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TechSoup – A must for non-profits

As I mentioned in my last post, the organization which I work for is a non-profit entity whose budget comes from membership fees. Like most non-profits, every dollar really has to stretch as far as it can, and it is usually hard to get an OK from management to go out and spend X thousand dollars on software licensing. I was in this situation a few years ago, right around when Windows XP SP2 came out.

I first started working for the organization in 2003, and most of the systems were running Windows 2000 Professional. By the time Windows XP SP2 was released I had started looking into performing a company wide upgrade, but I was quickly shot down due to the cost of licensing. I talked to a Microsoft partner and we went through a bunch of different licensing options from retail to Open Volume, but I just couldn’t the number low enough to get the OK.

I knew that unless I could lower the cost, the only way the systems would ever get upgraded would be through buying new systems. Even at that, it would be a fight to spend the extra cash on upgrading from Windows XP Home to Windows XP Professional.

After some searching around, I found a true gem: TechSoup. TechSoup’s purpose is to be a middleman between non-profits and software companies. They administer relations between companies and take care of a lot of the leg work; in return they are able to provide software (and hardware in some cases) to non-profit organizations at huge discounts. All they charge is an administrative fee. Windows XP Professional upgrade, for example, costs $8 a license.

So if you are a non-profit looking to cut costs while still having access to great software, make sure you go to TechSoup and see what they have. It’s not just Microsoft software there either. Other vendors include Adobe, Cisco, and Symantec.

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