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Cisco Worldwide Donations Program FAQs

Refunds & Returns
Additional Information and resources

For answers to general questions about the TechSoup Canada Program, including registration and placing an order, please see TechSoup Canada FAQs.


What is the Cisco Worldwide Donations Program?

The Cisco Worldwide Donations Program brings Cisco’s best-in-class networking products and technology to qualifying non-profit organizations. It is Cisco’s goal to empower communities through improved networking solutions and adoption of Internet Technology solutions. Cisco believes that technology enables non-profits to improve their productivity, while also extending their reach and service delivery.

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How can I find out if my organization is eligible?

Please see Cisco Worldwide Program Eligibility Criteria for further information.

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How many Cisco products can I order?

During one fiscal year (July 1 – June 30), an organization may request Cisco products in one order only; the combined administrative fees for all ordered items may not exceed $4,000 (USD.) For information on placing an order, please see our main Placing an Order FAQs.

The Cisco donation program is an on-line application process, and eligibility requirements sometimes change to match Cisco’s current giving guidelines. To collect the most current NGO information, interested organizations are required to complete a new application for each donation request.

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What happens after I place my order?

All Cisco orders are subject to approval and may take up to eight weeks for complete fulfilment. Occasionally, supply issues may result in longer lead times. Check the Cisco Donor Partner page for any statements about potential fulfillment delays.

Items within a request might be delivered in more than one shipment. Due to the nature of the network design, product availability, and fiscal year schedules, all product donations are subject to change or delay without notice. Cisco reserves the right to substitute functionally equivalent products for any request.

Shipping details and SMARTnet contract information provided by Cisco are available on the Order Status page.

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What sort of technical support will my organization receive?

Cisco products include five years of Cisco SMARTnet service and support. After that coverage expires, donation recipients are strongly encouraged to renew their SMARTnet service and support agreement annually (at their own expense) for as long as they own the equipment or until that equipment is declared end-of-life (EOL) and no longer supported by Cisco.

Cisco SMARTnet support is free of charge for five years and includes access to the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To take advantage of the SMARTnet benefits, you must be registered at and add the contract numbers in your Cisco account profile.  The following provides instructions for these procedures and information about maintaining the contract information and accessing SMARTnet benefits.


How do I Register and Maintain my SMARTnet contract?

Register at
Register your SMARTnet contract through your account. If you do not already have an account, follow these steps to create one.

  1. Display the registration page at You can also click the Register link at the top of any page.
  2. Enter your User ID, Contact, and Security information as required and click Submit. The email address cannot be associated with any other profile.
  3. Within 24 hours, you will receive an email from Cisco. Click the link in the email to activate your account.
  4. When your account is activated, Cisco displays a list of next steps. At this point, it is a good idea to log into your account and click Account to review and confirm your account information.

Note: If you have any problems with the registration process, review Cisco’s Registration Help FAQ.


Find Your SMARTnet Contract Number

Your SMARTnet contract is activated within five weeks after all the products in your Cisco request have been received. At that point, it will be displayed in your TechSoup Canada account information.

  1. Log in to TechSoup Canada.
  2. Click the My Account link that appears at the top of most pages.
  3. Click Request History.
  4. Find your Cisco request in the My Requests list by order number and/or the dollar amount of the request.  
  5. Click the Request ID in the Donations Request list. The SMARTnet contract number will be displayed in the information for each product. It is under the heading Cisco SMARTnet Information.

Add the Contract to Your Cisco Account Profile

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Click Account at the top right of the page.
  3. Click Profile Manager.
  4. Click the Access Restricted Content tab at the top.
  5. Under Support Access, enter your SMARTnet contract number in the Service Contract Number(s) box and click Submit. When the contract number is added to your profile, you will receive an email confirmation, usually within six hours.


Using the SMARTnet Benefits

For installation support and hardware replacement, you will need to open a case. You may open a case online or find phone contact information at the Contacts/Support Cases tab of Cisco’s Support and Downloads page.

Many of the SMARTnet benefits can be used just by logging in to the Support and Downloads page.

See the Cisco Global Technical Services Quick Start Guide for additional information on how to get support, return damaged products, download software, and access other benefits.


Updating Contract Information

The contract lists each product covered by serial number. If the list changes, for example if a damaged item was replaced with a new one, you should go to the Service Contract Center, available through your account,  to update any inaccurate details of your support contract.

What to Do When the Contract Expires

The contract information on the Donation Request History page in your TechSoup account includes the expiration date. Cisco recommends that you extend your Cisco SMARTnet coverage before this date by contacting a Cisco reseller of SMARTnet service. Use the Partner Locator to find a reseller in your area. You are strongly encouraged to renew annually for as long as your organization owns the equipment or until that equipment is declared end-of-life (EOL) and is no longer supported by Cisco. Note: All donated Cisco equipment no longer in use must be returned to Cisco via Cisco's Takeback and Recycle program. Organizations receiving product grants are not allowed to sell, exchange, or otherwise dispose of the donated property (or any portion thereof). Go to the Cisco product take-back and recycling page for instructions.

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Refunds & Returns

What should I do if I want to return my order?

Cisco donations include a five-year SMARTnet contract to help organizations install and maintain their systems. Benefits include technical support, replacement or repair of damaged products, and software updates. See  Register and Maintain Your SMARTnet Contract for detailed information about registering, maintaining, and using your contract.

If your SMARTnet contract expires, we strongly encourage you to renew your SMARTnet service and support agreement annually (at your own expense) for as long as you own the equipment or until that equipment is declared end-of-life (EOL) and no longer supported by Cisco. Learn how to register and access these benefits.

For products that arrive damaged or inoperable, use the Cisco warranty or your SMARTnet contract. 

For incorrect product shipments, within 60 days of receipt of the items, email with "CISCO RETURN REQUEST" as the subject line and include the following:

  • Your organization name
  • Your donation confirmation number
  • Your reason for returning the products
  • A list of the products you plan to return

Our Cisco Program representative will review your request and get in touch with you to make arrangements for the return.

For other product issues, Cisco generally does not accept returns. However, if you have special circumstances that you would like us to review, send us an email as described above.

Please note: To receive a refund on products requested through the Cisco Donation Program, items should be returned within 60 days of delivery is complete for all products in your request.

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Additional Information

How can I find out more about Cisco?

For further information about Cisco’s Community and Philanthropy programs, please see Cisco Public Benefit Investment.

Useful resources:

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