With the recent announcement that Microsoft have now introduced discounted products and services for charities (including non-profits and non-governmental organisations), many are left wondering if they’re eligible.
To help with this, Microsoft have outlined a series of criteria that must be met before companies have the chance to experience products such as Office 365 and Microsoft 365 at a reduced cost or, in some cases, at no cost at all.
Any organisation hoping to benefit from the offers must be a non-profit or NGO with official charitable status. In the UK this means:
- England and Wales: Registered with the UK Charity Commission and/or registered with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as tax exempt
- Scotland: Registered with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and/or registered with HM Revenue & Customs as tax exempt
- Northern Ireland: registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) and/or registered with HM Revenue & Customs as tax exempt
Public libraries might also qualify for charity pricing without charitable status, but only for on-premises software donations that is accessible to members of the public.
As well as meeting the eligibility requirements outlined above, the organisation should have a mission that benefits the local community. This could include aims such as improving education or social welfare, promoting human rights, aiding the poor and disadvantaged, preserving culture or working to improve or sustain the environment.
Some organisations and other entities that are automatically ineligible or likely to be so include:
- Governmental organisations and agencies
- Schools, colleges and universities, including non-profit schools. These could be eligible for discounts via Microsoft academic volume licensing programmes instead, however
- Healthcare organisations including hospitals, nursing homes and health research institutions. Again, these may be eligible for offers through Microsoft volume licensing programmes for health. Some exceptions that may be considered for non-profit offers include women’s health clinics, hospices and blood banks
- Sponsorship of individual events, exhibitions and performances, including fundraising events such as charity dinners
- Political organisations
- Professional, commercial and trade organisations
- Registered Refurbishers, even where they are installing donated software on refurbished machines for non-profit use. These must go through the Registered Refurbisher programme
The offers should only be used by paid employees and unpaid full-time equivalent (FTE) staff at the non-profit organisation. These people should also have significant day-to-day operational, managerial or fiduciary roles within the organisation.
Volunteers who are not FTE may be able to access volunteer offers via the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement instead.
Organisations are not allowed to share, trade, pass on or re-sell licences or subscriptions relating to non-profit discounted or donated products to any other organisations. This includes to other non-profits, even if they are partners or legally distinct sister organisations.
Microsoft says it will not support organisations through its non-profit programmes if they practice discrimination. This includes missions or policies that discriminate in areas of hiring, access to services, access to training, promotion, termination and retirement.
Religious organisations may be exempt from this requirement if they are also exempt from laws prohibiting such discrimination.
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