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Hoping someone on staff at Techsoup can help me understand this. But over the years I've noticed some things Techsoup offers are basically just market price. This came up most recently because of the email about the availability of Meraki devices. I got excited, followed the link only to see pricing close normal web pricing I see from my normal firewall vendors.
For comparison check Techsoup's pricing against https://www.corporatearmor.com/cisco-meraki-mx64/. MX64 w/ 1yrEnterprise licence $492 Techsoup vs $514. Etc. Same for renewal licenses: Techsoup 1y Enterprise $165 vs $172. So it's not just a matter of it being difficult to get hardware donations.
My question is does Techsoup bother offering products that are basically market price? Specifically, in the case of firewalls, it would be a worse deal for me to go through Techsoup at this pricing because good firewall vendors have knowledgeable Network Engineers that can help with configuration or picking the right product for your needs.
I find it very unhelpful to receive what amounts to just advertisement emails about products that are at market rates. There should be a significantly below market discount rate required to qualify to be carried and promoted by Techsoup. Something roughly 10% below price is barely on sale, let alone "Donated." Hardware is difficult, but for software like the Meraki license renewals, I think something like a minimum of 50% below market rate would be a good starting point to require from brands.
Beyond that what I'd love to see, instead of these market rate advertising campaigns Tech is running on behalf of a Vendor like Cisco Meraki, would be Techsoup staff actively searching for and recruiting vendors that are willing to actually donate their products to fill whatever gaps exist in Techsoup's offerings. The goal being that Techsoup would have a deeply discounted or donated offering for every core Tech need a nonprofit might have. That seems like a way we could collectively leverage and expand Techsoup's reach. If Techsoup had deeply discounted/donated products covering all the core areas, then it would the first stop nonprofits would make whenever they needed technology. If Techsoup were the first stop for all nonprofits, that kind of exposure would put a lot of pressure on other brands to also donate products when one of their competitors was already donating. Even if they only donated their entry level offering or 25 licenses etc., that would still benefit small nonprofits. Maybe it's much more difficult to get brands to donate their products through Techsoup, than I'm imagining. But from an outsider's perspective, it feels like a collective opportunity is being lost over the years and that Techoup is losing its relevance as automation is making it easier for companies to directly handle their donation programs.
Thank you for your post and for the opportunity to respond!
TechSoup strives to provide a wide range of technology to the sector at the best possible pricing. Over the years our donation programs have been able to do this very well, however things are changing with many of the companies that we work with. In some cases we are able to secure full (but always limited) donations, but more frequently these companies are offering “normal” reseller discounts - and that may be why you are seeing prices that are closer to what may be offered by others.
It is important to compare apples-to-apples. All Meraki products in our catalog include one year of technical support, and we offer discounted renewals. Below you will find a comparison of pricing offered through TechSoup compared with pricing offered through Corporate Armor.
Rest assured that TechSoup continues to be 100% focused on supporting the nonprofit sector, both in the US and globally, with the best available offers for technology. While in some cases our prices may be similar to those you find through other vendors, we remain committed to making TechSoup a valuable resource to the sector with free articles, webinars, and discounted services. Your continued support ensures that the entire breadth of TechSoup programs will benefit over a million NGOs worldwide.
Corporate Armor Price
Savings through TS
We hope that you will continue to support TechSoup and the nonprofit sector!
Yvonne Hargrove Associate Program Manager - Strategic Relationships/Partners
Hi Yvonne, I'm just getting to this now. Thanks for taking the time to reply. If anything I think this pricing comparison just confirms what I'm saying. All Meraki products include support with their subscription license and they are nonfunctional without the subscription. On most items Techsoup pricing is close to Corporate Armor's listed pricing. Corporate Armor is just one Firewall Vendor and this is their listed web pricing. You can usually get below list, especially if you have a relationship with the vendor. Additionally, different vendors will have different promotions throughout the year. All in all I would say Techsoup pricing is roughly inline with the variance in pricing that would be available by shopping around and waiting for promo offers. The point is these are not donations. Techsoup is basically just a vendor, except without the Firewall expertise that a specialized Firewall vendor like Corporate Armor has to offer.
Refurbished computers are another example, where I have always been able to find comparable or often lower prices by going to direct to MS certified refurbishers. I get that hardware is difficult because physical goods have a real cost, so digital licenses are probably where Techsoup can help nonprofits the most.
I know Techsoup has been fundraising and trying to think about how to pivot in the changing landscape. By bringing this up I'm hoping to suggest some ways that Techsoup could pivot that I would find more helpful to the nonprofit Tech ecosystem than what I'm currently seeing.
For example: Adobe Acrobat: Is very expensive for a nonprofit.
PDFs are central to business, but Adobe's new subscription pricing is barely discounted versus their normal business pricing. ($12.99/mo vs $15.99/mo.) It still wasn't great, but at least before budget strapped nonprofits could purchase their 2 allotted licenses a year and install those on computers that could be shared across staff as needed. Now to follow the EULA you need a $12.99/mo subscription for each staff member. This is out of reach of most nonprofits, many of which are struggling to even keep staff full time and offer benefits.
Where Techsoup could help: Find an alternate PDF software vendor that would actually donate or steeply discount their PDF software.
Then do this same thing for every core area of IT that nonprofits need. If you do that Techsoup becomes the hub where nonprofits know they can find a complete stack of IT software and services they need to operate. But maybe it's more difficult than I'm guessing to convince corporations to donate products. As it is now, I'm instead getting more and more services outside of Techsoup, like sourcing and arranging direct discounts with PDF vendors, system refurbishers, etc.
I have similar disappointment and thoughts about Techsoup's recent foray into Outsourced IT support. But this isn't the right thread to delve into that...
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