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How can you get the most Microsoft donation bang-for-your-buck through TechSoup?

How can you get the most Microsoft donation bang-for-your-buck through TechSoup?

  • Hi Folks,

    TechSoup has a new article coming out this week about how to navigate your way through TechSoup's Microsoft Donation Program. The article explains how to determine eligibility, what the limits and restrictions are for requesting donated products, and benefits like Software Assurance in more detail.

    I'll post the link here once the article is live.

    In the meantime, have you gotten donated Microsoft products through TechSoup before? If so, how was your experience? Have you used the benefits of Software Assurance to upgrade to a newer version of software or to participate in an e-learning course? Tell us what works and what hasn't so we can pass the feedback along.



    Becky Wiegand is the Webinar Program Manager at
    @bajeckabean on Twitter

  • I did get a Microsoft product. Prompt delivery. Then MS required me to get a hotmail account for some reason, but I did not get it soon enough, so some certificate they were sending never reached me. Later they sent petulant email to my unused hotmail account saying that they were exercising their prerogative to send email, and if I did not like it I could either be bothered to delete it or I should close my account. I still have the account, unused, but they stopped sending emails. I also got IE 8, but not through techsoup; it requires you to have IE Messenger, but at least MS has not yet sent me any petulant IMs.

  • Hi Jesse,


    Was the hotmail account setup part of the E-Open set up process?  I've seen the requirement to have an email address and if you didn't have an address you could get a free hotmail address to use.  You also have to have a windows live ID to get to E-Open.


    This is a requirement on any of the open licensed products not just the donated product.



  • Hello Jesse, for me to get to eOpen, I use my work email address to log in.  I didn't have to create a hotmail account for this.  I've never once gotten an unsolicited email from Microsoft. 

    Gary Network/Systems Admin Berlin, NH
    Host Non-profit Tech Careers, Security Forums
    Co-Host Networks, Hardware, & Telecommunications Forum

  • I guess it was the "Windows Live ID" that I did not have; somehow the only way to do it was to get a hotmail account. Except for that account, I have no idea what WLID and E-Open are. Anyhow it has been more than 3 years; I don't remember all the details.

    And YES, they did send me unsolicited email. MS has so much natural charm.

    So what is an "open licensed" product?

    What are the alternative to "open licensed"?

    What are the difference between "open licensed" and the alternatives?

  • I'm sorry I did not save that arrogant email from a couple of years ago. But, MS sent me another email on April 22 that I had not yet seen:

    Dear Windows Live User,

    We are contacting you regarding your communication preference settings for Windows Live and MSN.

    Currently, your settings do not allow Microsoft to send you promotional information or survey invitations about Windows Live and MSN. We would like to communicate important product updates to you, so if you would like to change your settings, please visit your account profile here to change your preferences.

    The Windows Live Team

    Since I do not use Windows Live or MSN, should I care?

  • An open license is the type of product license from Microsoft where you get a single "license key" to use on installing the software on as many computers as you purchased licenses for.

    You can purchase a "full retail" license of Microsoft Office Pro for your favorite retailer (best buy, staples, etc) and you get a version of office that is expecting a single use license key to license that software on one PC.  As you replace that PC you can move the license to another PC but if you have 20 PC's you will have 20 license keys to keep track of.  You will also be paying full retail for the product Office is about $500.00 as I recall.

    You can purchase an "OEM" copy of Microsoft Office Pro when you buy your new PC from a PC builder vendor.  This version of office is expecting a single use license key to license the software on the one PC.  As you replace that PC you will have to buy a new copy of the software as the OEM version is locked to the processor box that was purchased with the OEM type license.  You will be paying some where between $100 - $200 for the license.

    When you have multiple PCs to put Microsoft Office on, you can get into the Volume LIcense program from Microsoft,  These can be Commercial licenses, Open Charity purchased licenses, or Open Charity donated licenses as available through the donation program at Tech Soup.  There are multiple tiers on the program and the higher the tier the more licenses you need to buy but the lower the price of each license.  The open license software version is expecting the Volume License Key.  This key can be used multiple times on different PCs (up to the licensed number of PCs) you can move the license to a new PC as you replace older PCs.  If you buy 50 licenses you only have one number to track for those 50 licenses so it makes the management of the licenses easier.  The minimum number of licenses you need to purchase is 5.  The license fee varies depending on the quantity and the program from close to the full retail price for commercial, to about $60.00 for the open charity license that 501(c)3 qualify for even if they don't qualify for the donations available on TS, to the donated product here available for the handling and administration fees of $20.00

    Of course there is always Open Office the truly free alternative to office that you have no licenses to track and no fees to purchase the software.

    Hope this helps clarify the programs





  • Jesse
    Since I do not use Windows Live or MSN, should I care?


    I'm only concerned when I have to access the e-open site to get licenses.  When I have had to access the information a couple of years later on e-open I had to set everything up again including the live id and the e-open information,  Fortunately you can enter the old order number and license info and the site will give you the keys for software that is even 4 or 5 years old.  So I don't care about Windows LIve or MSN until I order Microsoft licenses next time.



  • Wow, Dave! This is a great summary of the differences between different types of licenses for Microsoft products. Thanks for the snappy synopsis. :)

    Becky Wiegand is the Webinar Program Manager at
    @bajeckabean on Twitter

  • Hello,

    My library has purchased fifty donated MSOffice2013 licenses, but I need a lot more- nearly 400 in total. I realize I am limited to the number I can get at once, but what exactly are those limits? Fifty at a time- or fifty per fiscal year?  Additionally, I would like to have all my licenses use the same setup key, as I use drive images extensively and having multiple MSOffice keys would be a nightmare.

    And while I'm on the subject, is there someone at Microsoft who keeps track of these license activations? I want to stay within my alloted number of licensed installations, in fact I insist on it, but I can't find a way to keep track of it other than my own recordkeeping.

    Thanks, Joe

  • it's 50 licenses for every  2 years.  you will have to contact reseller and provide auth number for open charity pricing.  another option is to look at office 365 charity which are free.

    To qualify as an eligible nonprofit organization:

    • An organization must be a nonprofit or non-governmental organization with recognized charitable status in their respective country (equivalent to 501(c)(3) status under the United States Internal Revenue Code).
    • Public libraries may qualify as an eligible nonprofit organization without charitable status only for on-premises software donations and only where such software is made accessible to the general public. Please visit the Microsoft Volume Licensing website for more information about licensing programs for public library operations.

    you will have to keep track of your own licenses.  you can use the same key as long as you are with in your license count.

  • You manage all your Microsoft licenses through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center ( You can download your software and obtain your license keys from there. You can use the same key (MAK or KMS) for all licenses of the same product, regardless of when you purchased the licenses.

    As another respondent noted, you can purchase licenses above the Techsoup limit from the Microsoft Volume Licensing for nonprofits program (