How to Qualify for Microsoft Discounts as a Nonprofit

August 24, 2021
Posted in Blog, CRM, ERP
August 24, 2021 Ken Jacobsen

How to Qualify for Microsoft Discounts as a Nonprofit

There Are Five Criteria

The United States is a country that is teeming with nonprofit organizations — well over 1.5 million, according to the most recent figures available from the Urban Institute’s National Charitable Center for Statistics. And that’s just those that are fully registered with the IRS. From foundations that perform volunteer work on behalf of needy families, to religious affiliations that seek to spread the good word, nonprofits come in all shapes, sizes and causes.

While no two nonprofits are exactly the same, there’s at least one thing that a substantial portion share in common with one another: they often operate on slim margins.

Given this reality, and as a way to say thank you for their philanthropic efforts, Microsoft offers discounted pricing for many of its products and solutions to nonprofit organizations, including Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Azure and a multitude of cloud services. Accounting and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software like Business Central is a state-of-the-art system that gives organizations more control, insight and visibility into their ongoing financial operations, thereby increasing overall productivity, visibility and financial management.

If you operate, manage or work for a nonprofit organization, a cloud based accounting solution like Business Central can help you accomplish more of your visionary objectives successfully, without having to break the bank in the attempt.

However, to take advantage of the discount, you have to be eligible and agree to abide by certain standards. This article will walk you through all of the steps necessary to demonstrate that you’re a fully registered and qualified nonprofit organization.

There are five components:

  • Registration
  • Mission
  • Registration Eligibility
  • User Eligibility
  • Non-discrimination


1. Registration

While your cause may be noble and you perform all the functions of a typical nonprofit, the IRS is the ultimate decider as to whether you are one or not. Thus, you will need to provide documents that verify you are a 501(c)(3) entity. The easiest way to go about this is by obtaining your tax identification number or registered documentation from the right government entities. Certain restrictions may apply as to what software is available at a discounted price depending on who the software is available to in terms of usage. For example, public libraries may qualify as an eligible nonprofit even if they don’t have charitable status, but the software must be for public use.


2. Mission

It isn’t enough to have 501(c)(3) status; your nonprofit must also have a stated mission. In short, what is it that you are trying to promote, support or make better? Is it ending animal cruelty? Providing homes for abandoned dogs or cats? Preserving a certain culture? Improving learning outcomes for those with psychological disabilities?

These are just a few of the missions that make nonprofits eligible for discounted pricing on Microsoft software, but it’s hardly an exhaustive list. However, if you run a governmental organization, elementary school, college or trade association and have a similar mission, you still won’t be eligible. That’s because none of these organizations are considered nonprofits. However, Microsoft does have special pricing for government and education as well.

See this page for mission eligibility exceptions for nonprofits located in Germany, Australia, India and the United Kingdom.


3. Registration Eligibility

This component refers to the people who are permitted to apply for Microsoft discounted pricing on the nonprofit’s behalf. In other words, it can’t be simply anyone, such as a friend, family member, member or vendor who is loosely affiliated with the nonprofit. Only the employees of the nonprofit itself are permitted to apply. Third-parties and outside nonprofit providers are disallowed.

Furthermore, nonprofits are expressly forbidden from reselling or transferring user licences or subscriptions to other organizations. Licensing is for single-use only; each nonprofits organization must go through the registration process independently.


4. User Eligibility

As noted previously, paid employees can complete the registration, and they can also leverage the available discount. But workers don’t necessarily have to be compensated to take advantage of user licensing. Unpaid nonprofit executives, such as those who are on the boards of directors or serve as officers, can as well.

Nonprofit donors and beneficiaries, however, are not eligible for reduced pricing.


5. Non-discrimination
Microsoft takes equality and inclusion extremely seriously. If a nonprofit promotes or has a policy in place that is deemed discriminatory, punitive or unduly harsh in nature, Microsoft maintains the right to withhold discounts before or after they’ve been applied.


These guidelines are pertinent to nonprofit organizations that operate in the United States. If yours is outside of the U.S., then the rules may be different, perhaps significantly so. Please download this document for the countries where Microsoft offers discounts. You can click on the appropriate country, which will have more information on eligibility for that specific country.

You’ve done a tremendous amount of good for your nonprofit organization over the years; Microsoft’s world-class software solutions can help you do even much more. But if you’re not sure of which Microsoft software solution is right for you, The TM Group can help. From manufacturing to healthcare to retail — and yes, nonprofit organizations as well — The TM Group has helped hundreds of professionals become the best versions of themselves with tailored technology solutions that improves their efficiency and performance.

To learn about the Microsoft Dynamics family of products or to schedule a consultation that can assess your needs, please contact us today.

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