I love TechSoup. I have been using it for over a decade to purchase software for non-profits. However, I have noticed that the hardware offered does not come with such a generous discount. In fact, some hardware I have seen on TechSoup is more expensive than retail. I feel that the little non-profits out there that do not have full time tech staff might spend more money than necessary buying hardware at TechSoup than they have to.
For instance, I got an email today saying an InFocus IN3138HDa digital projector is on offer. I checked it out at TechSoup. The administrative fee is $999. I looked it up at a popular photography store in New York and they are selling it for $899. What gives? A lot of the refurbished laptops have an admin fee the same as or more than the price of a similarly refurbished unit at retail outlets.
I hope people are shopping around and don't assume that all things offered by TechSoup are deeply discounted. I also hope that when TechSoup does offer a product it is deeply discounted relative to the market. Isn't it the mission of TechSoup to help other non-profits save their money for spending on the services they deliver?
I can't answer for TechSoup, but they are clearly trying to provide good discounted or donated products for non-profits. And as you seemed to indicate the software offerings are very popular.Software is easier to discount or donate because the cost of the physical materials is fairly low.With hardware the expense of the basic materials is much greater. True, refurbished machines could have been acquired at little or no cost, but the process of turning those machines around is where there are substantial costs. From hourly tech labor, to part replacements, cleaning, and software installation including OS in some cases can really add up.
I think in most cases TS acts as a middleman for the companies that provide the hardware. I doubt they are jacking up the prices, but I don't know how they set pricing.
The bottom line is that TS may not be in a position to shop around so they can provide the lowest prices on hardware for NPs. I assume they are working with vendors that provide good value for hardware if you consider quality, support, and price.
And NPs should certainly make that effort if cost is a factor and they don't need TS support and involvement.
We're so glad we've been able to provide your organization with the software you need at affordable costs! I'm sorry you feel that way about our hardware offerings and I'd like to offer some detail that will hopefully assuage your concerns.
Regarding the InFocus IN3138HDa digital projector in particular, this is actually available through TechSoup for less than the $899 that you've found at your local New York photography store. Each projector and replacement bulb from InFocus has a coupon code on it's page which when added at checkout, will lower the admin fee to the true cost (which includes shipping!). Certain partners of TechSoup are only able to offer their products at such discounts with policies in place and in this isolated case, we're restricted to using a coupon system such as this. Please rest assured that we're actively working on improving this system and making it more clear to organizations what final admin fees apply to products at first glance.
While we understand there are many choices available to you in the marketplace, TechSoup always strives to bring the highest quality product coupled with the most value additions available. Sometimes it can be difficult to compare our products side by side with others out there so here are some examples of how our products may differ.
The TechSoup admin fees for our hardware include shipping, robust warranties and support, full version Microsoft Office software pre-installed, a high quality standard of the refurbishing process and a 14 day no questions asked refund policy.
TechSoup fully vets each of the refurbishers we partner with to ensure they are following the highest standards and practices within the refurbishing community as well as upholding the best practices for post purchase warranty support and customer service. Our refurbishers are also stewards of the planet with best recycling and end of life asset handling practices available. We also offer a no charge take back program for any computer obtained through TechSoup.
With this said, if you do come across a hardware product that can be found cheaper elsewhere, please do let us know! We strive to ensure we're offering exclusively low pricing to nonprofit organizations and will take a look at any products that are reported to be found at a cheaper price elsewhere.
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