonprofit or public library may request:

  • Products from up to 10 of the Microsoft title groups, with a 50-license maximum for desktop applications and operating systems or license-only title groups (see below for more details)
  • A maximum of five server products, regardless of title group (see below for more details)

There is no limit to the number of times an organization can make a Microsoft donation request within the two-year cycle as long as they have not used up their full allotment. After two years, a new cycle begins, and the allotment is reset.

Title Groups

A title group consists of all products that serve essentially the same purpose. For example, all Windows operating system products are in one title group.

A product's title group is listed near the top of each detailed product description page.

For more information, see the list of Microsoft title groups.

About the Maximum of 10 Title Groups

An organization can request products from a maximum of 10 title groups. For example, if an organization requests Office Professional Plus, Visio, Windows Server, and Windows Server client access licenses, it will have requested products from 4 of the 10 allotted title groups.

About the License Maximum Within a Title Group

An organization can request a maximum of 50 licenses per title group within a two-year period. This limit applies to applications that run on an individual computer (for example a desktop or laptop PC) and to client access licenses (CALs), management licenses (MLs), and other licenses that provide for connection to or management of a server application.

This maximum number of licenses applies to the combination of all products within the title group. For example, if an organization requests 10 Office Professional Plus products, 10 Office Standard products, and 10 Office for Mac products, it will have requested 30 products from the Office Suite title group and will have 20 licenses still available to request within that title group.

The 50-license allotment usually allows an organization to install a particular type of product on up to 50 computers. However, organizations that run multiple Windows operating systems on a single computer generally can install only as many instances of the product as they have licenses. For more information, see the Product Use Rights section of Licensing Details for Microsoft Donations.

Since there is an overall maximum of five server products over the two-year period, this 50-license maximum does not apply to servers.

About the Maximum Allotment of Server Products

An organization can request a maximum of five server products altogether within a two-year period. The server products can be in a single title group, or they can be in up to 5 title groups, as long as the overall maximum of 10 title groups is not exceeded in the two-year period.

For example, an organization may request any one of the following:

  • Five products in the Windows Server title group
  • One product in the Windows Server title group, two products in the Exchange Server title group, and one product in the SQL Server title group
  • Three products in the SharePoint Server title group and two products in the SQL Server title group

Some servers require MLs or CALs in order to work with their network of computers. MLs and CALs are separate items and are in title groups with a 50-license maximum.

About the Two-Year Cycle

Your organization's Microsoft two-year donation cycle begins when your organization places its first request for Microsoft product donations. If your organization requested any Microsoft donations prior to July 27, 2011, its cycle was reset, and its new cycle begins on the date of its first Microsoft donation request after July 27, 2011.

Your organization's cycle will run for two years from this initial start date. It will then be immediately reset and run for another two years, and so on. For example, if an organization's first cycle starts on October 12, 2014, its new cycle will begin at 12:00 a.m. Pacific time on October 12, 2016, at which point the organization has a new allotment.

Microsoft Donation Center

Registered organizations can check the Microsoft Donation Center page to see the dates for their two-year cycle and how much of their total allotment is still available to them (you must be logged in to see this page).


The following examples can help explain how the various allotments work together.

Organization A

Organization A has requested 20 Office Professional Plus, 10 Office Standard, and 10 Office for Mac. They also requested 20 Windows upgrade licenses.

  • They have requested from 2 of 10 title groups and can request from 8 more.
  • In the Office Suite title group, they have requested 40 licenses and can request up to 10 more.
  • In the Windows Desktop Operating Systems title group, they have requested 20 licenses and can request up to 30 more.

Organization B

Organization B has requested 1 Project Server, 29 Project Server CALs, 10 Project Professional, and 20 Project Standard.

  • They have requested from 3 of 10 title groups and can request from 7 more.
  • In the Project Server CAL title group, they have requested 29 licenses and can request up to 21 more.
  • In the Project Desktop title group, they have requested 30 products (10 Project Professional and 20 Project Standard) and can request up to 20 more.
  • They have requested one server product and can request up to four more.

Organization C

Organization C has requested 50 Office Professional Plus products, 1 Windows Server Enterprise Edition, 1 Exchange Server Standard Edition, 50 Core CAL Suites, and 15 Windows Remote Desktop Services User CALs.

  • They have requested from 5 of 10 title groups and can request from 5 more.
  • In the Office Suite and Core CAL Suite title groups, they have requested 50 licenses and cannot request any more.
  • In the Windows Remote Desktop Services CAL title group, they have requested 15 licenses and can request up to 35 more.
  • They have requested two server products and can request up to three more.

Organization D

Organization D has requested 4 Windows Server products and 50 Windows Server CALs. They also requested 1 SQL Server Standard and 25 SQL Server CALs.

  • They have requested from 4 of 10 title groups and can request from 6 more.
  • They have requested the maximum allotment of licenses from the Windows Server CAL title group.
  • In the SQL Server CAL title group, they have requested 25 CALs and can request up to 25 more.
  • They have requested the maximum server allotment (four Windows Servers and one SQL Server).

Refunds and Returns

If you want to return or exchange the Microsoft donated products you've received, you will need to return all Microsoft products in the request and place a new request for the Microsoft items you want.

Since all Microsoft products are download-only, returns will be accepted only if none of the software has been installed, and you received the donation no more than 60 days previously.

If you want to return or exchange your Microsoft software donation, please call TechSoup Client Services for review and approval at (800) 659-3579, option 2.

The donation limits on your account will normally be reset within eight business days after a return is complete.

Note that products available through the Get Genuine Windows Agreement for Small and Medium Organizations have different policies than products available through the standard Microsoft Donation Program. Read more about Get Genuine products.

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