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Your Guide to Microsoft Donations Through TechSoup

Learn how your nonprofit can maximize the benefits of Microsoft's donation program through TechSoup

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TechSoup - April 26, 2016

In this article, you'll learn Microsoft's eligibility requirements and donation limits and get tips on how to get more out of your donation. You'll also get advice on technology planning so that you can make donation requests in line with your organization's needs.

The Microsoft Software Donation Program for nonprofits and public libraries is one of TechSoup's most popular resources. Hundreds of organizations request Microsoft product donations every day, but unfortunately, many don't take full advantage of everything the Microsoft donation program has to offer. By understanding Microsoft's donation limits and anticipating your nonprofit's future technology needs, you can be sure to maximize your benefit from the program.

Is Your Organization Eligible for Microsoft Donations?

Before you request donations, you'll need to join TechSoup and add an organization.

Microsoft allows certain types of nonprofits and public libraries to request product donations. For information about which organizations are eligible, see the Microsoft eligibility requirements and restrictions (also listed on the Restrictions tab of each Microsoft product page).

If you're not sure whether your organization is eligible, you can find out by using the handy eligibility check. You can also simply add the products you want to your cart and attempt to request them. For all donation requests, TechSoup verifies that your organization type is eligible for the donation during check-out.

Take Full Advantage of Each Microsoft Request

To find out how much you can request, log into your Microsoft Donation Center and check what Microsoft software you've already received and are still eligible for in your two-year cycle.

If your organization is eligible to receive Microsoft donations, you may request software from up to 10 title groups and up to 50 user licenses per group. You can also request up to 5 server licenses in total in every two-year cycle. This two-year cycle is based on the date that you placed your first Microsoft request.

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. See the list of Microsoft title groups.

At the end of the two-year cycle, your limits reset. You cannot carry over unused titles or licenses from one cycle to the next. For more details and examples, see Microsoft Donation Program Eligibility and Allotments.

Plan Ahead to Maximize Your Donation

Much like preparing finances for your annual budget or for grant proposals, planning for technology should be at least an annual exercise. It's good to plan thoroughly by taking an inventory of your organization's current and future tech needs.

As you think ahead over the next 24 months, here are some questions to consider in your tech planning.

  • Will you be adding staff? Make sure you have enough CALs to let new staff access your Microsoft server and enough licenses for essentials like Microsoft Office.
  • Are you holding a fundraiser or event? Consider Publisher to design collateral and Project Professional to keep the planning on track.
  • Will you be buying new computers? To make sure your existing computers have the same versions of software as the new computers, consider upgrading to the latest versions of Office and Windows.

Take Advantage of Software Assurance

Do you put off requesting Microsoft software because you think it will soon become outdated? Are you waiting until you can have the very latest version? Software Assurance is a benefit offered by Microsoft that allows you to

  • Receive complimentary upgrades for two years on most Microsoft software that you receive from TechSoup (there will be a one-time shipping cost for some products if you wish to receive media)
  • Request backup CDs or replace missing discs
  • Access online product training
  • Obtain special licenses for using some products on your home computer

Most Microsoft products available through TechSoup include Software Assurance.

You can only use Software Assurance to obtain upgrades that were released within two years of the date you originally requested the software from TechSoup. You can still request free upgrades after your Software Assurance has expired, but you can only upgrade to versions that were released before the expiration. In addition, Software Assurance upgrade requests must be obtained directly from Microsoft and do not count against your TechSoup limit of 10 title groups and 50 licenses per group.

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