TechSoup Canada? Never heard of it?
The truth is that until 4 years ago I had never heard of them either. But then I was asked to obtain a license for the Microsoft Office suite of products for a client. I went the usual route to the local big box electronics store and got the worst case of sticker shock I had yet experienced – $659.
Armed only with my conviction that there must be a better alternative for non-profits that doesn’t involve downloading software (and any other little surprises) from websites in Eastern Europe, I set off on a voyage of discovery.
To make a long story short – I found TechSoup Canada. Its mission is pretty simple, make software sourced from its creators available to non-profits (faith-based or otherwise) at highly discounted rates.
And that’s exactly what they do! Some examples:
Microsoft Office Suite – $41
QuickBooks Pro – $53
Adobe Photoshop – $38
These prices are for the same programs that you would pay hundreds of dollars for if you were to walk into a retail store!
They also offer services like Google for Non-Profits so you can have all the Gmail services (mail, calendar, contacts, etc.) you use as an individual available to you through a branded email account (i.e. email@example.com vs firstname.lastname@example.org). Imagine having your church directory available on your smartphone so you can return calls or recognize callers from church members.
Sound too good to be true? Well there is a catch – some of the hardware and software vendors won’t allow their products to be made available to any faith-based organization. So you do have to read the fine print to make sure that what you would like to get is actually available to you.
Also, you have to create a TechSoup Canada account and provide proof of your non-profit and/or charitable status. So it’s best to make sure that you have those pieces of documentation handy as you go through the registration process.
Is it worth doing? Absolutely! We’re all called to make as good use of the church’s funds as possible and this is the best way I know of maximizing and multiplying a church’s technology dollars at least 5 to 10 times their face value.
Please let me know in the comments below if you’ve found this post useful (or not) and if you have any follow up questions.
Facebook Page Update
Thanks to all of you who have liked the IT4Worship Facebook page. I now only need 6 more likes of the page to start receiving reader statistics.
After you have liked the page, let me know via email and I’ll send you a set of 4 landscape images that are perfect for displaying on your websites or in graphics for sermons, slides, etc. The images are royalty- and attribution-free so you can use them however you like.