Free Software for Non-profits from TechSoup

Many of my posts talk about how non-profits can use technology to improve operations and better communicate with stakeholders.

However, a big questions non-profits have is: How do I get this technology?

My best answer is TechSoup. TechSoup Global, headquartered in San Francisco, provides a platform for non-profit organizations around the world to gain access to the software and hardware they need. TechSoup has served “more than 83,000 organizations and distributed over 4 million products as of June 2008”

At SAP, we partner with TechSoup to distribute our solutions such as Crystal Reports and Xcelsius to over 900 non-profit organizations in the US, Canada, Germany and Brazil. In 2010 we will be adding another 15 countries to that list.

In addition to SAP software, TechSoup provides access to solutions from Microsoft, Symantec, Cisco, Adobe and many other donors. These offerings are available in 32 countries with more being added all the time.

To get access to the software, non-profits sign up for a TechSoup account in their country. This involves providing proof of non-profit status (i.e. 501c3 status in the US or CRA certification in Canada). Then you can choose from the donor list and download software. The software itself is free but TechSoup charges a modest administration fee to pay for running the platform. Note that the exact mix of software available varies from country to country. Also, each donor will have their own criteria for donations. For example, we do not grant software to political or religious organizations.

In addition to the technology distribution platform, TechSoup offers help and info such as “instructional articles and worksheets for nonprofit staff members who utilize information technologies, as well as technology planning information for executives and other decision makers”. Also part of the TechSoup family is the amazing NetSquared program designed to help non-profits take advantage of Web 2.0 and social web technologies.

TechSoup is an invaluable resource for any non-profit organization looking to add to their technology portfolio. If you are in this sector, signing up with TechSoup for your technology needs is an absolute must. I’m very proud to be partnering with TechSoup to build capacity in the non-profit sector and help organizations better deliver on their mission.

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