Software for Non-Profits

I just heared about I am told non-profits can use this site to order MS software for “free”… although there seems to be some admin fees.  Anyone using it?  How do you like it?


Comments (13)

  1. Neil Cowburn says:

    I thought I’d give this a go (after finding they have VS .NET Enterprise Architect edition for $100!).

    There is a bit of a catch to TechSoup, it seems. The non-profit organization must be a registered company in the US. When signing up, it asks for the Employer Identification Number (EIN). They use the EIN and organization name to identify the organization as a valid 501(c)(3) nonprofit. So for non-profit community projects like we’re stuffed unless we register as a company.

  2. moo says:

    And as usual there is an ignorance of on US countries. Blasfmey! If you go past the US you will fall of the end of the earth or be eaten by sea serpants!.

    Since when does $100 = free?

  3. Eric Willeke says:

    I looked into this a while back for our company ( It seems that is itself a non-profit that is set up to serve as a sort of clearinghouse sitting between a non-profit and several large companies that will offer their software for free.

    The requirements exist, and are pretty strict regarding the status of the organisation that’s getting the software.

    1) Must be a 501(c)(3). This isn’t that hard as long as you have a written mission and aren’t out to make money. There’s reporting and structure overhead, but it’s not that bad, and most "useful" organisations should be able to find a lawyer willing to do the pro bono work to set it up.

    2) Must not have a religious designation. Don’t know their reasons, but it’s a pretty straight-forward rule. Secular offshoots of religious organisations are allowed, but they lay out the rules carefully.

    Beyond this, they just charge a small "administration" fee, which I believe covers their servers and hosting along with distrubution fees. They’re not making a profit off this.

    Also of note is that’s it’s not just Microsoft, it’s a variety of organisations, such as being able to get DreamweaverMX for 30 bucks or so.

    The fact that requires a group to be a registered non-profit is there to save them a great deal of money. They can assume that the government’s followed due process in ensuring that the organisation is a valid target for the free licenses, which is likely a requirement from most of the companies providing software.

  4. Eric Willeke says:

    ‘And as usual there is an ignorance of on US countries"

    I suspect this guidelines is from two points:

    1) See my note about due process above.

    2) The company providing the free software will usually not be able to claim a US tax deduction if the recipiant is not a US organization.

  5. In the non-profit world, there are a lot of small community groups that are not 501(c)(3). Often grants have a stipulation that an organization has to be 501 for a full 3 years.

    In this case a small group is sponsored by an established non-profit with an EIN and 501(c)(3) certification. For instance, a community garden club might be sponsored by a local non-profit improvement association. In this case the improvement association becomes an "agent" for the garden club. That way a little group doesn’t have to go through all the paperwork of becoming fully certified.

    If you need free software from techsoup or grant money in general, I would suggest hooking up with a non-profit in your area willing to act as your agent. Try user groups in your area, or be creative… food banks or churches…

  6. Jorriss.Net says:

    Brad Abrams of Microsoft writes of a web site ( where non-profit orgs can order…