In case you haven’t heard, 501(c)(3) private foundations are now eligible to receive Microsoft donations through the Microsoft Software Donation Program.  Microsoft has made several exciting updates to its software donation program to make it more convenient for all nonprofits to request software donations. 

To learn more about the Microsoft Software Donation Program, visit our Overview of the Microsoft Software Donation Program. You can also review Microsoft’s detailed eligibility guidelines here. Together with Microsoft, we’re excited to help foundations understand the donation program and how it can benefit your organization and the communities you serve.

In addition to the Microsoft’s program there are many other donation programs on TechSoup that are open to private foundations. Use the TechSoup Check Eligibility Quiz to find out which of our many product donation programs your foundation is eligible for.

How to Register Your Foundation

As with all organizations registering at TechSoup, you must register first as an individual and then register your organization. For a thorough overview of this process, visit our How to Use TechSoup page or watch our Getting Started with TechSoup video tutorials.

As part of the organization registration process, you will be asked to choose an Organization Type and Sub-Type. For Organization Type, private foundations should select "Other Purposes and Activities" from the drop-down menu. Then chose one of the three available subtypes: Private Grantmaking Foundation, Private Independent Foundation, and Private Operating Foundation. To understand which of the three private foundation subtypes you should select, below are definitions of each.

Private Grantmaking Foundation

Examples of private grantmaking foundations would be the Alcoa Foundation, the BP Foundation, the Walmart Foundation, and the Boeing Company Charitable Trust.

Private grantmaking foundations are usually, but not always, funded from principally one source, such as a for-profit business. Any grantmaking private foundation that does not fall under private independent foundation (explained below) should be classified as a private grantmaking foundation.

Private Independent Foundation

Private independent foundations are often family foundations, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Li Ka Shing Foundation.

A private independent foundation is a private foundation where most or all of its funding comes principally from one source, such as one individual or family, and often in the form of an endowment.

Private Operating Foundation

Most often, private operating foundations are organizations which operate museums and theater/arts centers, although any other charitable activity conducted directly by the foundation can qualify.

Some of the more well-known private operating foundations are the J. Paul Getty Trust, which operates the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California and the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia.

Public Grantmaking Foundations

Public grantmaking foundations (community foundations like the Silicon Valley Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation, and the New York Trust) should not be classified as private grantmaking foundations, because these are considered public charities. These organizations rely on the public or multiple sources of funding. If you are a public foundation, the correct subtype is most likely "Gifts, Grants, or Loans to Other Organizations" or "Fundraising."

Qualify Your Organization

After you've registered your foundation, you'll need to submit a completed Qualification Checklist (PDF 51 KB) and other documents to verify tax exempt status and other information. Qualification generally takes one to two weeks after document submission. You can check your organization's qualification status through your member profile.

Once you're qualified, you can start to request the donated software, hardware, and services that your organization is eligible to receive!