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This post was updated in July 2018 to remove BetterWorld Telecom, which no longer offers products through TechSoup.
Your organization might be able to save money on its phone service by switching from a plain old telephone service (POTS) to a hosted VoIP service through one of TechSoup's partners.
Don't worry if no one at your organization is familiar with VoIP, which stands for the somewhat scary-sounding "voice over Internet protocol." VoIP is an Internet-based phone service that replaces a traditional phone service by transmitting incoming and outgoing phone calls over a high-speed Internet connection. Depending on your organization's needs and access to reliable data services, VoIP services can be more affordable than some landline services. Many VoIP plans include traditional features like three-way calling and caller ID, as well as features exclusive to these services: voicemails in your email inbox (and by phone), options to forward calls to other phone numbers (including your mobile phone), and the ability to place and receive calls anywhere over the Internet.
If your organization is a nonprofit based in California, you may be eligible for additional discounts on VoIP services through the California Teleconnect Fund.
Check out the table below to compare VoIP offers available through TechSoup and decide which might be best for your organization. To learn more about VoIP and other ways to improve your organization's communication, see TechSoup's Communications articles and how-tos.
TechSoup Admin Fee
Monthly rate per seat through TechSoup
$24.95 (standard features) or $26.95 (premium features)
$100 – $400 depending on number of extensions
Waived (normally $895)
Eligible for additional 25% savings on monthly rates with California Teleconnect Fund (CTF)?
Available to all TechSoup 501(c)(3) org types and libraries?
No; see Rules, Eligibility, and Restrictions.
Not included; Cisco phones available at 50% discount
Yes, one Polycom phone per seat included in monthly rate (organizations own at end of initial contract)
Continental U.S. and Canada outbound minutes included
Phone, email, online, training
Anonymous call rejection
Auto attendant (virtual receptionist)
Available for additional fee
Standard, Busy, Selective
Caller ID block
Caller ID, dynamic
Caller ID, set
Cell phone integration
Click to call me
Click to dial
Cloud storage space
Up to 2 GB; additional space available for additional fee
DID (direct inward dial, meaning phones can be reached by callers directly at their extension)
Directed call pickup
Similar features available for additional fees
Directory assistance (411)
Do not disturb
Emergency assistance (911)
Multiple devices on one extension
Music on hold
Never miss a call
Push to talk
Selective call acceptance
Selective call rejection
Speed dial 100
Voicemail to email
Work from anywhere
Additional features available for a fee?
The BetterWorld Telecom TechSoup rates per seat were recently reduced.
Who should I contact for more details before ordering this service?
BetterWorld Telecom is now offering a $12 admin fee rebate on the first month of service.
BetterWorld Telecom now includes a donated Polycom Soundstation conference phone for all new VoIP installations for 20+ seats.
These prices are no different than what is available to commercial companies.
Hi FaithFellowshipVirginia, my understanding is that TechBridge provides nonprofit-specific expertise and an additional discount beyond what is available elsewhere. Plus, the carrier has waived their size limitations for smaller organizations. If you were to purchase service directly, you would be required to purchase service for a minimum of 5 phone lines, but through TechSoup, there is no minimum.
For comparison's sake, I'm looking at quotes from Comcast Business Edge Voice and 8x8 of $20 and $22 per seat per month, with free or greatly reduced phones. It's not that the TS price is bad, but it's not really a great discount over what I'm seeing straight from the vendors.
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