If you’re a Not for Profit, you are possibly eligible for discounted and donated software via Connecting Up Australia. This program has been running since 2006 in partnership with TechSoup Global, and has seen over $150 million in software donations thanks to brands such as Microsoft, Cisco & Symantec.

Each company in the program has different eligibility criteria. For example, to receive donated Microsoft products you must be a non-government, income tax exempt, nonprofit organisation and fit into one of their eligibility categories for donations. In the past I’ve has success getting substantial donations for community radio stations, as they are classed as ‘Arts & Culture’. It’s important to note that you don’t been to be a Deductible Gift Recipient to be eligible.

Update: As of September 2013, Religious organisations can now apply for Microsoft donations via ConnectingUp. This is great news, as Christian radio stations are now eligible for the full discounted price.

Each item you order will have a price tag attached to it, but these are substantially lower than retail and are indeed just ‘Administrative Fees’ to enable Connecting Up to broker these donations. A Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus license is just $32.00, while Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition is as little as $53.00. Compare this to the retail prices, and you can see how the savings really add up. With donations such as these, the real cost of an upgrade is the hardware and labour (mainly the labour, I suspect).

In the past, I’ve been able to do extensive network upgrades thanks in part to these donations. In fact, a lot of the work I did wouldn’t have been possible if I were paying the standard retail prices.

The program has also recently expanded to provide refurbished computers.

Side Note: the new General Manager of the CBAA, Jon Bisset, is a director of Connecting Up Australia.