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Overview of the Microsoft Donation Program

Microsoft believes technology can do amazing things. That's why they partner with thousands of organizations like yours around the world to help each one achieve its mission. Whether you are a small organization serving a single community or a global nonprofit serving millions of people, Microsoft can help through software donations, training, and resources.

The Microsoft Software Donation Program for charities, nonprofits and public libraries is one of TechSoup Canada Program's most popular resources.

Eligibility and Quantity Allotments

For information about the types of organizations that are eligible for Microsoft donations through TechSoup Canada and the frequency and quantity allotments per organization, see Microsoft Donation Program - Eligibility, Allotments, and Returns.

Microsoft Donations Are Volume Licensing Products

The Microsoft products donated through TechSoup Canada are Volume Licensing products. This means that organizations and libraries must use somewhat different procedures to install and track their software than they would for software obtained through a retail channel, such as a local store. They also have access to benefits that would not be available with retail software.

The information below lists some of the features of the Volume Licensing program that organizations encounter frequently.

Volume Licensing Service Center
You use the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) — a Microsoft website — to obtain installation keys, download software, order installation discs, and access other benefits included with your Microsoft donation. The first step is to create an account on the VLSC website. This account with the VLSC is separate from your TechSoup Canada account, and TechSoup Canada Program Client Services has no access to it. Each request you place through TechSoup Canada is assigned an authorization number and a license number. TechSoup Canada forwards these to you together with the information needed to set up a VLSC account if this is your first request.

Use this handy step by step guide to download and install your Microsoft Donation Request from VLSC.  

Volume License Agreement and Product Use Rights
When you register at the VLSC, you agree to abide by the terms and conditions of your agreement. These terms and conditions establish general rules for use of the Volume Licensing software. Each application also has product use rights. These can be found at the Product Licensing Search site.

One product use right that many organizations do not know about is the right to install most desktop applications (but not operating systems) twice: first on your main workstation (your licensed device) and then on a portable device such as a laptop or PDA. The original installation and the portable device copy must be the same version in the same language, and the software on the portable device can be used only by the single primary user of the main workstation.

Software Assurance

Microsoft donations through TechSoup Canada always include Software Assurance. Software Assurance is a Microsoft program that allows recipients to receive free upgrades to new versions of their products. Software Assurance adds value to your software donation in a number of other ways. Your organization can get Microsoft e-learning courses, cold backups for disaster recovery, and multilanguage packs.

Software Assurance benefits last for two years. Near the end of the two-year Software Assurance period, you will receive an email informing you that your Software Assurance is about to expire. This does not mean that your product license will expire. You can continue to use the product, but you cannot access its Software Assurance benefits, such as free e-learning or version upgrades.

Installation Media (Software)

For most products, if you need discs or want to install software for different languages or versions, you can obtain the installation media from the VLSC. There is no charge to downloaded software installation kits, but you must convert the files (which are in ISO format) to a format that can be used for installation. You can also order products on disc for a charge of $25 per product.

For a few products, installation media is not available through the VLSC. For such products, call Microsoft Worldwide Fulfillment at (800) 248-0655 or contact them by fax at (800) 554-8281. Worldwide Fulfillment charges a $27 shipping and handling fee.

Refunds and Returns

If you want to return or exchange any of the Microsoft donated product you've received, you will need to return the entire Microsoft portion of your request and place a new request for the Microsoft items you want. 

Since all Microsoft products are downloaded-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 notify TechSoup Canada Customer Service of the impending return by calling us.

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.

Other Resources from Microsoft
A nonprofit that has additional software needs should investigate Microsoft's Charity Open License program. This program allows organizations to purchase Volume Licensing software at reduced prices.

See the Microsoft website for information on grants, free software, help and training, and stories about how organizations are addressing common challenges with Microsoft technology.

Getting Help
TechSoup Canada features detailed discussions of some Microsoft products and their licensing requirements. One example is the Guide to Windows Server Editions and Licensing, which is linked to from every Windows Server product page. The licenses available for server products through TechSoup Canada are linked in the Related Products sections of the product pages.

You can also find valuable resources to help you select and maximize your Microsoft software acquisition in articles, blogs, discussions, and webinars at TechSoup Canada, which boasts a thriving online community of technology experts ready to help you decide which products might best fit your needs.

TechSoup Canada Client Services can assist you with questions about the Microsoft donation program at — see Contact Us.

Microsoft also offers online product support.