I know that many schools get involved in activities with charities, and school employees are often involved in charities in their private lives. Did you know that we run a scheme that allows charities to obtain Microsoft software free? (Well, almost free, as there is an administration charge from CTX who handle the order and supply the software)
The Computer Charity Trust is a charity with a mission to demonstrate how the effective use of technology can improve the efficiency of charities and not-for-profit organisations. As part of that it manages a software donations program called CTX, which enables charities, of any size, to access free licensed software (from Microsoft and a range of other partners). Because the scheme hasn't had wide coverage I think it’s worth a mention here, because it is actually very easy for a charity to get the software through the scheme. There are some limits (from memory, I think there is a maximum of 50 pieces of software of any particular type – eg 50 copies of Office, 50 Windows upgrades) but the scheme is designed to be very flexible, and especially useful for smaller charities.
There’s an easy to understand guide to getting started, and for each software supplier a specific set of eligibility criteria. The Microsoft eligibility criteria for charity donations is quite wide but it does exclude schools already included in the criteria for Academic licensing (yes, I know that private schools are often charities – that’s probably why we had to set the criteria to exclude them!).
There are quite a few case studies on the CTX website, which helps to illustrate what charities can do, and many of them are charities which work with children:
Hope & Homes for Children, in Wiltshire
Country Holidays for Inner-City Kids
Laurencetown, Lenaderg and Tullylish Community Association, in Northern Ireland
Bridge Trust Thames Valley Youth Group
St Martin’s Centre for Health and Healing, in Birmingham
Greenpath Ventures, in Essex
Go to the CTX website for charity software
This is great for charities but I can't help thinking Microsoft could be doing more for schools. We pay £14,000 a year to Microsoft for licensing which is a huge part of our budgets. I realise this is probably 'heavily reduced' compared to what a company would pay but it isn't like we are a for profit company. Surely Microsoft could do more to help schools in the current financial situation?
This is a tremendous facility. We've worked with a number of small charities where we point them at CTX for software(For example Office Professional Plus and Small Business Server)and we then supply appropriate hardware and installation services.
The result is that - for often less than the full price of the software - the organisation benefits from a service that they would probably otherwise really struggle to achieve.